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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Japan Journal, Week One: Ansel Elgort, Classics, and Russling Jimmies

This is the first week that I wrote journals in Japan, but it's actually about a month after I got there. Bear with me. So, these are journals that I wrote while in Japan. I'm not editing them at all, so that you can read my raw feelings, exactly as I wrote them. If you're going abroad, perhaps they can help you understand what to expect! Or not. They're about 60% what I did in Japan, 40% complete and utter randomness. So, if that's enjoyable, have at them!
I hope you'll enjoy them. I mostly hope future me will enjoy them, but hey if you do, bonus. Also, if you ARE future me, hey bro. I hope you're doing well.
AAAAND, GO:
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They say that the master artist can make art with any brush. I'm not sure what happened to me, but somehow, even when given a perfectly good brush, I still botch up any kanji I am asked to create in shodoubu. It's a little sad, honestly. The other students effortlessly crack out gorgeous creations, while I am left sitting at my table, painting calligraphy that looks as if it were written by a three year old. Occasionally, one might find in front of me a sheet with three half written kanji, scribbled over with various angry-looking brushstrokes. I'm trying, really. I just have no idea what I'm doing. A girl helped me the other day, and it was so nice! A move in the right direction, for sure.
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It's possible that I might die of fatigue.
If I do, I'd like to be lowered into the group by the people with whom I worked on group projects, so that they can let me down one last time.
Also, kissing Ansel Elgort would be nice. Bonus points if he's wearing a baby. Extra bonus points if it's MY baby.
...Certain parts of this play may not be feasible.
I am going to die, because I walked 20.5 miles today. For the most part, I was pretty fine, but once I got about 2 kilos from the school, the "everything hurts" that had started about 20 kilos beforehand REALLY started to kick in, and I remember thinking, "This is how it ends. Right here. I'm going to die right here. Or murder something. Either way."
It was unpleasant, to say the least. But, I made it through! In the end, everything was gorgeous, and it was a really beneficial experience.
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Some days, I find the "ZOMG FOREIGNER" mentality that follows me everywhere sweet, charming, and funny. Other times, I'm like, "Ugh, I look horrible and I'm so tired. Maybe we could not right now." But most of the time, it's pretty fabulous.
Favorite moment ever: today, a random senior yelled "hello" to me in the hallway. I responded "konnichi ha," because this is my way of letting people know that I speak Japanese, and that I would prefer for them to speak to me in Japanese. This dude, however, responded back in English, "I'm very handsome." Thanks for that information, bro. I'll keep that in mind.
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I love Japan. Love, love, LOVE! But, when I am really tired, and I've been talking all day long, and fathoming things anymore just seems exhausting, it honestly feels exactly like this:
Or this True Jackson VP episode (start the video at 6:00 to enjoy the magic).
 
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I'm recently super into the name Zelda. I also like the name Link a lot, though. One of you is going to have to go, man, I don't want everyone thinking I'm some crazy Legend of Zelda fangirl.
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...I have a paper upon which I've written words about which I wanted to write journals. My next word is "Aussies." Just that, nothing else. I'm lost. I mean, I do love me some Aussies. But I have no clue about what I meant to write.
Probably just my undying love for Aussies. I love them forever. Their accents make me swoon. That is all.
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  Songs that will remind me of my Japan trip forever:
Tokyo Victory
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"One Direction? Why can't they make their hair all go in one direction?" --- An actual phrase once uttered by my mother.
I was adding a picture of One Direction to the PowerPoint I'm making for a school presentation (very professional PowerPoint, I know....you haven't even heard about the YouTube section..I also included lots of information about school and my life, I'm not a monster), and I instantly thought of this. She's not wrong, their hair in in a constant tizzy.
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Why don't I say the phrase "rustled my jimmies" more often, a la danisnotonfire? That's a good phrase. My new goal is too work it into conversation. I'm not conversing in English at all right now, though, so I'll probably dramatically fail at this goal. But it was a valiant effort.
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Today, the kids who sit around me in Classics class attempted to teach me how to read the story about which we were learning, which was extremely nice and generous of them. Unfortunately, certain small details got in the way, namely:
1. Kanji. This was fixed by the teacher going through the book with me and physically writing in the furikana, because she is the nicest person ever.
2. I read Japanese in my head perfectly fine, and generally, I read it out loud quite well, but good gracious, it was the last period of the day, and for some unknown reason, I was reading as if I'd just been hit by a truck and someone shoved the book in my face and demanded storytime. Which is to say, VERY SLOWLY.
3. What the actual heck, Classics. Like, there are multiple rules about going backwards and reading certain things first, and reading characters out of order...what? I understand it now, because the poor dude who sits next to me deigned to walk me through it, but at first, he was like, "No, when you see that symbol, you skip this character, read the next five, and then go back and read that character." And I was just like, ".....Wait, what? One more time? I DON'T UNDERSTAND." It's because it's a direct translation from Chinese; it's very raw and the characters are still in Chinese order. C'mon.

Luckily, I understand it now. But it was a tiny bit brutal at first.
But, despite these difficulties, the other kids sat with me, helped me read the story, and then explained the story (the Chinese emperor has a horse that he always likes to ride, and a war is raging...the teacher said that this story is sad, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the horse probably bites the dust. Or maybe the love interest, who is sexist-ly referred to only as "The Beauty" -- no name. C'mon, Ancient Chinese literature). They are the bomb.  
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I have a YouTube blurb written for myself that says "Angry Church Lady." That's when you know that stuff is gonna hit the fan.
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It is so cool how easily Japan can lift me out of a funk. The smallest things brighten my day. Thrift shopping, eating something tasty, reading kanji correctly--multiple times a day, I stop and think to myself, "I am so, so lucky."
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In America, I absolutely detested going to the mall. All of the stimuli, the fact that I had to buy things and made decisions...blegh. Although I do love me some mall pretzels. But, I digress. The point is, in Japan, I'm basically Robin Sparkles. I love going to the mall here--real life Japanese practice (reading signs, talking with whomever I am with), seeing/buying cute Japanese stuff--love it. Which I guess is pretty predictable, seeing as the only places at which I truly liked to shop in America were Japanese markets.

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