Monday, 10 August 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Rainy season is supposed to be over, and yet we have had a rather incredible spell of rain that saw the river rise immensely and the local trains brought to a halt. There was a lot of lightning last night and yesterday the river was simply amazing (and very brown) to look at, with the choppy water flowing rapidly between its very wide banks.

Today, sun showers have kicked in, although the clouds may very well extricate themselves of their last vestige of super-soaker solution tonight on a slightly grander scale. Then again, considering how much precipitation has actually fallen, we may have seen the last of it for a good while yet.

Now the real heat begins.

Let's take a step back though, shall we? Although Mika and I have yet to move into our very own house -- we are still split between our two respective places -- our living arrangement hasn't been all bad. Sure, we are still paying rent for two houses, one of which is seldom visited (mine), but things haven't quite been worked out yet regarding our shift. And so we shuffle back and forth on occasion, trying to live a normal married life.

It's not always easy at first; especially with all of the changes that take place. Our intentions are good, though, and we do have goals in sight. One step at a time will see me get my PS3 slim us happily settled and ready to focus on building a life as a family and getting involved with whatever pastimes and activities we can spare the time to pursue.

The Friday before last (we need a word for this, much like oxt is used for the week(end) after this one -- maybe axt?)... So, axt Friday, I spent the day in the office. Yes, this is August. This is my summer routine.

Well, as with every August office day, it passed without much ado. Just your usual Facebook and Google Reader activity. I installed Windows 7 on my laptop that night. How this relates to ninjas is beyond me, but I'm talking about it anyway. After all, if ninjas knew where I lived, do you think I could continue to write so freely?

Ah, so, I spent a long time that evening fiddling with my display settings, but finally managed to get everything working fine. And no ninja attacks, either. Whew!

It also turns out that we are not tutoring Mei-chan this month, which is yet another relief as we try and get to the point where we can settle into our new life. Because until we have shifted into our new place, things just won't be settled.

Axt Saturday, we went to Tosa-shi to do some shopping. We had left Eddi with her grandparents. We followed Tosa up with a visit to Mika's brother's new house. It's-a very nai-su. :o

After a MacDonald's lunch, we looked around the lovely house and even set up their flash new dining table. We took Aki off Mai's hands and went to get an oil change. Worst oil change ever, as it took around two hours. Why?! Well, at least we went to Mr. Donut...

That night, we dropped Aki off at her grandparents' to stay over with Eddi. Yay for an evening to ourselves. ;)

After church the next day, we paid off some of our outstanding wedding expenses. We ate with Mika's parents that night: yakiniku! For some reason, the girls stayed over for a second night. Lucky!

Last week's Monday through Wednesday isn't really worth mentioning. We had Tuesday night to ourselves again and so watched a movie at my place. A/C is very nice to have, too.

On Thursday, I took nenkyuu. We had planned to go to Nakamura but in the morning I cut my finger quite seriously, having to get stitches, and so we spent most of the morning at home.

We did, however, manage to get out to K-town, which was good. We paid the last of our wedding expenses and did some good old-fashioned grocery shopping. Also, the Board of Education in K-town gave us two wedding gifts! How nice of them.

The custom here in Japan is that you return more than just a thank you card to those that gave you a wedding gift (although money is very common to give / receive too -- we actually received quit a large sum altogether). It is customary to go to the effort of using some of the money that you recived to buy gifts and give them in return. It seems like a strange thing to do -- after all, I instinctually want to use all of the money that we received to help us set up our new life together.

But that isn't how things work here. I now see that it is actually very nice to buy gifts for everyone -- although the effort that you have to go to is just as tiring as most other such things around here. Because honouring custom is more important than how you might feel about something. And because everyone does the same thing, you can actually expect things to happen in a certain way, which I guess gives people extra security. Because knowledge is power? Something like that, anyway. ;)

The weekend came and went. I met Mika's uncle and aunt on Saturday night. They recently travelled to China, and showed us pictures of the Great Wall and other places that they went.

My Japanese has not progressed in the last few months. I just need to find the motivation to delve back into my textbook or to pick up some kanji cards and go over (and over and over) the vocabulary. Without the drive to actually do something I sit in a perpetual zone of language frustration. Until something pushes me into a mode of actually wanting to learn rather than grinding my teeth at not being able to express myself or understand anything that is vocalised around me, I will continue to simmer in this hiatus.

I reflect on this part of my Japanese life from time to time. But reflection is not enough to download understanding into my brain. Learning a language is a very slow process and one that takes dedication and opportunity. It's enforcing that dedication and grasping those opportunities that results in progression.

It is actually my hope that once we have settled our lives somewhat and we are back into the swing of things -- when school starts up and lesson preparation is obligatory rather than a sidelined event -- I will find those opportunities to practise and break out those materials again.

Something akin to Japanese Wednesdays would be a good starter, as would consistently shoving vocabulary into my head and then using it at random times. Perhaps it is the summer heat. Perhaps it is the lax office attitude. Or perhaps I am still whirling somewhat from the stresses involved with all of our wedding planning and implementation.

Whatever the case, the day will come where I get focused and get serious about language learning again. I do have all my life to learn my wife's language; but why take an entire lifetime to learn something when you could spend that time enjoying the benefits of knowing and using it?

We shall see when August comes to a close. Here's hoping that we will move, settle and get into a good weekly routine that benefits not just us as a family but our own individual lives and the lives of others around us.



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