Archive for February, 2009

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Half way through, realising I miss birdsong and church bells the most.

February 26, 2009

Things I realised yesterday:

I haven’t ordered a coffee in English for nine months…

I really, really, really, really really  miss these sounds…

 

It’s subtle, but towards the end of the video you can make out the heady drone of an airplane. That, the wood pigeon and the quality of light really remind me of  home.

Homesickness is a big part of living abroad or me – it catches me, lying on my sunlit sofa – staring out at the giant advertisements written all in Kanji and then again, under gloomy and oppressive skies ordering a coffee in a language I barely understand and for the hundredth time.

Not that I would have it any other way – The Delai Lama suggested that one should Judge success by what you gave up in order to get it…And he is onto something there. Losing yourself in the service of others, not getting what you want – giving things up, they all enrich you terribly. I suppose it’s quite timely then that yesterday was the first day of Lent. Despite all this philosophising, that video still made me cry.

 

Are you giving anything up?

p.s. a present:

Via this blog

Rumour is … she wrote this song whilst drinking wine with her band in a garden in Oxford…can you blame her?

Magical things happen in this city

Can’t even explain it. Just go visit sometime if you can. You can stay with my Mum and Dad?

Love Mizichan oxoxoxoxoxo

spaceball

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Don’t eat that yellow snow.

February 23, 2009

Well.

I didn’t die.

In fact. Despite my kicking and screaming internal protestations and predictions of death…It was sort of fun.

I’m a dick. I hate change or doing things where I’m not 100% in control of myself. Actually – scratch that… I just hate doing stuffs in general.  Then,  when I’m scared or threatened or even just a little nervous these silent worries  manifest themselves as stubborn and childish aggression with a delicious side helping of vitriolic nihilism.

On the way there, sat on the bus listening to RATM I was quite sure I hated Skiing; hated snow; hated getting up early and hated Japan, the Universe and everything. 

Of course – by the end of the day I was addicted – it was an awesome feeling – There was no ‘whooshing’ down the slopes per se,  but I was gaining some speed and able to manoeuvre myself around obstacles of significance.

Awesome things I managed to do included:

  1. Skiing into a haystack. On the TOP of the mountain. Nic was not impressed. See the judgement:

2.Ski into a really cute snowboarder and what I thought was a snow bank but was actually a jump and get totally entangled with him. Seeing as this might be as close as I get to a Japanese dude ever I was kind of happy. And turned on.

3. Lose my skiis. Twice.

Going Skiing was kind of a big deal for me. My teenage years weren’t really that long ago and the childish worries that coloured those years still sit heavily with me sometimes, even though I know they’re ridiculous. Anway, I went to this small, moderately posh private school where everyone could Ski and I couldn’t. At least, that’s what it felt like. And it was another, particularly symbolic thing on the long list I used to have, of everything that was wrong with me. Which included having fat ears and being poor. Lunacy, but hey when your 14 those are the things that matter, right?

 Sat on top of the mountain (I should say spreadeagled on top of the mountain with snow soaking into my butt, but that’s not as poetic eh?) I wobbled along a knife edge. I muttered to myself that I couldn’t do this. Really effing couldn’t do this. An old part of me was shitting myself and felt rather nauseous.

After a while – once everyone had skiid off, I sat on my tod with snow in my face, surveying the scene below. I had to admit that wow. I’m in Japan, living in a foreign country, I’m pretty awesome and I’ve done a lot more challenging things than allowing gravity to get me from point A on a mountain to point B on said Mountain. The worst that would happen is I break myself and fail. Then pick myself up and do it again.

So I did just that. I failed.  I ate snow. I spilled. I screamed. I moaned. I rolled on my back like a pregnant turtle. Then I got over it and fell over some more. Then did it again. Then…it started to get a teeeny bit fun. And then very fun. And then addictively awesome.  And then I fell over some more.

It helped when I finally figured out how to stand up. lols.

My co-workers are adorable.

So, here’s to falling over. Failing. and doing it over again.

Love, Mizichan xoxoxoxoxo

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Lesson I learned today…

February 22, 2009

Willpower is not who you are on a daily basis.

It’s who you are at 10:56 pm, faced with a smiling bartender and a double Gin and Tonic.

Fear is knowing there’s a 90% chance tomorrow’s ski boots won’t fit your huge calves and the steady knowledge you will have to get naked and do Onsen with your work colleagues tomorrow afternoon.

fuck.

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New Dance Craze…Sweeping the Nation

February 20, 2009

Life goes more smoothly for me, if I spend a small proportion of my time engaged in some sort of physical activity.

I am extraordinarily reluctant to call this ‘working out’ – or *shudder* exercise. Those words just aren’t in my self referential vocabulary my love.

So, recently I have been dancing – yes. I know. It’s a ridiculous image – a chubby gaijin dancing round her apartment the size of a Kabocha squash. And I’m sure it’s been giving my over-the-road neighbours a treat and really pissing off the guy below me. Nevertheless, around 11 pm you can find me dancing around my apartment.

Sometimes I do dull dull deadly dull aerobics. (That took a lot for me to admit) I’ve tried belly dancing (pulled a calf muscle!!), salsa, ballet and even raving around to drum and bass. But sometimes…even raving is a little to uniform for my admittedly eclectic tastes. And recently I’ve been pioneering my own dance/exercise REVOLUTION.It goes something like this.

Put on Balkan Punk.

Close eyes (and curtains…)

rock.out

It’s so much fun:

You start to feel all… sort of… knee bendy – ginger wine drunk and happy :)

I love this one… I have no idea why they seem to shout “Okinawa!” during the bridge.

And of course – for a “cool down”. Gogol Bordello.

Same song…but…LIVE at Glasto.

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Oysters, Zonked and Bush

February 18, 2009

Check it out:

I got bored last week and embroidered tiny trees on all my underwear. It’s good practice. I bought an embroidery ring a few weeks ago and I want to get really, really good. It might take a while.

Please feel free to make jokes about Bush.

Last weeks trip to the hospital seems like a very distant dream now. A whole day off – if I hadn’t been so effing sick I would have really enjoyed it. It’s no secret I’m struggling with work at the moment. During classes I’m finding it easier to bring energy and commitment to my teaching. Its really just the few minutes before hand that are a problem.

I’d rather be sewing…

But right now. I am here and there is no point being anywhere else :)

The Oyster festival was last weekend – It was awesome. Beer plus Oysters make Mizi drunk but their supposed aphrodisiac effects were not felt. Not one jot.

 Japan has not been kind to this single girl. I’ve had about as much action as a small shrivelled Granny from Warrington, who fantasises wildly about her GI war time boyfriend while feeding her cats. That’s the persona I have come to inhabit. It’s a terribly positive thing. Being without men (boys) has been eye opening. I had no idea how to change a light bulb or a vacuum cleaner bag. That’s really quite pathetic, and pretty symbolic.

Anyway. Granny from Warrington. That’s now me – so fresh Miajima Oysters don’t even have an effect on me and my withered loins.

OK. TMI. But you get the point.

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Hospital

February 14, 2009

Yesterday I took a day off work, which is pretty unheard of when working for my company. I have seen, for example, my Japanese colleagues curled up on the staff room floor with stomach cramps in between their classes. Personally, I have always felt it pretty irresponsible to show up places when you’re sick. Here it’s irresponsible to become sick I suppose. Both have a valid logic – but our polar experience of conditioning makes an interesting contrast.

Sick Days?

Ultimately though, I don’t want your effing virus. Especially if it’s stomach flu. SO small sick children, stay home – drink fluids. Nuff said.

I digress, I took the day off sick. I felt like crap. Real crap. Eventually I ended up being taken to hospital by my manager (again) and going on a drip (again) for a couple of hours. I fell asleep whilst the drip was in and felt about a billion times better afterwards. I guess I was majorly dehydrated. The Doctor tried to give me antibiotics after explaining to me that it was a virus…

Hopefully something got lost in translation, because last time I checked – viruses weren’t affected by antibiotics mate. I refused them because I have a problem with antibiotics anyway – I try to not take them at home because they are amazing and when I used to suffer from chronic tonsillitis their effect was miraculous. I felt better in a matter of hours and in no way do I want to diminish their effect by becoming resistant. In Japan, the dosage and course length are considerably smaller than those I was prescribed at home. I was being prescribed antibiotics for my skin last year and they were for two days. I really regret taking them now and hope I haven’t compromised their ability to work on me when i return to the dosage I’m used to.

 It was eerie – lying in a darkened room watching the drip bag above me catch the hallway lights. The hospital was technically closed because the 11th of February was a National Holiday. I have no idea why they admitted me to the ward, God Bless the Japanese sense of duty of foreigners because i was dying beforehand.

Snot Bag Children

In fact I get pretty enraged when Kids turn up for their English lessons looking like death, sneezing, dripping snot everywhere and coughing all over me. Enraged at the parents that is – but to be honest being a parent is so knackering that if I had the chance I would probably palm my kids off at any available opportunity.

Attempted Womb-Re entry

Kids do this really weird thing when they’re sick – bless them, they have no clue what they want. They throw down everything that’s given to them – cling to their Mothers whilst hitting them – basically they express fully how every human feels inside when they’re confused and sick – but children are wonderful because they express every shade of their emotions. And this feeling – sick, confused and pissed off prompts the bizarre movement which can only be described as attempted womb re-entry. They push, push push at their Mother, climbing, wriggling and pressing their hot little heads into their Mum’s belly.

And I’m all – Dude. I so know how you feel right now. Let’s Nap.

(And don’t tell anyone this…but sometimes we do just that)

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sickety sick sick sick

February 11, 2009

If this was a movie. This would be the montage part.

Mogwai would build slowly in the background and a slow motion me – bored off my face walking through Hiroshima would blend neatly into the peace park at Sunset. Mizi in a cafe drinking coffee staring wistfully at buns. Mizi walking through swirling leaves with collar upturned. Snow – melting onto crocuses.

Except they probably don’t have crocuses here.

Sick and Bored

Yes. I’m a little sick and a little bored. Who isn’t? Its February after all. That sort of what February is for – taking stock; lusting after spring and staring, full of whist, at various things.

Wishing your time away is a pointless, self defeating and miserey making hobby. One that walks hand in hand with home sickness and wanderlust. There is no problem – it’s just a bit boring at the minute. I’m battening down the hatches financially speaking and trying to save as much as possible so I’m not travelling that much. Perhaps it’s just that.

To be honest – the main problem is the same as always. I am a lazy , work shy fecker who hates having to do what someone else pays her to do. My sense of entitlement and ego is immense and I just plain can’t stand having to eek out my days in a job that is frustratingly repetitive, banal and unchallenging. I should be happy – I’m not stuck in an office, I have a lot of freedom, I can sing and make props, illustrate my journal or write. But recently, my sense of discomfort is growing, especially as my ideas about my future become more real and more exciting. In short, my life has changed a lot and I’m asking myself why the hell should I be content with anything less than what my dreams are?

This translates to some really big goals being made, and these goals contrast greatly with being an Ekaiwa teacher. And it’s frustrating at times, to the extent where my mind is on my future instead of where it should be – in the present.

However, I have made the decision to stay with the company for another six months.

Ten More Months

During the remaining ten months I’m going to devote myself to saving money and building a solid base for all my plans and goals. I am not going to spend it looking forward, I’m a big believer in the power of living consciously. And living with one eye on the future is not a good way to foster positive things in life. Nevertheless – plans will be made and actioned. No doubts about that.

I don’t think I can ever go back to the indecisive, lost and heartbroken person I lived as before I came to Japan. It’s difficult to explain – it’s not that I’ve changed per se, but in many respects that phase of being is over. Perhaps it was something to do with the last few years of being a teenager, perhaps it was just that feeling of being twenty two and realising for the first time you have no idea what you want to do. That feeling doesn’t go away I don’t think. You just come to accept it.

People ask me if I worry about it – moving back to England and having a shit time and in all honesty I do a little, it would be naive not to. However, at the same time I don’t. Where I am and what I’m doing are all as they should be, they could be no other way at any given moment. Now, I’ve come to think that there is no such thing as back sliding – only reminders of where you came from. Gentle touches to remind you that you have a long way to go. So if I move home and it’s overwhelming? So be it. It was meant to be that way and ultimately I can only learn more.

I’m explaining this poorly and surely I should take some of my own advice and stop being such a moody mare and knuckle down to work. But hey – if that’s not working then it shouldn’t be working. I will get there eventually and right now my mind, my body and everything is exactly as it should be.

Sick or no sick.

In other News, I decided to post a picture of a bag I made. Do you like?