Leaving When Possible

Time has passed so quickly even though I don’t do much. It’s been a year since I’ve written here and even longer since I’ve written about what’s happening in my life.

I’m definitely leaving Japan. I’m just not sure how or when. I have a vague idea of what I want to do now. I want to make things with people. Specifically I want to work on movies or plays. I want to know others who enjoy creating and aren’t afraid to try things. I just need to figure out what my first step should be.

Last I wrote about my life, I had just started a new round of Japanese lessons. I did that for three months, took the JLPT N2 for the third time, and failed by one measly point. Around the same time, I stopped teaching English and started working in the kitchen of a yakiniku restaurant, which was one of the most stressful and demanding jobs I’ve ever had but also fairly rewarding. Every time I went into work, I had to use Japanese. Only Japanese. And I did it and kicked ass, toward the end of it at least. I did it for a year before quitting last month because I wasn’t making as much money as I needed to. I’ve gone back to teaching English, and as much as I don’t like it, I’m feeling better about it now because I’m sure it’s temporary.

I’m leaving Japan.

Also since I last wrote, my husband and I visited my hometown of Los Angeles for a week last August. It had been the first time in over two years that I’d been out of Japan. The whole week I was overwhelmed with how easy it was to live in a first language. I’d forgotten how easy it was. Or maybe I didn’t know it before because I always took it for granted. Even when I spent a year in Nagoya as an international student, I was still able to rely on my first language. My classes were in English, my classmates spoke English, my advisers spoke English. It wasn’t until I moved to Tochigi three years ago that I really felt how frustrating and completely isolating it is to live in a second language.

I realized that my goals and dreams are hard enough of my native language. So why would I waste effort and energy trying to do them in a second language? Especially in a country that doesn’t want me, that I have no reason to be in.

I thought about what has led me here, how I could be so unhappy in the choices I made. I thought about what teenage me had wanted for her future. I thought about the praise my high school teachers and writing instructors gave me. What would they think if they knew I was sat here, unhappy and doing nothing with the talent and ambition they had seen?

I’ve decided this has just been one long detour. It’s time to start carving out a way back to the path I wanted to take originally.


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Bout of Books Read-a-thon Wrap-Up

My Goals

  • Finish at least two books – PASSED (Day 2)
  • Finish at least four books (added on Day 2) – FAILED (Finished 3.28 books)
  • Balance reading and studying well – PASSED

Books Read:

Out of My Mind   Losing It   Just One Day  

(click for details)

Pages Read:

1084 pages (999 pages when only including books completed)

Bout of Books 10 was pretty successful for me! I completed my original two goals but not the goal I added on Day 2. Three full books is by far the most I have ever read in one week, and until this readathon I had never read an entire book in one day, let alone two books in two days.

How did the rest of you do? Did you enjoy the week of reading?


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(Bout of Books – DAY 5, 6 & 7)

Updates for Friday, Saturday, Sunday


Number of books I’ve read these days: 0.75
Total number of books I’ve read: 3.25
Books: Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


These past three days were so unexpectedly busy that I felt like I barely had time to breathe. It looks like I completely forgot to post about Day 5. And then Day 6 I had no time to read at all, as expected. So this should be my Day 7 update, but here’s all three days at once.

On Friday I finished Just One Day by Gayle Forman and started Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Between Friday and Sunday, I was able to get about 28% of the latter done, but that’s where the readathon ends.

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低下か… (Bout of Books – DAY 4)

Updates for Thursday


Number of books I’ve read today: 0
Total number of books I’ve read: 2.5
Books: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


My reading rate just keeps getting lower! Today I read an additional 31% of Just One Day by Gayle Forman, which means I finished the day with about 81% of the book done.

I will definitely be able to finish it on Day 5, but the question is whether I’ll be able to finish a fourth book to reach my revised goal by the end of the readathon. Tomorrow I won’t be able to read at all, which only leaves today and a very busy Sunday. But I’ll do my best! I WANT to be reading, after all. 🙂

How are you all doing with your reading? Have you found your stride or reached a slump?

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Bad Day, Still Reading (Bout of Books – DAY 3)

Updates for Wednesday


Number of books I’ve read today: 0.5
Total number of books I’ve read: 2.5
Books: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


As expected, I couldn’t keep up my one-book-per-day pace. I continued with Just One Day by Gayle Forman and got a little over 50% finished. With some luck, maybe tomorrow I’ll reach 100% and start a new book.

Today was not a good day, and unfortunately trying to lose myself in reading didn’t work. I will try to make tomorrow better.

Four days and 1.5 books left!


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Met My Goal Already?! (Bout of Books – DAY 2)

Updates for Tuesday


Number of books I’ve read today: 1
Total number of books I’ve read: 2 (goal #1 completed!)
Books: Losing It by Cora Carmack


Again my day didn’t give me much time to read, but I still managed to finish another book! (Well, 75% of a book since I had already read 25% of it yesterday.) That means I’ve already reached my goal of reading two books during Bout of Books!! But of course I’m not going to stop here, so I’ve updated my goals page.

Tomorrow is my busiest day this week, so I doubt I will be able to read very much, but it’s also my birthday, so I’ll probably be retreating into a book as often as possible to keep from getting sad.

I’ll be spending the rest of the night studying. I’m not sure what to read next. I started Just One Day by Gayle Forman, but reading another YA-romance-slash-coming-of-age story right now made my head hurt.

Thanks to everyone who has left me well-wishes through here, Twitter, and YouTube! ❤ I’m sorry I’m not able to reply to them all individually. Good luck and happy reading!

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Success! (Bout of Books 10 – Day 1)

Updates for Monday


Number of books I’ve read today: 1.25
Total number of books I’ve read: 1.25
Books: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper, Losing It by Cora Carmack


The first day of Bout of Books was surprisingly successful, especially considering I only had the afternoon to do some reading. I’ve already finished one book!

Today I finished Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. I hadn’t realized when my husband’s coworker lent it to me that it would be a book for children, so I was able to finish all 295 pages in one sitting.

I then moved on to Losing It by Cora Carmack, which, honestly, reads like a bad fan fiction of no fandom in particular, and I’m not sure if I want to continue. However, I’m already a fourth of the way done after little effort, so I might stick it out.

If the rest of the days are like today, it looks like mornings and evenings will be for studying and afternoons for reading.

It’s time now to go to bed and start Day 2. How are the rest of you guys doing? Keep an eye out for Day 2’s update!

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Bout of Books 10: Goals

Yesterday I made a post announcing my participation in Bout of Books. Today is the first day! So here are my goals for this week.

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be using my free time for reading as much as possible. I don’t want to lose sleep or skip meals, just read whenever I can. On Saturday I won’t be reading at all because I’ll be at Tokyo Disney!

My Goals

  • Finish at least two books (completed on Day 2)
  • Finish at least four books (added Day 2)
  • Balance reading and studying well

Books to Read

There’s a big disconnect between the books I have and the books I want to read because nearly all the books I have have more of a wintry feel to them, and I’m very in the mood for summer books. So.

Books available to me:

  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
    (This is a book I’ve been lent and want to finish as quickly as possible.)
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

Books I want to read and might give in and buy:

  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Starting tomorrow I’ll be posting daily updates on what I’ve read!


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Reading like a madman mad about books (Bout of Books 10)

Remember how nervous I was about Japanese classes? Well, of course, it turned out fine. I’m one month into class, it’s the right level for me, and I don’t feel like a complete idiot.

But enough of that.

I just wanted to let you all know I’ll be using my blog to make updates about a week-long read-a-thon I’ll be participating in next week called Bout of Books. I just made a video saying I wasn’t going to be participating, but I can’t stay away!

So, what is Bout of Books? Well…

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I will post more specific goals for the read-a-thon soon, and I’ll also be using my Twitter (and YouTube?) account to make updates during the week. I hope some of you will join me in upping your reading output!



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Minimalist Schedule: Cutting life down to studying, working, and reading

Today I start taking Japanese classes for the first time in about three years. I’m really nervous about it. Let’s go to the list.

Why I’m Nervous about Japanese Classes

  • Meeting new people
  • Starting something new/unfamiliar
  • Losing half my days to class
  • Might not understand the teacher
  • Might not understand my classmates, who are at my level but speak Japanese with very thick accents
  • Might not be able to keep up with the work
  • Level might be too hard
  • Level might be too easy
  • Might turn out to be a waste of money

You can see how my brain works, focusing on a lot of “mights.” I know things will work out in the end, but I still worry.

The classes will be four hours every weekday for the next three months with only two days off for Golden Week in May. And as much as I don’t enjoy teaching, I’ve just asked my company to send more hours my way. Things are getting busy.

I was investing a lot of time into the possibility of a new job, something that I might actually enjoy, but I’ve decided to give up on it or at least put it away for now. I have a nice job available to me already, which is why I asked for more hours. I don’t like it, but I should be an adult about it, just stuck it up and earn a paycheck. I really need the paycheck.

I’ve also decided to put away writing for the next three months. Until the class is over, I want to cut out everything besides Japanese, working, reading, and hopefully uploading the occasional YouTube video. I need to pass the JLPT in July, and I need to save up money for a trip to Los Angeles in August. Reading and YouTube are just to keep me sane.

I’m going to keep my head down and work. There will be time to rest later.

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