It’s a New Year – Regrets and Resolutions

I started 2016 with a bang – meeting new people at my friend’s annual New Year’s Eve party, getting a little too excited, drinking too much, losing my gloves and my phone, going to bed with the room spinning, waking up to the sound of my mum yelling, and then (literally) picking up the pieces. Probably not that different to the average Brit’s New Year, to be honest.

January’s almost over already! Blimey, time flies by faster and faster the older you get. There was no white Christmas this year, and this winter has been pretty mild (save for ‘Storm Frank’ and the UK floods), but it FINALLY snowed a little bit over the weekend. Not a huge amount, but enough to cover the ground and look like a festive, magical blanket hiding all the ugly bits.

I had my January exams over last week. They didn’t go terribly, but they didn’t go brilliantly either. I submitted an essay on ‘women and violence’ in Le Morte D’Arthur (by Sir Thomas Malory) for one of my English modules, which was pretty substandard, I’m sad to say. But my semester of Medieval Literature and Arthurian Legends is over now. They were highly interesting, but unfortunately not subjects of English that I was particularly gifted in. Hopefully that will change when I start the new semester with Literature of the Romantic Period and Japanese Film & Literature.

As soon as my last exam was over I got on the train and went to go visit a friend down south who I hadn’t seen since before my year abroad in Japan, and we had a great time catching up, exploring the city, eating junk food and watching the new Star Wars again, this time in 4DX at Cineworld. The movie was enjoyable (obviously), the 3D was okay (I’m not crazy about it) and SOME of the 4D effects were great.

The good effects included the motion seats that would move and vibrate along with the camera pan or spaceships flying, and some strobes that lit up whenever there was an explosion, along with some wind and a bit of water splashing when in rain. The vibrations from clashing light sabers were also a pretty nice effect. Other things, like these little whooshing bursts of wind that erupted from my headrest and spurted past my ear whenever the Stormtroopers fired their blasters, were not so great. It felt like there were actual bullets whizzing past my head by a hair’s breadth and it made me want to curl up under my seat and take cover.

And now here we are, with me finally having a bit of free time after a grueling semester. It was hard work, and I got sick and stressed out a lot more than I did in Japan, but I was much more productive and efficient in my studies and entering societies than I was when I first began university over two years ago. At the same time, I seem to have turned into a bit of a social recluse. Whenever I didn’t have to go to class, I would shut myself away in my room and not leave except to eat or go to the bathroom for days on end. And by the end of my hermit retreat, I would get anxious when the time approached to leave my cave and interact with other people. I also had on-off bouts of intense nihilism and depression. But for now, mentally, I feel quite healthy and at ease.

When I visited my friend this weekend, he mentioned he hadn’t seen any artwork or internet publications by me in a long while. He’s working now, with a 9-5 job in the city, but he says he still tries to keep up with his art at least once a week, and that’s inspired me to want to produce more stuff despite all the work I have to do as well. I thought about starting drawing again, and wondering where I could publish my drawings, then remembered I could still use this blog as a place to keep it all linked. I don’t really use Tumblr, deviantART, Flickr, or any of those. And I hate starting new accounts just to let them gather dust when I lose motivation. So here we are: new cover photo, new profile picture. Feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, too.

So, regrets of 2015:

  • I don’t think I completely made the most out of my time in Japan and there are still so many places I want to visit and friends I want to make.
  • I didn’t budget carefully enough and ended up owing my mum a lot of money which I’m still paying back. Luckily I still have that Skype tutoring job (which is going great, by the way).
  • I didn’t work as hard as I could have and this is still a problem I’m facing back in British university.
  • I didn’t make a big deal out of my 21st birthday back in September. That’s not a HUGE regret, and I was too exhausted at the time to have a huge party, but I think in 2016 for my 22nd I’d definitely like to try inviting all my friends around.
  • I can’t go to California this year after all. One day I hope I can.
  • The disaster that was New Year’s Eve. I’m not drinking at all this month and after that I vow to limit a night’s drinking to four drinks only.


And my resolutions for 2016:

  • Drink less, eat less, sleep more, exercise more
  • Do all my homework on time and keep up with assignments
  • Read for leisure, not just for my degree
  • Do an internship in Japan this summer (in the works!)
  • Visit family and friends more
  • Travel a bit around the country and get to know the UK a bit better
  • Be creative and use this website to enhance my artwork and writing skills
  • At the same time, try to work on my internet addiction
  • Plan ahead for people’s birthdays so that I can give them great presents
  • Learn a new skill – I’m studying Korean at the moment, but I think I’d like to learn to drive in my final year of university so that I can work towards getting an international license and then be able to drive in other countries.


Happy New Year!

NIN pp


Day 147: The nightmare is over (for now) 月曜日・2015年2月9日

No more exams. No more reports. I have to give a presentation on tea tomorrow, and a short presentation in Calligraphy next week, but that’s barely anything. After that I’m finally free. Thank goodness.

The exam in Civilizations this morning was… boring. That’s all I could remember about it. I finished it quickly as possible and left so I could get on with my Religion report, which I finished, only to realize it wasn’t due in until next week. Oh well. At least I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Before Calligraphy I started watching Fargo, because I remembered my sister telling me about it a while back. Quite a long while back, maybe one and a half, two years ago? No idea. Basically, I’m watching it for Martin Freeman. But I’m three episodes in and so far I enjoy the show for what it is, not just Martin, even though he is adorable as always. I was apprehensive about the Minnesota accent (hearing British actors speak with an American accent always makes me die a little inside), but he pulls it off pretty well. I guess he’s adorable no matter what accent he uses, though obviously I prefer his dry British accent, which comes through whenever he sighs in Fargo, and reminding me of John Watson. Is it appropriate for me to call a 43-year-old man adorable? Probably not. I’ve been too exposed to the YouTube comments.

Calligraphy was a frustrating waste of time. I sat there for an hour and a half while the teacher talked to each person individually about their work, going from the front to the back of the classroom, and I was at the back. I was left until the very last, and I didn’t leave the classroom until 50 minutes after the lesson had ended – so at 18:40. No-one should stay in school for that long.

I went round to Rachel’s so I could take her bag of snacks off her – she binged a lot recently just because they were THERE, so she’s given them to me to ward off the temptation until after Lent.

I’m not religious (as I say far too often on this blog), but I still “celebrate” Lent. Follow it, whatever. I also eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, and I shall be doing that this year as well. And I will probably eat chocolate at Easter. Feel free to call me a hypocrite. Please, do tell me more about how you have to be religious to be allowed to eat pancakes and chocolate.

But anyway, Lent, to me, is a good way of lessening my addictions to stuff. My mum takes Sundays off every week during Lent, but not me. I go all out. I resist for the full 40 days. That’s how I managed to curb my addiction to Subway sandwiches three years ago. I was eating four footlongs a week up until that point, meaning I spent £22 a week on SANDWICHES. Delicious, but not cost-efficient. And it worked. I’ve only been to Subway twice this year. Twice in 21 weeks. And both of them were six-inch ones, because Japanese Subway sandwiches are nowhere near as magnificent as English ones. I’m sure the American ones are phenomenal.

Maybe I should give up the internet for Lent this year. Or YouTube videos, seeing as it wouldn’t be practical for me to give up the Internet entirely. Imagine all the things I could get done. Unfortunately, I think that would drive me insane. Watching videos is my way of unwinding. I guess I wouldn’t mind if it was ONLY YouTube videos, but if I meant ALL videos… I mean, I’m watching Fargo right now, of course. I feel like I’m always watching something. Yeah, maybe I should give that up. Instead of watching videos, I’ll read books. I still have a feeling it’ll drive me insane. Watching videos has become like biting my nails – I’m halfway through a video of a cat falling off a shelf before I even realize what I’m doing.

I wouldn’t mind giving up Facebook for Lent. It’s a huge waste of my time. Unfortunately it’s how I keep in contact with most people. So I’d have to check it once a day anyway, which kind of defeats the purpose.

I’ve been going to bed and waking up on time for six days in a row now. Between seven and nine hours each night. Pretty healthy. And I’ve been dancing whilst flexing with a bottle of tomato juice after I wake up. And I have substantial breakfasts at 8am every day, with rice, miso soup, tofu, occasionally natto, and a mikan (tangerine). I underestimated how good it actually feels. I feel great. I have energy throughout the day, and I’m tired at bedtime. I think the only thing I need to do now is exercise a few minutes more each day (so far my goal is dance to x number of songs rather than keep track of how long I do it for), and drink more fluids, though I’m doing that too.

I have Pat to thank for this. Last Tuesday he caught up with me whilst I was looking a wreck – I’d just pulled an all-nighter from doing work, and I was a zombie. He said that wasn’t healthy at all (he’s right), and that he used to do that, but then he started prioritizing sleep over everything else. Even if you’ve got things that are unfinished, go to sleep, he said. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but there was something in what he said, maybe I’ve remembered it wrong which is why it sounds less dramatic on here. Or maybe it really was just as simple as that.

I suppose it hit me hard because it was coupled with the fact that it was my nth number of all-nighters in the last two weeks alone. I think I’d had five or six sleepless nights in the two weeks before having that conversation, and that day, my body had had it. I felt like I could have had an aneurysm any second. I felt really, really sick. So tired but so tense and twitchy that I couldn’t have slept even if I’d gone to bed right then, because my body had been forcing itself to stay awake for so long it had forgotten how to relax.

So now I find myself eating and sleeping regularly, and now I’ve started, I never want to give it up. I didn’t think I could get addicted to routine, but now I am, and I don’t want to give it up for anything. I feel so, so much better. Amazing what a regular dose of sufficient sleep can do for you.

Is this adulthood? Or is this just me getting my act together? Both?

Anyway, I’m gonna go. Night night.

Day 143: Going to a visual kei concert next month :D 木曜日・2015年2月5日

“The Internet is really really great~ (for porn~)” ♪

(No prizes for guessing I got the internet back.)

I was expecting someone to come and perform maintenance in my room so I went to the trouble of tidying up, which took forever, and in the end it was all done over the phone, where I had to manually change my IP address. Thank God customer service was in English. The guy speaking to me sounded like he had a French accent.

I forgot to mention something really quite important yesterday!! Risa gave a presentation in Linguistics, the last lesson of the semester, and she talked about language in visual kei, which I think is quite a well-known genre of Japanese music yet I know hardly anything about it. Not only did Risa explain the language unique to visual kei fans, she also talked about her research and showed clips of the dance moves used at visual kei concerts. Visual kei is made up of a mainly metal sound, and I quite like metal – I don’t listen to it so much these days but I went through a huge metal phase as a teenager so I’m used to the sound and can handle the headbanging and whatnot. But anyway, I was watching these clips, particularly of the band Biosphia, and found them rather interesting. Then Risa revealed at the end that she’d bought one extra ticket than she’d meant to for the White Day concert of two bands, Scapegoat and Crimson Shiva if I remember correctly. So I bought the ticket off her. Meaning I’m going to a visual kei concert one month from now! Lucky me. That’ll definitely be an experience. Risa is going too, so hopefully we can go together. I’d be too nervous to go on my own, I think.

More was explained on the clique-y-ness and bitchiness that goes on around visual kei concerts and between fans – visual kei audiences are mainly made up of exclusively females – but I’m not sure I’d do such a good job explaining it here. But basically there’s a hardcore fangirl called the ‘jouren‘ who leads all the dance moves of the audience, and she always gets the “Number One” ticket. Visual kei concerts are really organized, unlike any other music event, where they hand out tickets in the order people can come in, and the most hardcore fangirls are the ones who always stand at the front. This is true of other concerts of course, like when I went to see Panic! At The Disco with my sister last year, and we got utterly crushed, and we couldn’t get past the front three rows because the throng of girls was too thick, and they were all too strong, and everyone was pushing. Very bitchy. Someone farted on me.

But in visual kei, even if you get Number One ticket, you end up giving it to the jouren if you want to be able to make friends, otherwise you’re going to make enemies if you keep the Number One ticket for yourself. Or something. It’s fine if you only want to go to one concert in your life, but if you want to keep going, and most likely see the same girls over and over again if they follow their favourite bands (and most jouren do), then it’s better to stick to that system. It’s a very exclusive community, where you are expected to be able to speak Japanese when you go to these concerts, if you want to be able to speak to the fans. It’s not an international thing. It’s very hard to explain, as I’m just repeating what I heard yesterday, and before yesterday I didn’t know anything about visual kei. But at least I have some idea of what to expect now. My ticket is #89.

Apart from that, I didn’t do much today except bask in the thrill of having the internet back, so it’s a good thing I was productive and thoroughly cleaned my room before getting it back. It’s good to have the motivation of expecting guests over, so that it forces you to clean up. My room was disgusting only nine hours prior to this. Well, no maintenance people came over, so it was okay, but I’ll be having guests on Saturday anyway, so I’ve at least done over halfway an acceptable amount of cleaning.

Lucy sent me a package of British snacks! Hooray. I was so happy to see it. Some Cadbury’s fruit & nut chocolate, an old favourite; some bourbon biscuits; lots of candy canes and a lollipop; two flavours of Walkers crisps, Salt & Vinegar and Prawn Cocktail (both of which I polished off immediately, oops); several Haribo packets; and two cupcake-shaped lipglosses thrown in too. I was delighted.

I found a few snacklets hanging around my room unopened, as I don’t snack much anymore, and I also found a container I’d bought from the ¥100 store a while ago, so I put all the snacklets in there, and now I have a “snack jar” which will hopefully prevent me from buying any more unsolicited snacks. At the moment it has Haribo, pomegranate chocolates, matcha sweets and candy canes in there.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with Rika and Tamaki to go have dinner, not sure where. I look forward to the adventure!

Very tired already, but then I have been going to bed at 6pm the last couple of days and been waking up at 3am. It’s now quarter to nine, so technically past my bedtime, haha. But 9pm’s not a bad time to go to bed, not at all. I’ll wake up at a healthier 6am, hopefully. Night night!