Monday, September 23, 2013

An Important Variable

          Remember two months ago when I talked about being excited about being new? "I'm absolutely stoked about... being new... I may not be the most social person in the world, but I embrace adventure, invitations, and challenges. These things are HANDED to you when you're new..." What I said then still holds true. I've been living in Japan for two weeks now, and adventure, invitations, and challenges is a good summary of my experiences so far... Except,
          Now I realize I missed something big in my initial calculations. I forgot about the eventual necessity of sharing your history to new friends. In fairness, giving your story to people for the first time is an adventure, an invitation, and a challenge, but it’s unique in the sense that you must travel backwards rather than forwards, in order to go forward.
          I’m not going to be presumptuous and say that the opportunity to tell about your past arises only after you establish yourself in the present with the group of people you will tell your story to, but that seems to make a lot of sense. You don’t usually start out with telling people who you are other than your name, country of origin, maybe age and major, and maybe some general interests. More likely, you first give them chances to observe you and make their own intuitions about your personality. Meanwhile, you yourself are subconsciously selecting those who will be the audience of your storytelling in time.
          Eventually the timelines collide, and you’re in the perfect time and place to go into something deeper than usual with your new friends - your past.
          It’s a big effort to take. The thought of it exhaustive because the past took a long time to build. But the older you get, the more you've been through, the more moved-on you are from past strives and depressions, the easier it actually is to take the plunge.
          I learned all this at 1 a.m. this morning in my floor’s kitchen with two new friends. I had just finished telling a story of my past when mindlessly I got up to do the dishes, suddenly realizing how long “having dinner together” had lasted. It didn't occur to me that my story had impressed anyone. Honestly, it felt as if I had just recalled something very casual like a vacation or teachers I had had.
          So there I was scrubbing a frying pan with steel wool, more concerned about dormitory etiquette than anything else at the moment, when one of my friends gives me the most unforeseen observation of myself I've ever received:
“For someone’s who’s been through all that, you’re a very easygoing person.”
          Up until that moment I had been holding on to an outdated self-image of a severely damaged person nobody would ever understand or be able to fix. But now I notice how normal and happy I am and have been for a while.  How much of a likable human being I can be. It's surreal, and maybe the reason I strangely woke up early this morning and made myself a very nice breakfast. 
As I said, going backwards in order to go forward.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just In The Vicinity

My day out with Marcus, Billy, and Gabriel around Waseda. 
Finally took my DSLR outdoors. 

1. Marcus.
2. Marcus and Billy way up ahead.
3. Lens malfunction.

Feet of Marcus, Gabriel, and Billy.

The famous meeting point for Waseda students on campus.

Funky architecture nearby.

Friday, September 13, 2013

First Mail To My New Address:
New Glasses Have Arrived!

Parents' fear of their child's starvation, living abroad, clearly.
Looking forward to seeing things through your eyes, new friend.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

4 Days In: Trying to Stay Very Organized

          Just returned from an afternoon scouting of nearby necessity stores. I roughly know where to get everything now as well as mentally marked all the restaurants to visit when 'conbini' food just won't cut it. Indoors, my impulse for organization resumes. I am determined to keep my room, particularly my desk area, efficiently tidy. (Doesn't hurt to be pleasant to the eyes either.) Yesterday's preliminary orientations left me with a bunch of dates and procedures I can't afford to forget, so I spent the entire night comprehending the student kit they gave us, customizing a system of organization along the way. I. was. exhausted. But my spirits about being here have only risen. I admit that paperwork, especially in Japanese, is quite dizzying and stressful, but every second the people around you remind you of how blessed you are being on this journey, and make all the procedures seem like folding a paper in half. It's gonna be a great year, I just know it. 

My buys today. (Lovin' the coffee dripper.)
5 "S" hooks  þ
17 clothes hangers   þ
1 scarf hanger (velvet)      þ
Pieces of home here and there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 1 of Being An Exchange Student In Tokyo

          I'm a bit brain-dead right now from travelling and settling into my dorm, but I want to get the story of my day down immediately so please excuse the straightforwardness of my writing hence forth.
          I arrived in Tokyo yesterday afternoon at 2, feeling quietly excited... I think. I am still "quietly excited" right now, whatever that means. It's as if it hasn't quite hit me yet that I am going to spend the next 11 months in Tokyo although I am nothing but optimism and loving all these little new experiences so far. I've made some charming acquaintances already. In relation to other clans that have started forming, we're a talkative and perhaps obnoxious-looking bunch. Right now we make a nice group of 6, and whether that number will increase or remain, I really do hope this "we" becomes a regular thing. I like these people.
          I think everyone is delighted by the dorms, or at least, to my knowledge, those of us staying at Nishi-Waseda. "Think of the next person" is the inspiring motto around here. I've taken at least an 80% reduction in living space, but I find my current environment very sustainable and snug. Can't wait to fully customize the space. (On a side note, moving in to a new place solo for the first time, you notice the necessities you take for granted, like trash receptacles and rags for cleaning.) The supervisors/caretakers here seem very caring and considerate too. Never had people wipe my suitcase wheels before entering a building. I admit there are a lot of customs to get used to, but it's all fuel to this zen excitement I'm feeling.

Pictures and/or better writing tomorrow.
Peace out.