Happy New Year everyone! I know it is a tad late but I had a crazy New Year’s (half good, half not so good) that let’s just say got me to reevaluate some things. But I’m good now and it is time for the obligatory New Year’s Resolution/goals post!
Here is a list of goals/trips I have planned for 2015! (in order of when they happen? When I remember them? I don’t know xD) It will be the year where my new wallet will not be too happy with me but that’s okay because experiences over possessions is what I spend my money on (thanks, Danny!).
1. Get my apartment situated. I have it all drawn out and everything. I just need to go to the places (with the help of my teachers), buy my things, put them where they need to go, and put the things on the things. Once it is all clean and organized and worthy of guests, I will invite people over for movie nights and food and stuff. I have been putting off turning my apartment into a home due to work and weather and stuff, but I am determined to make it happen this year!
2. Go to Osaka and to Universal Studios. The Universal Studios part wasn’t a part of the original plan. One of my friends is coming to Japan from Korea to celebrate the Lunar New Year in February and we were just going to hang out and do touristy stuff. But then…this…
It is going to be up at the time I am going to be in Osaka so how could I not go?! Even if I have to go by myself, I will! I can’t pass up this opportunity because I will not find myself in Osaka until probably July when the boyfriend comes to visit and that is too late. But along with Osaka…
3. Visit Kyoto to see my host parents again. During the time I am out and about with my friend in Osaka, there will be a couple days of Kyoto they are planning. One of them will be my Universal Studios day but the other will be seeing my host parents again. Even though I did not grow particularly close to them (well, in comparison to some of my other friends who did), they were still a part of my life and I want to see them again while I am here. We have been keeping in touch (more or less) so hopefully they will be around when I swing by. If not in February, then definitely in July when the boyfriend comes to visit.
4. Start a monthly newsletter sort of thing at my schools. One of my teachers gave me the idea to write a newsletter that introduces myself to the teachers and maybe to the students I don’t get to see. Not only will it give me something to do during my downtime, but it will allow me to have a conversation starter with some of the teachers that I would love to talk to. I am very shy when it comes to initiating conversation with someone I don’t know (especially in a language I have not grasped yet) and I often find myself without any point of interest to talk about. Haha I know, it’s ironic because I am a Communication Studies major, yet talking to some people is difficult for me. But it just goes to show that there is a difference between theory and practice, and this newsletter will be my practice. I am calling it “Hyouka” after the anime Ozy and I were watching at the time.
5. Join school clubs at the beginning of the school year. I did not do this when I first came here because of that shy thing and also I felt awkward just coming in the middle of the year to join a club (Japanese school years start in April and I started teaching in September). I figure the new year is a great opportunity to start up in the clubs, get to know the new members, and establish a routine. Not only the clubs, but I have other stuff planned for the new year in terms of teaching.
6. Take the boyfriend around Japan. Assuming all goes well and money and time provided, he wants to come visit me in July and then I will take him around to some of the historical/beautiful places. That means hitting up Kyoto again, Osaka, but also Tokyo and the area where I live. It all depends on how long he will be here and what he wants to see (and how much he is willing to spend). Assuming no one else comes to visit me between now and July, he will be the first person from home to come see me in Japan. I am excited to show him all the little things that have become mundane to me and witness his excitement over them.
7. Pass the N4 in July. I am pretty confident in my ability to pass the N5 so I will skip that and go straight into N4. My overall goal for my time here is to master at least N2 (good enough Japanese for me). It will take some time and dedication but I do not want to waste the time here not learning the language. What’s the point in living in another country if you can’t at least pick up the language? I just need to get some books and maybe a tutor…
8. Go to Australia. This is probably the one trip I am looking forward to the most. I haven’t ventured in that area before and it is much easier to get there from Japan than it is from the states, so why not? But the biggest reason is to visit Ozy. He has grown to be very important to me and seeing as how I am in a better position to visit him rather than him visiting me, going to Australia is in the works. Just have to save up the funds for it and request the time off for it. Although he isn’t making it too enticing to go, considering everything is huge and will kill you if you anger it and he reminds me of that sometimes. I do not need to know or see the size of the spiders that are living in your backyard, thank you very much. They are NOT cute! >.<
9. Go back home for the holidays. Don’t get me wrong: the holiday season in Japan was fantastic and more than I expected. I went to Nagano, spent some time with a very good friend, met some new friends, and overall avoided the city that would have been filled with happy kissy couples that would have depressed me. I played in snow, saw snow monkeys chilling (well, not chilling. Warming? That doesn’t sound that relaxing) in a hot spring, and went to some hot springs myself. Christmas day was wonderful because it actually snowed so I had my first white Christmas. The day was great too with sake tasting and a gigantic and delicious Christmas lunch. But nothing could beat Christmas evening when my good friend and I went to an outdoor hot spring and watched the sun set behind the snow covered mountains. We then saw actual stars in the night sky and towards the end of our time, it started to snow. Snow surrounding the hot spring and snow falling from the night sky; it made for an unforgettable experience (not to mention drinking more sake with new friends).
But seeing so many friends go home for the holidays, having their family come here, and hearing about what mine were doing back home, I did miss them. My mother sent me a care package that was waiting for me when I got home from Nagano and when I found the Christmas present she put in there for me, I cried. It was hard to be away from home for many reasons, so this year I plan to go back. That does mean waiting an entire year and living somewhat minimally so I could save up for it but it will fly by before I know it. Five months already flew by since I arrived here so what’s 12 months but a blink of an eye.
10. Finish the Sex Communication textbook. This is more of a year long goal (depending on how productive/lazy I am feeling) but this will be a major accomplishment if I can pull it off before my inevitable return to the states. And writing other things too…
New Year’s Resolutions?
The thing about resolutions is that I end up breaking them by day two and I feel bad about it. Instead, I will think of it as habits I need to get into or routines I should establish but it wouldn’t be a huge loss or blow if I don’t. Some of those habits include:
- Study more Japanese! This has been neglected for a while and I have hit my limit of what I remember from school and my listening ability so now it is time to take it a step further and pick up new words, new kanji, and new grammar. I want to be able to hold a conversation with someone without resorting to Tarzan Japanese.
- Cook more. I made it a goal for myself to attempt to cook something new every week. Seeing as how I did not cook that often when I was at home, starting from the bottom is simple. Almost anything I cook is new!
- Save money. I do this already with the trips I have planned (hence the year of burning a hole in my wallet), but I want to save more money for the sake of saving money. With the yen being so weak right now, my hopes is that by the time I have a nice chunk of change worthy enough to be sent back home, it will improve. I am doing the 52 week challenge where I stash away a few bucks a week and at the end, I should end up with about $1400. My plan is to use that money for more traveling and experiences.
- Read all of the Harry Potter books. Okay, this actually sounds like a resolution… but I have a whole year and I don’t have to do it every day so ha! I stopped at the fourth one and just didn’t pick it back up. I figure I could start reading them again, ya know, during my breaks between TV, YouTube, anime, and work.
What do you have planned for 2015? Doing anything crazy? I want to know! 😀