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Impatience

I am not a patient person. But I am trying to be better about it.
When I want something, I want it now or not at all.
Well, not always.
The kanji progress feels slow sometimes, but I know it’s impossible to learn all 2000 immediately, even if I do know about a quarter of those already.
But I’m still working, and that’s the important part right now.

Warm winter weather, and cleaning

Since today was very unseasonably warm (especially compared to the freaking blizzard we had about a week and a half ago) I took advantage of the windows being open to clean the CatGenie, which I had been putting off.
In the manual, it states that cleaning it every 6 months or so will help maintain performance and is in your best interest. It’s worded very friendly and suggestion-like, so that if you read it, you feel like “well, but if it’s not exactly six months there’s no problem, yeah? and I mean, it cleans itself all the time!”
NO. This is WRONG. 6 months is like the maximum you can wait before it becomes super gross and awful inside. I feel like they should have made this more clear! Haha… but I’m just lazy, it isn’t their fault really. (That’s why I have this thing, right?!)
Recently it stopped working so well, and smelling kind of gross, but with the house closed up I didn’t want to unleash a terrible smell that would never go away… kind of the same logic as keeping rotting food in your refridgerator until garbage day: it won’t rot further, but it’s a bad idea! It ruins everything around it and will just make your life more and more miserable. And what if you forget to take it out with the garbage?! You’re stuck with it for another long period of time… (@_@)
Well anyway, I really put it off and paid for it just now D: The inside was disgusting! I don’t even know how it happened! There was a bunch of cat hair which I guess I should have expected but I think my cats don’t shed as heavily as some so I don’t think about it much…
Seeing it like that, I almost thought “a normal litterbox is better than this!! at least it doesn’t get so disgusting…” but that isn’t true – you have to wash those just as often if not more often, you just can’t see how icky it’s getting. Not to mention the clumping litter is a pain in the ass to deal with, compared with reusable granules. So in the end, it’s worth it. I just have to not forget to clean the damn thing more often. I’m sure if I did, it wouldn’t be so awful each time.
I was hoping I could clean up my room, just sorting and organizing things I mean, but this was probably a better use of my time. No, it definitely was.

Moral of the story: CLEAN YOUR DAMN CATGENIE FREQUENTLY OR SUFFER THE DISGUSTING CONSEQUENCES!

Snow, and lots of it

So right after power was returned to the lands of the northeast, they were buried in snow. About a foot and a half, I would guess. Not exactly spectacular, although it does fulfill someone’s wish of a “White Christmas.”

You wouldn’t know it was going to be Christmas soon here, though. Could be any day in winter. No decorations, no lights or a tree, no Christmas movies from childhood playing on the television. I don’t know, I haven’t really bothered, I guess? It’s hard when no one around you seems to feel interested in the season. It’s just weather, or stress, or the economy or something.

There’s always something.

Fukubukuro are still exciting though the season for that doesn’t really start until closer to January. At least, that’s when they’ll shop up on yahoo!Japan auctions anyway. I preordered a bunch from Liz Lisa but there are other brands I’m contemplating. I wish the fukubukuro didn’t have coats in them, though. I can’t ever fit into Japanese sized coats because of my shoulders. Bone structure doesn’t change, even when you lose weight. I would say that’s sad, but honestly it would just be weird. Your whole body would shift around as a result (@_@)

Still using the kanji DS software, making good progress. About 13% now, which is only 400~ characters but I’m trying to get 100% on each reading and writing lesson.

All the good things

Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing, painting a rosy picture when things were more grey, but the truth isn’t always necessarily so horrible.
So here are some things I loved about living in Japan, and what pushes me to want to go back:

+ health. I was way healthier when I lived in Japan. I walked everywhere, I ate better, I drank more water.
+ social. I actually hung out with people in my free time. I almost never do that in the US. That might have been a product of study abroad but I really hope not. There are friends back there I miss seeing, and I hope I’ll get to spend some time with them.
+ karaoke. I LOVE karaoke and it just does not exist here. I might even go on my own if I have to, embarrassing though it may be. XD
+ shopping. okay, yes, I love shopping and if I do something like eikaiwa I won’t really have the money or space to indulge but just being able to browse is pretty awesome.
+ trains. I adore riding on trains, watching the scenery go by, listening to music. It’s an amazing feeling ? plus, not having to drive places myself? awesome.
+ bookstores. yes, there are Japanese bookstores in the US but none that are near me, so I can’t browse, which I love doing! it’s so hard for me to get into new series without being able to browse (; ^ ;)
+ keitai. this is less strong than it used to be, since I got my Tilt, but Japanese phones can do EVERYTHING and are so cute (* o *)
+ Japanese. what I mean is, the ability to use, increase and maintain my Japanese language knowledge. living there, my competency level shot up. there’s just no substitute. bonus: actually DOING something that (if indirectly) uses my major.

Time to get serious again!

So, in random burst of determination, I’ve decided it’s time to get serious about Japanese again. Of course, it’s two months too late to register for the JLPT, but at least now I have a whole year to prepare for 1級?
I’m taking my cues from nihongoperapera.com right now, as he (she?) recommends the Kanji in Context books, which I’m finding to be ridiculously helpful and well-organized – and I’ve only just started! Books full of the kanji by kanji, one at a time system really were not getting the meaning across to me well enough. Not that the mnemonics offered in A Guide to Remembering Japanese Character aren’t interesting, but the lack of kana and dictionary-like approach are really only good as a reference, I think. I stand by what I said before, about japanese-kanji.com being a good practice website, but that’s not the place for me to really learn the characters either.
My plan is this:
– complete the two Kanji in Context workbooks (which should take me a good few months)
– once I’ve mastered at least most of, if not all, the 1945 common use kanji, I’ll move onto JLPT 1級 textbooks for test-specific study
– at the same time, when I get sick of doing test problems, I’ll read manga and light novels to increase my general vocabulary
– take practice tests at various intervals to track my progress
– REMEMBER TO REGISTER FOR THE JLPT IN 2009 (this one is going to be the hardest, somehow XD I always forget…)
– figure out a way to be in NYC for the test Dec 2009 (since the NYC location is the closest one to where I live right now)
– pass the test? XD ideally, anyway.

But to be honest, right now? I’m harvesting fruit in Animal Crossing. XD

Cooling down into the turn of the seasons

Well, it’s official. Cooler weather is really on it’s way – I’m making stew right now. Sure, I could make stew in the summer, but that seems a little off-season don’t you think? This isn’t to say I never get cold in the summer… there are nights where I actually use my electric blanket to keep me warm and help me stay asleep.
Next week it’ll be September! Kind of feels like the summer sped by but I think that’s mostly because July was so jam-packed this year that it took me all of August to fully relax again XD This isn’t to say that the activities in that month weren’t worth it – I really enjoyed visiting Tokyo again although it make me kind of homesick for living there, a bit. I want to find more excuses to go back to visit… hehe. But for a while, I think I have to spend some time at home. I still have tons of stuff to sort through and decide where to put and what to do with. (Although this is a process that essentially began when I moved in here about a year ago so who knows how long it will really take…)
Lately I’ve been back to playing games a lot, which I love ♥ On the Wii, Smash Bros. Brawl (mostly single player adventure mode); PSP, LocoRoco and then Patapon; DS, The World Ends With You, which is absolutely fantastic and I will have to go back to it once I’m done with the other games I’m playing.
Other things I’ve been doing (besides playing video games and attempting to organize all of my worldly possessions) include watching Sailormoon R and editing meta-info in iTunes (things like ratings, genres…) and trying to play through all of my tracks. It isn’t as though I haven’t listened to most of them, I just lost my library info a few months back and am still recovering from it (T_T) Admittedly it’s better than losing my library which would be 45GBs of music (@_@) I have three copies (laptop, external hd and iPod itself) so it would be hard to lose all three barring something horrible like a fire so I don’t worry about that too much… anyway, I’m aiming to get everything in a clean, organized, tagged fashion so I can create more smart playlists and regular playlists faster (by being able to seek out songs I want). I still have the task of properly labelling the remainder of my Japanese songs with hiragana/katakana/kanji (as required) titles and artist names…. but that’s kind of a less important task and possibly even more time consuming than rating and playing through the last thousand songs.
Doing things like that are a reminder to me of how organizational systems are good, but have huge learning curves sometimes. It takes so much time and effort to set them up people around you wonder if you’re ever going to get anything done anymore (the Boy keeps saying he thinks I’m wasting time with iTunes, but in reality I’ve actually made a lot of progress by just doing a little every few days) but when you do get a system down, all you have to do is add the new things and you’re set! The important thing is to not let a backlog pile up or your system is for naught (n_n)
I might try to blog more in the coming days, if for no other reason than to babble on about the games I’m enjoying and force my recommendations upon my friends.

Productivity in Driving

So despite rain threatening this afternoon, I did end up driving to my parents’ house (for the purpose of cleaning out my old room) and back today, which is about 15-20 minutes each way, depending on the route and speed you take. Some relatively major roads were involved, and I reached 40mph for a short period on each trip. As ridiculous as it might sound to some of you reading this, that’s a decent step forward for me XD I may actually get my license before winter, but I wouldn’t bet on it just yet.
Despite how I’m feeling now (which is much more comfortable) I still maintain that at the time when I should have started driving originally (which is 16 in this state) I would not have been a very good, or very stable driver. It wouldn’t have been safe for me or anyone else on the road (this is not to say that everyone who passes the license test are good or stable drivers, but I can only make that decision for myself, so.) Yes, I probably could’ve been driving a year or two ago, but, well. Anyway the important thing is it’s happening now, and I will eventually have a car of my own to drive and take me places I want to go alone *shock*
Some things that initially scared me and things I think would have helped me to know/do as a new driver are:
– the car actually MOVES when you put it in drive. This is not something I had ever been aware of, and it was rather unsettling.
– starting out on a hill is not preferred. A large parking lot (empty of course) type area is best for getting used to turns, as well as starting and stopping. (I still think there should be practice courses for new drivers to test out, akin to go-cart areas, but for full size cars. As a required training exercise before you actually get on the road. I felt ill-prepared.)
– likewise, practice going back and forth between the brake/gas pedals is important, since you’re supposed to do it with only one foot. I’ve got it down now, but initially I really really wanted to use both, and it resulted in some physical lockup and mental stalling.

July is the month of crazy!

I’ve been so seriously busy this month, between travel and getting sick, and more travel, and still being sick (x__x)
I have so many things to talk about! But I have to be careful to space them out otherwise I’ll run out of content XD
So first, I’ll make a short entry about my trip to Japan.
I spent about a week in Tokyo at the beginning of this month, and the timing could’ve probably been a bit better, what with it being the end of the rainy season (it was cloudy nearly every day I was there) and friends not being off school yet, but it was the best deal for flights so…. that’s what determined it. I walked a lot, and took my pedometer with me for proof! Each day was usually over 10,000 steps, sometimes as high as 15,000! I still wonder what it would’ve looked like if I had my pedometer with me while I was living in Chiba. I didn’t really lose any weight though, which was kind of disappointing considering the amount of exercise I was getting XD
It was totally exhausting and went by kind of fast after the first couple days. I got to borrow a prepaid phone from my friend, which made me happy because it was almost like I was still living there XD I didn’t really get to do everything I wanted to, because it was all crammed into such a short time, so I’d like to go back (for a much longer period of time, if I can!) but who knows when that will happen. Need to save up for it, that’s for sure.
I haven’t driven at all since before I left for Japan because I was so busy getting ready for the next trip, and I caught a cold at the tail end of my trip anyway, so I was feeling pretty blah :( I may not really get a chance to practice again until August. Not exactly looking forward to it, but if I want to ever get a real job, it’s the only way, living in the suburbs. Bleh.

Vroomvroom.

Okay so I’ve decided I reaaaaaaally need to learn how to drive before I completely lose my mind.
Not that driving in and of itself will solve anything, but it’s the gateway to not hating my life. I hope.
It may be too late, though. You make stupid choices, you get stupid results. This is the way of the world.

I accept what’s happened to me as a result of choices I made. Or didn’t make, as you like. I see it clearly, more than I ever had for anything else before. And I see the steps for moving forward.
Driving is the first one. If I can succeed at that, the rest is easy by comparison.
(Seriously, I’m scared to death of driving.)

captcha’d

Spam comments are ick.
So I added a captcha.
Now I have no spam.

…. that was an unintentional senryuu (though not completely a senryuu in terms of content, it’s moreso that than a haiku)
It would be nice if I wrote something interesting here, wouldn’t it?
I made a flourless chocolate cake yesterday, and although I’ve had it before, after knowing the process and ingredients I’m inclined to say it’s closer to fudge than cake XD It was good, though. Been doing more cooking in general lately, which has been at least somewhat interesting for me. I like flipping through cookbooks to get ideas, even if I don’t always like the recipes as they are. (I’m too picky, there’s always something I want to remove!) I also like reading cookbooks that have a lot of basic reference type information in them, like what different pans/knives/utensils are used for, or descriptions of spice flavors and substitutions. I do not, however, like reading the Joy of Cooking. It’s a good reference for standard recipes but I always get sleepy while reading it… the distinct lack of color is probably what does it. Black & white sketches of food do not really bring about any appetite in me XD

I’m completely out of backlogged photos for Poupée Girl and now must take more. … eventually.

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