Mental breakdown in 3, 2, 1…

way too much pressure

It’s the last week of the academic year starting from tomorrow. I have four exams (that I know of), then I should be done by the end of the month. For some reason, my Japanese speaking exam wasn’t added to my exam timetable, so I had to search for it myself, hidden away somewhere on the VLE, and I’m still left wondering if there’s supposed to be a listening exam as well. I’m a flustered, quivering wreck.

Aside from preparing for exams, I only have one major bit of coursework left to do, which is a 3,000-word essay for Narrative of Japanese Modernity: Fiction and Film. I’m thinking of writing it on the 1996 Shunji Iwai film Swallowtail Butterfly. I can’t do it on Ghost in the Shell like I originally thought (damn), so instead I’ll make GITS (lol) the main point of my discussion topic for my Japanese speaking exam in a couple of weeks. I may center it around the casting of ScarJo in the new live action adaption.

Speaking of speaking, I’ve acquired a couple of Japanese language partners over the last few weeks, who I chat with on LINE/Facebook and speak with over Skype. Both long-distance friends, living in Japan. I have Japanese friends here in the UK, and other Japanese friends with whom I speak regularly online, but it’s gotten to the point where I feel like I can’t converse with them in Japanese. These are the main problems I have:

  1. I find it particularly jarring speaking Japanese out in an English setting. Really unnatural.
  2. Some friends are much better at English than I am at Japanese, so our default conversation language is English, and for me, struggling to converse in my comparatively poor Japanese is mortifying.
  3. Because we’re friends, they don’t always correct my mistakes. But then, I don’t always ask.
  4. Japanese exchange students came here to study English, so even if I try to converse with them in Japanese, they reply in English.
  5. As a native English speaker, I have a horrible lazy habit of morphing the conversation back into English once I run out of steam. It’s a globally-recognized language and a lot English speakers are not required to learn a second language in school, so I feel native English speakers tend to be much lazier linguistically than people of other tongues.

So, er, yeah. Mainly the problems stem from me being awkward, embarrassed and a lazy native anglophone. I feel like I never had this problem before entering university, though. When I was learning Japanese at A-Level in sixth form, I was really enthusiastic about the language, worked my butt off and got an A*. In contrast, ever since starting university, I feel like I’m floundering rather than excelling.

With the new language partners, I’ve been getting much more well-needed practice than I was before, which is great. But in an effort to keep up with their native speed I stutter, forget really basic vocabulary and grammar, or start to talk about a topic that’s way too ambitious and then continuously falter each time I realize I can’t say what I want to say. Plus my accent slips embarrassingly and it’s a wonder they can even understand what I’m saying.

I practiced with one of them for my latest speech class presentation, but it was still no use. Public speaking makes me incredibly flustered so even though I’d practiced, my mind went blank, I just stared down at my sheet of paper with my notes and basically mumbled my way through the whole thing, occasionally looking up to glance at my teacher’s despairing face. It was maybe the worst presentation I’d done so far. Probably only worth a 3/10. My speaking test in two weeks will be worth 60% of the whole module, and I envision myself crumbling in front of both the Japanese teachers who will be there in the exam.

Never have I had so much exam anxiety than in the years I’ve been in university. The pressure is too much, and I’m not even in my final year yet. (That’s next year, oh boy.) And don’t even mention the English Lit side of my degree. There’s so much material and so little time. I’ve been borderline hysterical every exam season and coursework deadline I’ve approached. I am hindered by perfectionism and the desperate desire to do well, because all I can think about is that I’m not good enough and I’m going to fail. A few things in my personal life have also made it incredibly difficult to concentrate as of late. I am consumed with nihilism and bitterness and self-loathing. I often think it would be a stroke of luck if I happened to step in front of a speeding car.

I have to keep telling myself things to keep myself from falling into a cesspool of pessimism. Things like, it’s not a race; stop comparing yourself to others. Also, even if you do fail, it’s not the end of the world. And, come on, you want to be a fiction writer, not a scholar. Calm the fuck down.

But the perfectionism persists even in that area. My ideas for stories all seem completely vapid and contrived. I’m not even confident in my technical abilities as a writer anymore, as is evident from the editorial errors and endless babbling in my blog posts.

What was even the point of this article? Probably just another way to procrastinate on starting my 3,000-word essay. But it’s more writing than I’ve done in a long while.

On a lighter note, I’ve been winding down lately by watching some classic movies and been reading/watching film articles/reviews. A more productive way to waste time. I feel like I’m expanding my film education and teaching myself to look beyond the dimension of purely story and look at things like cinematography, music composition, framing, and so on. Though the story will always be the most important aspect, of course. I’m going to nip to the library then possibly watch A Clockwork Orange before bed. Not the lightest movie, but I need some more Kubrick in my portfolio.

I’m always changing my mind about the future, but another thought for after graduation was work for a year and save up money, maybe as an ALT in Japan, before doing another exchange and studying film for a year, possibly in Colorado. A bit ambitious, and just a thought, but that would be insanely fun.

I shall end this post by imitating Obama at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, though of course with far less charisma and far more cringey awkwardness. 

Bethan out.

*drops the mic*



(Told you.)


Thank you, Trey and Matt.

I didn’t think it possible to love South Park more than I already did, then Season 19 Episode 6 aired. I, as did all the other internet fangirls around the globe, lost my shit. It was 5.30am Thursday morning, UK time, and I’d woken up early to stream the episode, as I do every week, because I don’t live in the US and can’t watch the show on Comedy Central when it airs. (Every week I act like Cartman pacing in front of the Nintendo Wii displays in ‘Go God Go’, Season 10. ‘Come on… come ooooonnn…’) And now I’m sitting here, having watched the episode twice in a row, trying to contain my feels and figure out what the fuck to say. I don’t think I can ever move on from this. That was the best episode, ever.

As an ex-yaoi fangirl (okay, ‘ex’, who am I kidding), a speaker of Japanese, a fan of Asian culture (glad to see a little more Korean exposure this week! If they did a kpop-centered episode, ‘I would be sooo happy’…) and a South Park shipper myself (Kyman, thanks for asking), this episode was everything I could have ever wanted. I guess you could say I was one of South Park‘s targets this week, and I fucking loved it. The hashtag ‘#kinkshame’ popped up all over Tumblr.

I am so happy, and I don’t know who to talk to about it. All I can do is grin like an idiot, clutch my face and whisper, “Oh my God, OH, MY GOD.” I’m glad I got that out.

Where does South Park go from here?

I don’t know. But I know I will follow it always.

Day 227: Nikujaga; Japanese cooking 木曜日・2015年4月30日

I succeeded in making nikujaga today! It’s basically a meat and potato dish, kinda looks and smells like hot pot, but it’s a Japanese invention. I ended up using dashi stock, mirin and cooking sake for the first time in my stay in Japan, hence why I consider it the first real Japanese meal I’ve made. Taken from a Japanese cookbook, and everything.

It turned out really well, too. Mouth-wateringly so.

It’s a pity I didn’t start using that cookbook earlier. It’s “450 Fry-Pan Recipes”, so basically meals that only require one frying pan, sometimes with a lid (like today), and nothing more, which is perfect for a tiny student kitchen. But I only have 123 days left, so I’m not going to be able to make every single recipe. Besides, not all of them are strictly-speaking healthy, and that’s what I’m trying to be. Healthy. But it’s been a while since I ate as it’s getting late, and it’s hard not to fantasize about karaage chicken. Well, I have another Korean Chicken night coming up on the 9th, so I just need to  hold out until then, and then I can stuff my face.

Recipes in the cookbook include pan quiches,pan pizzas, tofu soup… all sort of delicious-looking things. I’d better stop thinking about food now.


Day 201: Korean chicken \(^0^)/ 土曜日・2015年4月4日

I like the number 4. So I was pleased today when I saw the date was 4/4. It’s actually an unlucky number in Japan as it sounds similar to ‘death’ in Japanese. I did have a kind of unlucky day, come to think of it. Well, half-lucky, half-unlucky, if you know what I mean. Like something unlucky would happen but I would just about get away with it and not have to suffer the horrific consequences. If only it could have been that way when I dropped my phone down the toilet at Christmas. Even the weather was conflicted – warm and sultry but the sun was covered by a thick layer of clouds.

Well firstly. I overslept, but I woke up with 15 minutes to get ready before my first client, so that’s the first strike for both rotten luck and good luck. My second bout of bad luck was by far the most destructive thing I’d done in a while. I was rushing around setting up my laptop for clients when I accidentally tripped over the charger cord and it ripped the connecting end out of the laptop socket. When I went to plug it back in I discovered that I’d yanked the connecting socket out of place, partially breaking my laptop, and I couldn’t plug the charger back in. Obviously, I panicked. My laptop was about 90% charged but I had two straight hours of Skyping ahead of me and the battery runs lower when transmitting a live feed. Not only that, but I was envisioning having to cancel 30 bookings that I’m due to undertake this week and instead of earning money I’d be losing money trying to repair my laptop.

I was panicking, moaning, “Oh no, oh no” in anguish for about a minute before I calmed down. I took my first lesson and then I had about five minutes before I had to take another one so I tried to forced the charging socket back in place. I didn’t quite manage it (the bottom half of my laptop is twisted slightly, possibly beyond repair) but I shifted it just enough to wrestle the charger back in. It’s wedged there; I don’t think it’ll be moving any time soon. But that was far, far too close. It took a while for my heart rate to return to normal.

And lastly, on my way to the bus stop I had the brilliant idea to open my bag above a grate. I heard something fall out, and I looked around, hoping it wasn’t my chapstick as I get incredibly dry lips and have to apply it several times a day, but it was in fact my ICOCA card, which was worse as I needed it for the bus. Luckily it hadn’t fallen through the grate. I took some photos of the beautiful sakura, which will most likely be fading soon, after today.

I’m worried about my finances. I seriously need to cut down on adventures. Yet I went on an expensive trip to eat Korean food in Osaka and I’m also going to Kyoto on Monday. Ugh. Having a job is better than no job but I feel like I’m spending money faster than I can earn it without even really trying. This has to be resolved somehow.
So yeah, anyway. We went to Koreatown near Namba (my first time – I had Korean exchange students over at my house when I was thirteen who cooked for us and I had a Korean octopus salad in York with my dad whilst checking out the university, but that’s as far as my Korean food experience goes). We had some delicious chicken, and also this spicy tofu soup that Rachel and I shared. She brought along a new friend who’s from Botswana; I’ll call her Sansa.
It was utterly delicious (if not horrendously spicy – I took one lick of the spicy fried chicken and felt like my mouth was on fire). I also had Korean rice whine, Makgeolli, though it’s not much better than Japanese sake. Blegh. Rachel and I discussed plans for Korea in June a little more.
I had to leave early as I’d accidentally left a slot open for a client at 9:30 but it was okay, I got home in time and took the lesson. And I’m exhausted. I have 7 students in a row from 10am tomorrow then a further 7 students in the evening from 6:30pm. Busy busy busy. So I’ll be off to bed.

Day 199: Spring Term Placement Test 木曜日・2015年4月2日

Today was apparently the last sunny day for a while, and I was stuck inside redoing the placement test. Luckily I managed to complete the test in two hours rather than three this time, as the internet seemed to be working a lot faster.

It gave me my immediate results at the end, and I see that my kanji is now among the highest possible marks in the advanced level for students in the M-Program, which pleases me. I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of kanji just from looking at the names of places in the station, looking at Japanese advertisements everywhere, and so on. I think I’m quite good at remembering kanji.

On the other hand, my grammar is, as I thought, completely terrible. I was still on a mid-intermediate level but grammar is definitely something I need to work on this semester. Time to hit the books. I didn’t have much of a clue of what to do in Japanese tutor sessions so it was mainly just free talk for two and half hours, and while I learned some good words and phrases, it never had much direction.

Now that I’m tutoring all kinds of different people, I see that some of them use textbooks, so maybe I can start bringing textbooks to my tutor sessions. Could do an hour of grammar, an hour of studying a news article, and half an hour of free conversation. And prepare blogposts and/or essays each week for them to check. I think that’s a much more productive idea. Why couldn’t I have thought of all this stuff closer to the beginning of the year? I feel like I’ve lost 26 weeks of practice now. Still, better late than never. Teaching English to people has really put my own learning into perspective.

I’m also going to be preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in July as it’s cheaper to take the test here than in England. But I can only take one test at a time. I was presumed N4 level by my teachers in my first year of university, and I think I’m easily N3 now, maybe even N2 if I pushed myself hard enough, but I think you can only take one level test at a time so I’m going to go for N3 while I’m here and then N2 in December when I return to England. I’ve signed up to the JLPT site but I’ve not applied yet. I have until the end of the month. I just want to do the practice tests online and see what kind of level I’m at before I apply. Maybe I’m closer to N2 than I think. Though I doubt it.

I tutored several kids today. One girl read me Dr. Seuss books (Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat), I presented an epic Harry Potter quiz consisting of 42 questions (6 questions per book) to the 8-year-old Potterhead (he got 40/42, amazing), and a new client was a 12-year-old boy who speaks really quickly and excitedly as he’s clearly very intelligent and has been learning English since he was born so he speaks it very naturally. We mainly talked about video games. He plays mainly Nintendo 3DS though, and I don’t have one. I play on my brother’s Xbox mostly. I heard my brother was going to buy an Xbox One with his own money though I don’t know if that plan has yet come to fruition.

I also tutored another little boy who is 7 years old, but he always gets frustrated about halfway through the lesson and loses interest. I don’t know if it’s because I rub him up the wrong way or if he just gets confused by the textbook tasks or if maybe he doesn’t want to study English. I can’t tell. I’ve had two lessons with him so far. To be fair, the textbook lessons are often not so clear. Even I have trouble identifying what they’re supposed to say/do.

Tomorrow is Day 200! Oh how time flies.

Day 196: Met my teacher from my UK university 月曜日・2015年3月30日

I woke up with a headache this morning. I think perhaps working for 11 hours (well, 6, but spread over an 11 hour period) is too much. I can’t understand how Japanese people can do so much overtime on a regular basis when I can’t even manage one day. I only had three Skype bookings today though, so it balances out. I feel I have to work hard on Sundays as I relax most of the week, maybe doing only a couple of bookings a day as weekdays aren’t so convenient when it comes to free time, but then everyone is free on Sunday so then I can accommodate them. If it gets to be too much I’ll cool it a bit.

My teacher from my UK university is here in Japan so Jay and I went to meet up with him at the monorail station and go to a nearby cafe for a chat. It was mainly informal, though we spoke in Japanese 95% of the time. It was nice seeing a familiar face. We spoke to him for about an hour and a half, which I would think is a short time to catch up with someone, but then again he has to catch up with students dotted all over the country, so it’s busy work.

I then went to go have Indian one final time with Singh before he leaves for Tsukuba in a few days. It was a smaller group this time, with just June and Andrea, two Polish girls. It was fun, though. They’re all very sweet people. June, Andrea and I now have a new inside joke: thunder and lightening. That’s all I’m going to say.

Aaaaand I’m tired. That’s enough.

Day 156: Cooking for the first time in like a month 水曜日・2015年2月18日

I only just finished Skyping about an hour ago, hence why this post is late. But despite not doing a lot today, I felt it was quite productive.

So, the things I gave up for Lent were “fatty” foods, unhealthy snacks, mayonnaise, and YouTube videos. I also decided to do 30 minutes of exercise a day.

I managed to avoid the fatty foods and unhealthy snacks, but I realized today when I was clearing out my fridge in preparation for Hokkaido that I still had a slice of white bread left, along with some salad, tomato, and ham, so I wanted to get rid of it, and I couldn’t have a dry sandwich, so I had to put mayonnaise on it in order to be able to eat it. So I unfortunately had to break one of my Lent resolutions on the first day. But after this, no mayonnaise. I’ll try and avoid making food that requires it, too. I like to put mayonnaise along with okonomiyaki sauce on top of takoyaki and okonomiyaki, so I’ll try not to make either of those for a while. It’s not like mayonnaise is the worst thing in the world to eat, but I only realized I was consuming so much when Rachel pointed it out to me one time at lunch. Almost everything on my plate was something with mayonnaise in it. Tuna salad, potato salad, root salad… all mayonnaise.

I DID manage to avoid YouTube surfing, as in staying on YouTube for hours of pointless surfing, but I didn’t avoid it altogether. When you click on Facebook articles, the articles usually include a YouTube video in it for demonstration purposes. But that’s okay. I don’t think it’s possible to entirely avoid ALL types of videos. The only thing I want to avoid doing is watching cat videos for hours when I’m trying to write an essay or something. I will watch TV shows, or films, but not surf through a stream of pointlessness, eating up my life. I survived a whole day without mindless surfing, and to my surprise, I don’t miss it much. I think it’s just a bad habit I’ve grown accustomed to. YouTube is killing my brain cells. Some time away will be good. Hopefully I will kick the habit completely by the time the 40 days are up.

As for exercise… eh, I did twenty minutes’ worth, not thirty. Not quite what I was after, but it’s better than a big fat zero.

But anyway, because I gave up YouTube, I managed to get a lot of written work/Hokkaido-related stuff done. Sorting out my itinerary, so on and so forth. It’s a very busy schedule. I regret so much not being able to go to the Sapporo Snow Festival. It looks fantastic. At SOME point in my life, I’ll make sure I can go.

I also got looking around for other part-time job opportunities. I applied to one job today which would be teaching English over Skype, coming up to 10 hours a week. Something like that would be ideal. No travel expenses, and it would be English conversation, which I have a lot of experience in helping Japanese students with. Instead of submitting a resume, I had to make a short, less-than-a-minute-long introduction video in slow, easy-to-understand English, and put it on YouTube, then link it in an email to the company. If they like it, they’ll give me an interview. They might not pick me though, as I speak English with a British accent, and most of the teachers on there speak American English. Japanese kids learn American English over British English. It’s the most widely-spoken English, after all. After all, 319million versus 64million… yeah, more American-English speakers in the world.

Still, I do need a job after all. Travelling around Japan is going to blow quite a hole in my finances, and yet I don’t just want to sit around doing nothing. I have six weeks off.

It’s been like a month since I last cooked properly. I’ve either been eating out in town, or picking up ready-meals at FamilyMart, or just heating up packets of rice and miso soup. But in order to use up the plethora of vegetables in my fridge, I made a delightful curry tonight. It contained lotus root (my favourite), broccoli, carrot, onion, radish (which I got for only ¥14 at the supermarket, amazing), mushroom, and tofu. Next time I might try adding potato and aubergine. The vegetables smelt so good frying in the pan and then boiling in the water before adding the curry blocks, that I could have just eaten them the way they were. But when I added the curry blocks, the smell turned even more delicious. I added two blocks, one block equating to one portion. Whenever I’ve made curry with Rachel, we’ve added too much water and the curry blocks take forever to dissolve and for the sauce to thicken, but today, it was much better, because I put only just enough water in to cover the veg. It took 7 minutes (rather than 30) for the sauce to thicken sufficiently.


Mmmm, it was delicious. Can’t wait for my second portion tomorrow. After that I’ll make spag bol and get rid of the rest of the carrots and mushrooms and so on.

In Hokkaido I hear there’s seafood ramen, which I can’t wait to try.

Anyway, night night!

Day 146: No more reports plz 日曜日・2015年2月8日

It’s my mother’s birthday today. I drew her an e-card. It’s been so long since I drew anything properly. My drawing has much suffered. Then again, I’m writing every day, and I don’t think my writing’s improved that much. Perhaps just my ability to retain certain information.

I just finished typing up a report due tomorrow; the time is 20:30pm. My aim had been to finish it by 3pm so that I could do another report, but somehow I failed. It was a Modern Japanese Literature essay about “Kokoro” by Natsume Soseki, and I couldn’t think of much else to say than I’d already said, so it turned out pretty badly in my opinion. I didn’t even get distracted by the internet like I usually would, I just sat and stared at it and picked at my split ends until I tied it up in a bun so that even my hair could not distract me.

I unfortunately still have one more report to do (though it’s okay to type it in English so it won’t take me quite so long), for Religion class. And Religion class was pretty terrible this entire semester, and the report topic incredibly vague and not specific at all, so if I do badly, then meh. I did very well in Linguistics and I’m pretty sure I did well in Politics. Those two were my best classes this semester so I’m happy enough.

I can’t wait to move on to next semester (after my much-deserved spring break, of course) so that I can take more language-based classes this time. Almost all my classes were culturally-based this term, which was good in order to reawaken my interest in Japanese culture and not bore me out of my mind with grammar and kanji, but the shortcoming of that was that I didn’t improve my language as much as I could have, and I really want to try and get more fluent. Though I was talking with Alice in Japanese for pretty much the whole of yesterday evening, and compared to how my speaking was at the beginning of the year, I know I’ve improved a lot. I can form sentences much faster and with more accuracy. But I’m still stumped by not knowing simple vocabulary. In French, if you don’t know a word you can make an educated guess or say an English word in a French accent and hope for the best, but in Japanese, if you don’t know a word, you’re gonna have a bad time. I still try and make educated guesses occasionally though, and it often works. I just mash appropriate-looking kanji together and sometimes it actually works. But more often than not, I’m stumped.

I thought of more possible career choices with which I could use Japanese. Even though I want to be a writer, Japanese is still a huge part of my degree, so I need to find things to help motivate me to keep speaking it, or I’ll go mad. So, possible career choice #14384438: interpreter. I know it’s not original, in fact, that’s what most people assume I want to be when they hear I’m doing a language, but actually I’d not really considered it properly before. But there’s going to be the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and I know The Hobbit had one of its world premieres in Tokyo. Tokyo also has the YouTube Creator Space. Japan is Asia’s representative country, as it’s the strongest economy in the continent, so for big events and openings, Japan is the place to go, making Japanese a more useful language than Chinese in certain respects. Wouldn’t that be awesome if I could go to movie premieres in Tokyo and translate for movie stars… the chance of that happening is like zero to none, but I can dream.

I’m so sick of writing, but I still need to type up this report, so smell ya later.

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!

Day 141: Trapped on a Japanese island 火曜日・2015年2月3日

You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to sleeping. I’m putting my foot down – no more all-nighters. This is the worst I’ve felt from lack of sleep… the worst in the last two weeks, anyway. It’s not even been 24 hours without sleep and I was broken by about 14 hours with no sleep, which doesn’t make sense as I don’t sleep 10 hours a night. I think it’s partially due to the psychological effects of waking up and basking in the darkness for 12 hours, then having to watch the sun come up while you’re watching crack YouTube videos and wondering how the hell you got there.

No more. I’m done. It must be that I’m too old for this. You turn 20, suddenly you can’t handle all nighters anymore. No-one should be able to handle them in the first place, to be honest. I am picturing my brain and it’s all frazzled and burnt up round the edges, where all the dead brain cells are, and the fat in my body refuses to burn and stays there as a defense mechanism to cushion my fall when I faint from exhaustion.

I know I’m a student so I can’t guarantee I’ll keep to this, but I don’t want to feel this way ever again. It’s occurred to me that I’ve written “I didn’t sleep at all last night” as an opener way too frequently on this blog. Enough is enough.

There wasn’t much interesting to report. There wasn’t enough time to do my presentation so I’ve been put on hold until next week. I was in my compulsory lesson for ten minutes to fill out a questionnaire and our advisor then said, “alright, that’s it. I’ll be in my office if you need me.”

I went to the M-Campus international office and finally picked up a present left for me by one of the middle schools I went to visit, and they all wrote me individual letters! It was very sweet. Though some of them were almost identical.There was probably a template for them to write, making it less personal. And I’ve noticed Aiko-san writing in a similar way in her emails, e.g. discussing the weather first, and then mentioning it again at the end, telling me to take care. Perhaps this is just Japanese politeness.

Speaking of schools, I went to a meeting held at S-Campus about a school visit I’ll be doing in March, which lasts three days. It’s going to be held at an “English-speaking camp” in Awaji-shima, which I believe we passed through for the field trip. We’ll be living on-campus, and there will be little to no Wifi, and we’ll be discussing natural disasters, almost exactly four years since the Tohoku earthquake, and to remember the Great Hanshin earthquake from twenty years ago, in particular. I will have to do my research, as I have never experienced such natural disasters. I slept through a 3.0 earthquake once, which I wouldn’t have known about had people not freaked the fuck out about it. England is nowhere near tectonic plates, so I guess people were like “OMG earthquake, HERE”. I think we get a lot of floods, though. That makes sense, it being a country where it’s always raining. I’ve not experienced anything awful like torrential floods that render people homeless, though I have been driven through the valley at the bottom of the hill where I live, and the water would get ankle deep.

Also, it’s said that an earthquake is probably due to happen in this area, around Kansai, very soon. So if you don’t hear from me once I’ve gone on the school visit, I’m probably dead. That, or the Wifi’s just going to be shitty.

I’m going to be rooming with a Canadian girl apparently. I hope she’s nice.

Anything else to say?

Oh yeah, well I downloaded a load of e-books onto my Kindle recently because I got a deal for some free books by Amazon, but I also had a gift certificate to use, so I used it to purchase the complete collection of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, all five volumes for £7.50 or something. So yeah, now I’m properly reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and hopefully the sequels like The Restaurant at the End of the Universe if I can be arsed. I have a very long reading list other than that. Shakespeare’s plays, old old classics like Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dante’s Inferno, so on and so forth. Which is why I have no time for A Song of Ice and Fire.

I’m now covered in peanut shells. That just sort of… happened.

Okay, goodnight. I’m aware it’s only 6:30pm. But I know from experience I take a while to actually get to sleep after I say goodnight on here.