Posted in YouTube Videos

All Good News! Leopalace Update #vlog

Alrighty! So the most important part of the vid is that I don’t gotta move, which is awesome. Watch to see if you’re interested in the buildings affected and the other bits of good news I’ve got going on in my life. Please and thanks!

Posted in Slice of Life

Moving Was Hell, Here’s the Whole Horrid Story

I hate moving, but I especially hate moving in Japan. Even though this particular moving process ended up working out, with some good twists and turns along the way, it was also hell. Hell on my nerves, hell on my body, and hell on my mental state. I’ve had non-stop nightmares from beginning to end, and I’m still not feeling settled in quite yet. I don’t know when I will, honestly.

But let’s start on a positive note first. I ended up doing what I should’ve done a long time ago and asked for help, so a very very good friend named D____ came down to help me. He actually drove me up with my bigger things (the bed, some shelves, books, kitchen things, gas stove, etc.). I couldn’t believe he was so kind enough to do it, and then even help me with my job hunt too. D____ and I had fun on the drive, talking and signing along to songs. We also went out to dinner and hung out, so that was a great memory to create. I will always be so thankful to him.

From there, things kind of go on into a roller-coaster of events. I had an issue: the big items couldn’t go into the new apartment yet. Instead, I actually stored them for another week at future roommates’ place. My new roommate, [X], was working with things on their end to get big things moved to the new place too. [X] and I decided to consolidate our big items, and then by only moving the big stuff with a moving company. We would carry our smaller things ourselves.

You see, before I could move I had to finish up my job at the high school. I needed to do paperwork done on a variety of things, like the pension papers for the private company and getting the letter of leaving from this employment. There was also a goodbye party thrown for all the English teachers leaving that year, which of course I had to attend! It was bittersweet to say goodbye, but I intend to go back for bunkasai in the fall.

Also, I had to still get rid of things. I threw things away, donated clothes, went to the recycle shop to sell things, I did everything I could. Without a car or other means of getting these stuff done easily, that meant a lot of running around and train rides. I was just constantly moving, and all the while still job hunting too. I was sending out applications and cover letters, trying to get my life in order!

Still, I focused on what I could control and do. I cleaned, I packed, I threw away, it was just constant motion and movement. I knew I would need to just keep at it, but it never seemed to end.

On the “real” moving day, even though I did my best to get rid of so much, I still had too much stuff to carry up all at once to the new apartment. I lugged four suitcases up, hurting myself multiple times in the process of going from train to train to walking to bus. It was honestly horrendous. People thought I was crazy, but I managed, in no small part due to Japanese citizens taking time out of their day to help me get through turnstiles and into/out of elevators. Also, god bless our new apartment manager, she sweetly let me keep two suitcases that broke on the way up.

I got the keys from the key office and raced to the apartment to catch the moving company coming with the big items. Luckily, they were understanding of me being late, and they quickly put all ours stuff where it needed to go. [X] actually got our friend E____ to bring around a car to get the suitcases moved from [X]’s apartment to the new place, too (and we also picked up two suitcases I left at the key office).

By the end of the day, [X] and I were exhausted. My mind wouldn’t shut up about how I didn’t quite move everything, and I prayed that the next day I would get it done. I had to be there by 3 to let the utilities people come and turn everything on, but I also had to go back down to the old apartment to get the keys returned. That meant money down and up, time I didn’t really have in order to pack up the last of my stuff, and get the keys to the apartment company.

Long story short, I did not succeed. I ended up having to reschedule because I had two job interviews in the next couple of days. I decided to just set my stress levels to max to get the last stuff packed up right after I did my second interview. I can’t describe the amount of stress that I felt in those 48 hours. I needed to get a job, get moved out, and get back to the apartment all in that short span of time.

Luckily, I did.

When I received my offer of employment, I cried such happy tears. At this particular place of employment, there is a Masters degree program I can get into, and I can get certified for things too. I wanted it so bad ever since I found out it had this program.

On the rescheduled move out date, I was a bit late, but I managed to get everything out of the apartment. I ended up having to throw away some things that were really dear to me, but I did get to keep all my writing notebooks. Those were the most important, of course, but there were just so many. I’m making another goal this year to digitize and/or publish these things so I’ll not have to keep lugging them around.

When I got back to my new home, something clicked and I realized it was over. I was covered in bruises, my wallet was slim, but I was home. [X] and I didn’t have everything we needed, but I knew this place was where I belonged. I loved the street we would walk down every day past flowers and tiny creeks. I loved the size of our big kitchen and living room.

Home. I was home.

Like I said before, I’m not quite settled in, mainly because it’s still just so new. All the same, it feels right. All the effort and pain that went into this process was worth it. I’m closer to my support base as well as working in a job that suits me and will improve my skills. I wish it hadn’t been so terrible to move, I wish at the time I had more funds to afford a really good moving company, but I am glad I ended up where I am.

And now that I’m here, I think I’m going to stay a while.

Posted in Blog/Vlog Announcements, Uncategorized

Changing Things

I’m getting into the rhythm of this new stage in my life.

Well, I’ve got a job and a new apartment, so it’s all slowly coming together anyways. Unlike when I worked at my previous job as a high school teacher, the odds of overtime for this eikaiwa job will be few and far between. In other words, I have no excuses to not devote the time I need to my goals.

The high school job allowed me to make great friends with great co-workers, but it didn’t allow for much time for myself. Looking back, I let myself get really sucked into the Japanese way of working. I went to work on Saturdays when requested, I worked during holiday times when requested, I stayed after school late often for English Club, all because I enjoyed what I was doing. I felt really connected with the teachers and the students, and was fulfilled in many job satisfaction aspects.

But at the same time, I realized that in the three years I worked there, I didn’t publish nearly enough stuff. I actually started several new hobbies. Comedy shows, YouTube, performance shows, volunteering with Stonewall Japan, it all added up. At the same time, those hobbies weren’t my passion. I kept crunching time to do this activity and this other activity, but I didn’t make enough time for writing.

I was also Stonewall Japan’s Vice President for a year, which was a wonderful if challenging experience. I learned a lot, gained much needed experience in team building and project management, but it was essentially a volunteer part time job. So many aspects of the national leadership role demanded time and attention, which in turn meant devoting less attention to what I wanted to do.

I decided for myself the best thing to do would be to step down from such a major role. Instead, I will be Kanto East Block Leader for the next year, which will be a significantly less responsibility than Vice President. I will still be a part of Stonewall’s plans for pride events and such, but I won’t be planning meetings, attending leadership meetings, vetting out new people, checking in on National Newsletters, etc.

What am I gonna do with all this free(er) time? I’m going to write more.

I want to make more content for this site and other sites I have. I want to write more freelance articles and get my name out there. I want to start self-publishing these novels just sitting in my hard drive and waiting to be pushed into the world. I want to really focus in on the love I always had for writing, but never devoted enough time to it to make it the thing I do for a living.

It will be a process, it will take effort, but I want to make it happen.

I’m the kind of person who always has pens, notebooks, or other stationary items on hand just in case an idea pops into my head. I will write scribbles of novel ideas into agendas, tell myself “one day,” but then the one day never comes. I’m tired of always dreaming about it or talking about it but never getting it done.

It’s time to change that, it’s time to just quit kidding myself. I’m not superwoman, and I can’t do every single thing I enjoy as well as give myself time to write. I have to straighten out my priorities into the way that’ll get me to where I want to go. To be sure, I’ll continue to do my hobbies. Specifically, the comedy shows and YouTube will keep being regular occurrences, but I won’t be running off to this event or that one all the time anymore.

One of the goals I have will be doing daily posts. They might be short or long, but they will be up here. I hope that the daily posts won’t be too annoying for people following me, but I need this exercise to keep me actively writing.

Change can be daunting, but the one is for the best.

Posted in Slice of Life

Weird Superstitions I Have

Weird Superstition #1: Throwing away gifts = bad luck

I am currently in the process of moving, which means inevitably stuff needs to get thrown out. Because I’m moving in Japan, that means essentially getting rid of nearly everything, as that would be cheaper than bringing all my stuff with me.

Not even kidding, it’s about 14,000 yen (about $150) to “recycle” my fridge, washer, and a broken microwave. It would cost me triple of that to move them, and that’s not even considering the hassle of finding that company that would have a moving van in the next couple of weeks.

I’m downsizing all of my material possessions into boxes and suitcases. With any luck, I’ll be able to move without a lot of hassle into the new place. However, I have a hard time letting go of gifts.

I imagine most sane people can chuck stuff without much issue. For me, it’s a tough call. I have odd and weird superstitions about my stuff (i.e. junk) that I really shouldn’t. A keychain someone gave me three years ago that I never use shouldn’t be something I take with me, right? Yes?

But it was a gift, says my inner-not-so-sane voice. You can’t get rid of it. Why? Because all that good will given to me will then be promptly thrown away with it. All the love, the thoughtfulness, will go straight in the garbage!

Which made this particular move so difficult, as the washer and desk I currently possess are also gifts. The desk is huge with a glass top and shelves on the side. My friend Alex gave it to me before he left for South Korea, which was great! But now I’m terrified of getting rid of it, even though I literally have no money to take this with me. 

The washer is about ready to die, though. Its spin cycle is more of a slosh cycle, so I rarely use it anymore. It’s actually more convenient to run to the laundromat and get all my clothes washed in one go. So for that particular machine, I can let it go without feeling like I’m also tossing out the good intentions of my friend.

And yes, I’m fully aware all of my friends probably A) don’t remember giving me most of this stuff in the first place and B) would absolutely forgive me for tossing it all out and C) would think I’m nuts for getting all worked up about it in the first place.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my stuff up to future roommate’s apartment for storage. After tomorrow, I gotta either get rid of the rest of the things in the apartment or get screwed over come mid-April with everything else going on (job training, having very little money, etc.). Fighting against this superstition is vital for my own good.

But it still sucks. I hate tossing love away.

Weird Superstition #2: If I Spend Over 100,000 yen (over $1,000) at one time = DEATH

I grew up in a “feast and famine” household.

Whenever my mother received her tax returns or got a bonus of some sort, we could eat out and buy stuff. Most of the time, paycheck to paycheck struggles were our normal. Only a few occasions did the electricity or water get turned off from a bounced check, and I do mean few, but still it happened. My mother was a single parent doing the best she could, we didn’t starve or anything.

All the same, I have a difficult time spending money on things. I am frugal about a lot of stuff. I don’t pay for hundreds of dollars in any brand of clothing ever, I don’t eat out at places that are over 5,000 yen (not even for nomikais ). I buy used electronics and household things, literally most of the stuff in my kitchen is a collection of Daiso things and appliances handed over to me by people leaving the country.

Most people probably assume that I’m doing it out of trying to save money, and that is partly true. I like to save money more than I like spending it, and in general that’s a good way to go through life. However, at the same time I’m also dealing with my brain constantly shouting at me about spending money.

Especially for expensive things, like say I dunno, moving. I need to pay move-in costs for the new apartment, I need to pay for things to get chucked, and I gotta pay for everything in quick succession. The move-in costs for the new apartment are about 300,000 yen, but I’m splitting those costs with roommate, so it’s about 150,000-170,000 yen (over $1,500-1,700) depending upon the move-in date.

My brain is not a fan of these costs. It doesn’t matter that I saved up enough for it, it doesn’t matter that I have a credit card in the event of unforeseen costs so I can get food, doesn’t matter that I’ve already planned out my whole damn budget for the next two months! I will starve and die because I’m spending this money all at once!

It’s a bad move, because I will surely not have thought of something and it will be too much for me to deal with, and without this money I will-!

Go ask my mother or my roommate for a temporary loan. It’s not a big deal, and I recognize this fact as logical, but logic has got nothing to do with random anxiety. I hate dealing with this superstition on top of the other one, but what can you do?

Weird Superstition #3: If I Don’t Do Everything Myself, Everything Will Fall Apart

I have a hard time asking for help.

It’s a trifecta of problems to sort through right now. I hate putting my burdens onto other people, and asking for help is the worst way to do just that. It means I’ve let myself and others down by not being able to do it all on my own. Even though historically speaking I’ve gotten to where I’ve been because of all the support I’ve received, I still live everyday trying to be a pillar of support for others instead of the one needing support.

So when I’m the one standing in the middle of a wrecked room, unsure about everything that will happen and if I can do it all on my own, I feel strangely defeated in the knowledge that I’ll need to ask for help. I have these thoughts that my friends and family will be so disappointed and disgusted with me for it.

Which is quite ridiculous, because my friends gave me job recommendations and assisted me in trying to find a new place without me even needing to ask. For some reason, getting unasked for help is fine, but me actually having to say the words, “I’m sorry, but I need your help,” ties me up in knots.

If I don’t do it, it won’t get done. I took this lesson instilled in me by my mother who did everything herself and from my own personal experiences. Somewhere along the line it turned into a more twisted version of, if I don’t do it, everything will go horribly wrong.

I’m working on it, or I should say I’m pushing through it, because projects like moving demand that I must. I need help to get everything done, I need to spend that money to move into an awesome new place, and I need to get rid of the things holding me down. If I continue to keep thinking in these same old patterns, I’m never going to go anywhere.

Taking these steps towards change is a terrifying concept, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s also exhilarating, I’ll admit, to go into this new territory where I don’t let my weird superstitions own me anymore. I’m fighting through them, and no matter what things are going to change.

I’ll talk more about the exact changes later. For now, I just wonder who else has weird superstitions or anxieties, and how they changed things for themselves. Lord knows it’s not easy, but I hope we can all get through it.