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One more moon

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This past week I passed the one-month-left mark, leaving just a matter of weeks now before I make the big leap across the pond for the who-knows-how-manyth time.  There are still a few people who have asked me about this, but yes this is a move rather than a trip.  I’m moving back to the US semi-permanently.  I don’t say “semi-” because I have any specific plans to come back to live in Japan again anytime soon, but at the same time I don’t have any plans to stay in the US for the rest of my life.  In short, I don’t have any idea what I’ll be doing even a few years from now so let’s just play it by ear and continue feeling around in the dark like I have been for the past 2.658 decades.  Things haven’t turned out too badly so far.

If moving is a pain in the butt then moving overseas is a machine gun loaded with pain bullets into the butt.  I’ve already sent a few big boxes of stuff back home via sea mail, which is the slowest and cheapest option.  Cheapest in this situation means it still costs an arm and a leg, and I probably should have actually thought about if the value of the stuff I’m sending back is worth the shipping costs.  (The answer is probably no.)  And slowest means that even the first box I sent back last month will probably arrive around the time my first-born child hits junior high school.  But again there’s not much that can be done about that.  I’ll likely send another box or two back and really figure out what will fit in my two suitcases for the plane ride(s) back.  Most of my furniture and appliances are going to be either sold on craigslist or trashed, and even that isn’t as easy as you’d think because the Japanese trash service actually charges you extra to haul off anything somewhat big.  I have to go to the convenience store to buy a special sticker, then register online to have the big stuff taken away.  It’s not really expensive though – only 370 yen for most big items or 750 for really big stuff.

I took the JLPT at the beginning of the month, level N1.  Not especially because I studied for it, but just since it’s easier to take it here than in the US.  It would be nice to have passed it but I don’t have my hopes up.  That being said, I think I did better than the previous time and passing is probably less impossible than before.  Test results aren’t being sent out until like September, and I have to have my results forwarded back to St. Louis so I really won’t know until long after I’ve forgotten about it.  My last time to take JLPT in Japan was also the best because my test site was at Chiba University, the next train stop over.  This was so much better than having to take a 1-2 hour train ride to Abiko like last December.  The week after that I also took a test you’ve probably never heard of called J-Test, which sounds stupid until you call it by its full title of the Test of Practical Japanese (実用日本語検定).  Figured that would be something to bang out before I leave the country.  It’s actually supposed to cover a wider range of levels than JLPT, and it’s pretty much the same test for everyone unlike JLPT which is sorted by level.  You can take J-Test once and get a level grade, as opposed to having to pass a test that is for a specific level.  It’s also cheaper and is offered several times a year in a bunch of locations.  I took it at some place like 10 minutes from my apartment.  I’ll know my score like right before I leave.  I don’t think I did as well as I should have, but again oh well.

I’m not really going to be having a going away party, but there will be two last Y’s parties before I leave.  Everyone should have already gotten the info.  We’ll be checking out “Bizzaro Y’s” in Shinjuku at the end of the month when NR7000 comes to visit.  Yes, there is another Y’s.  I’ve known about this place for some time and actually checked it from the outside back in 2006, but we’ve never actually set foot in it.  I’m picturing the manager there to be a Bizzaro Matsushita.  Maybe he’ll look the same but with a handlebar mustache.  Or maybe he’ll be Puerto Rican.  It will be even stranger if we run into the Bizzaro A-Team there.  You know they exist.  The following week we’ll be going back to the classic Y’s since I can’t leave without saying goodbye there.

Bob Loblaw


I don’t have anything especially in mind to write, but I figured I should write something before this blog becomes super stale and dead like so many of my friends’ blogs have *coughNR70000cough*.  Ha.

Golden Week came and went here in Japan, the week-long national spring break that seems to exist only to give airlines and other travel-related business an excuse to hike up rates times one billion since the majority of the country has vacation during the exact same few days.  I really don’t understand why they don’t get rid of Golden Week and just allow people to actually take off.  Then again, based on my limited experience, even with an extra 5 or 6 vacation days a lot of people here just wouldn’t use them.  Why not?  You have vacation days, right?  Oh, but it would be such a hassle to everyone else. Ugh.  Is it sad that GW might be a necessity here to actually get people to take a vacation?  Of course please also note that many “hard working Japanese office workers” spend half their day in pointless meetings, stamping forms, chain smoking, and writing e-mails with super polite language that makes simple communication a chore.  And then they wonder why they have to work overtime!

I was planning on taking a few days during GW off myself, but things didn’t work out as planned when the Wednesday before I got hit with some kind of nasty flu or something that knocked me out for a good 4 days almost.  I’ve had colds before but this was something much worse.  Headache, congestion, fever, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, all that fun stuff.  Usually I’d welcome the chance to lay in bed all day watching TV but I couldn’t even enjoy it this time around.  It was pretty bad.  But I recovered.  Just in time for Golden Week to be over, too!

I don’t really watch Japanese TV anymore, save for a few shows that I just download anyway.  American TV has been pretty good recently, and I’m looking forward to some awesome season (and series) finales coming in the next few weeks.  Not looking forward to the summer drought of new episodes, but that’s to be expected.  Lost has gotten pretty disappointing and I’m honestly just hoping to get it over with.  Maybe they’ll surprise us with something awesome in the end?  House has been fairly good all season although I miss the better season-long story arcs they had in past seasons.  The Office and Family Guy are just kind of there, although still good.  Fringe probably has my vote for best show at the moment, especially with the season finale coming up that should tie a lot of stuff together and really drive home the long-term arc they’ve been working on for the past two seasons.

Let’s see, what else is there?  Work is still work, for better or worse.  I’m hoping something pops in the next few weeks/month or two.  Either way right now I’m looking at moving back to the US (for reals this time) sometime in the fall.  St. Louis here I come!  It’s hard to think about packing up everything here in Japan and moving back to the other side of the planet.  It’s been a great time, but I think that four years is a lot longer than I had originally planned to stay here.  Yeah I just realized that come September it will have been four years.  Yikes.  I have no regrets about moving to Japan after graduation, but I think it’s time to start planning for the future.  That will be much easier in the US.

Next stop: Tokyo

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I’m back in St. Louis now, after an exciting 2 days of a process I’d like to call “Tetris with Anthony’s stuff,” where I had to manipulate the placement of my furniture and personal belongings first into my parents van and then into my car, so that everything will fit without having to throw it away. I did fairly well, in the end only having to throw away my kitchen trashcan, giving away some toys and stuff, and selling my bed, a magazine rack, and a table that you can hide secrets in. The process overall was not too bad, although I just slept about 12 hours to try and compensate for the lack of sleep and rest that I had over the moving process. I drove back to St. Louis yesterday, leaving Bloomington forever (kind of), and had a fine drive until just before the Illinois-Missouri border, when I drove directly into a HUGE storm system, complete with lightning strikes every few seconds, torrential rains, and wind so strong I could feel my loaded car swaying to the right. But I lived.

I’ll write some more over the next few days, perhaps as I’m waiting in airports or sitting on an airplane next to an old man or fat woman. It’s always one of those, and they always want to talk to you. I’m sorry, but unless you happen to be a movie star or a really hot chick, I probably don’t want to talk to a complete stranger. Especially if this is for a 12 hour flight to Tokyo. I’ve remedied this over the years, mainly by sleeping for the entire flight, which I seem to be able to do when no one else can. My other trick, if I don’t fall asleep immediately upon sitting in my airplane seat near the window, is to make myself look as angry, big, and dirty as possible. How do I do this, exactly? It’s hard to describe, but you wear a big jacket, puff our your chest and shoulders, have your bag open and looking like you’re a pain in the butt, and you have an angry look on your face. Hopefully, if there is enough free seating on the plane, this will cause people to not want to sit next to you, because who wants to sit next to a disgruntled guy who looks like he’ll be a pain in the butt to sit next to? But I digress.

After wasting pretty much my entire morning sleeping, eating lunch, and watching News Radio with my brother, I figure I’m going to go to the store and get supplies for the trip. I need to buy a few more dress shirts, and some random stuff at Target, then I should be ready to go for tomorrow. That is, of course, except for packing, which I will most likely not start until around 3AM, since I have to leave my house around 4:30 or 5AM to make it to the airport and leave on my 7:40AM flight. Believe it or not, I’ll be happy once I get to the airplane, because I’ll be able to rest and relax for a good few hours, before landing in Tokyo, partying with the JET kids who are there for 1 night overlap with me, then having to knuckle down and figure out this whole baby bottle thing. I have a feeling this 2 week trip to Tokyo will be busier than I thought.

Holding down the B button

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I don’t know exactly how to describe my current state of being, although it could be likened to the end of a Mario level where the music starts speeding up, yet you’re only at the beginning of the stage because you accidentally got up to use the can and forgot to press pause. It’s a feeling of realizing time is quickly running out, you still have a lot to do, and while you’re pretty sure you’ll get to the flagpole, you wish you had more time on the clock to enjoy the level. That sounds about right. I realized this past weekend that I now have less than 2 weeks in Bloomington. It’s not like before where I have to go back to St. Louis for a weekend, only to return to my apartment to lay on the futon and watch TV for hours on end. I literally have less than 2 weeks to have all my stuff packed into boxes ready to be hauled off. Then after that, I have less than 48 hours to pack up my stuff to head to Tokyo for 2 weeks of hanging out in the baby aisles of Japanese department stores. I’ll be honest, I don’t really want to leave Bloomington, at least not just yet.

But I must!

It feels kind of strange to be getting ready to leave Bloomington, because I’ve been here for roughly 4 years and have gotten used to living here. I’ve gotten comfortable to things here. College was a good few years; I feel like I got a good deal accomplished while finishing up my schoolwork, and also met a ton of people along the way. A small percentage of these people that are friends, I’ll be in touch with probably until I’m old and grey, but aside from that there are a lot of people I’ll never talk to ever again. But that’s like anytime you move on from something. I guess the closest I’ve ever had to this was leaving high school life behind to come to college, and then on a smaller scale, leaving Japan after living there for a semester at IES. It’s not like I’m feeling all sappy or anything stupid like that, because I’m really not, but it’s definitely weird to be moving on to the next stage of life. Working a real full-time job, leaving the country for a while to work said job and whatever other jobs I end up working along the way, things are going to be different from here on out. I think you all understand, and I hope so, because I don’t know how else to describe it.

I have about a week and a half to pack up all my stuff, get ready to go to Japan for two weeks, wrap up my work at IUSTV, work on baby bottle research, and say goodbye to the people around Bloomington. I also feel like there are things around Bloomington that I should do just to say I did it, within the 4 years of being here, like going to the Upland Brewery, Oliver Winery, and maybe even going up to Indy for something other than the airport. There’s a chance I’ll come back to visit sometime in August, but that’s not for sure and even then it will just be a visit and not really a return to business as usual. From August 14-September 7 I’ll be packing and taking care of stuff back home, then off to Japan for probably more than a year. I need to get out of my recent summer routine of being really lazy and relaxed everyday, because there really is a decent amount to do. I’ll have some more deep thoughts like these as the next few weeks unfold.

Back in B-town

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Moved back to Bloomington yesterday, with the help of my parents and their Honda mini-van. I had that thing and my car both packed. I brought a lot of stuff. Anyways, the apartment (at Woodbridge) is a lot different from what I expected, pretty much all for the best. It’s further north as opposed to right near Marsh (and the train tracks) like I was thinking. No problem there. It’s a lot bigger than I expected. At least it seems like it. Especially after coming from Japan (see my comment from the mall about how stores in America seem huge); I seriously think that my apartment would be about 10 times as big as my dorm room from Japan. Around 700 sq ft total, if you people actually know about how big that is. I sure don’t.

I’m still working on unpacking and setting stuff up. Although when packed into 2 cars, it seemed like I have a huge amount of stuff, when moved into a big apartment it becomes pretty apparent that I’m a big lacking, especially in the furniture department. To remedy this, I got a (double) bed from some guy who was selling it on the OneStart classifieds. Next step is a futon, which I’m getting via the same methods. Hopefully I can get that this weekend and have my living room set up ready to go, at least for the most part. Now I just need some more bookshelves or something.

Things in Bloomington are good. It’s really nice to see people, especially ones that I haven’t seen since last May. I mentioned to my dad on the ride here that it doesn’t seem like I’ve been away for 5 months. I think everything’s starting to blend around in my head. Time’s losing its definition and clarity for me. OK that sounds really weird, I think I’m just retarded.

I’ve gotten e-mails from Sayoko and Mii. I haven’t replied yet, mainly because I’m too lazy to read a long e-mail in Japanese, then even lazier to try and reply in Japanese. I’ll get around to it soon, just because well, I’ve got to. I guess it’s going to be good practice for me to keep my Japanese up. I’m not studying it anymore at school, and if I want to keep this language up I’d better use it some more. I’m still playing around with the idea of heading back this summer, for an internship or something. If I can find some company that will pay for my airfare or housing (or both), then I’m game. Actually, before I left, Shin-san at IES told me about this World’s Fair-type thing they’re having in Aichi-ken this spring/summer. And Nick did some research tonight, and apparently they do indeed pay both airfare and housing. This might be my summer plans right there…

OK time to try and set up some more stuff. My apartment still looks boring and naked. Time for me to ruin it with posters and thumbtacks. Time to make it “Anthony’s new apartment.” Hoo-hah.

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