I’ve been struck by a sudden bout of homesickness. Or maybe it’s just depression in general. All I know is that I want to curl up in one corner and either drink myself drunk or well, do nothing and wait for it to pass. It doesn’t help that it’s raining today and that I have no classes to occupy myself with.
You’d think that I’ve travelled enough to be used to this kind of thing, but I think this case is more of a double whammy. Once in a while the blues will hit you, except that I’m usually back at home in Singapore when it happens so it’s not that bad. Now I’m in a foreign country with few friends and even fewer comforts. Okay at least I have purin here.
I remember that the last time I felt homesick was when I was in Kyoto for exchange. It was worse back then I think, back when my hormones where probably severely inbalanced. It hit me hard and fast and before I knew it I was just overwhelmed with a thousand different emotions. It went away as quickly as it came, so I’m hoping the same thing will happen this time.
That aside, I’m proud to say that I’m not regretting the fact that I came to Waseda to study Japanese. I’m finally studying what I want to study. Many people might think that it’s a waste of time and money, but I think that I’m finally taking a small step in the direction of what I want my life to be like in the future.
I’ve been averaging around 4 hours of sleep per night since Monday, and somehow this feels like one of the longest weeks I’ve ever experienced. Quite a few things happened this past week.
Firstly, fefe actually approached me on her own! Okay fefe is actually one of the cats which I catsitted on sunday and she’s usually very shy with strangers. She will hiss if you go near and will usually just hide straight underneath the coffee table if she doesn’t know you. But on sunday when I was about to leave she came up to me out of her own accord and sniffed me! One of my prouder moments in this job heh. And Belle (another cat) kept looking at me with her ginormous dilated pupils and I just melted there and then. This is why I love being a cat-sitter (:
Secondly, well I wouldn’t really call this a good thing per se, but I’ve finally met someone with the same name as me! I guess my name is definitely more unique than most other names out there, but it’s not one of it’s kind. The funny thing is that in Singapore, my name can belong to both a guy or a girl. And it’s really weird hearing your name being called when it’s someone else they want.
Thirdly, and I am still mindblown about this, is that I found out that my classmate is my neighbour in woodlands! He actually stays in the same block as me and I’ve never noticed till a few days ago. I guess this just goes to show how limited interaction is among neighbours and I. It’s kinda sad.
Japan trip planning has been proceeding along very nicely. I just need to settle accomodation for the Kansai area and arrange to meet up with people. I really can’t wait to go back to Japan! Just breathing Japan air would be enough. And I FINALLY GET TO GO TO FUJIQ wheeeeee~~~ I will ride all the rollercoasters there :3 I mean just look at this! Doesn’t it look soooooo exciting!!! めっちゃめっちゃ期待するわー！
Everywhere you go, everyone you meet, everything you encounter, changes you somehow. Picking up Japanese, having Japanese friends, living in Japan for half a year has changed me. Once you learn so much about a certain culture, there’s this social obligation to conform to it. I guess here are some of the aspects that I feel that I’ve changed in.
1. I think and speak to myself in Japanese.
Someone once told me that for learning new languages, the turning point is when you start to think in that language and not think in your native language before translating and saying it out loud. And I think this is very true. Thinking in Japanese has helped me to get more practice too. And well, since I already talk to myself in English talking to myself in Japanese will only help to improve my pronounciation :3
2. I find myself thinking of whether I’ll cause unnecessary trouble to people.
Japanese people often act in a way so as not to “人に迷惑がかからない”, which means not to cause trouble to others. For example they don’t talk on the phones in trains to keep the peace and quiet, and they often answer with ambiguity so as to allow the other person to save face. Like saying that you’re sick or very busy when someone asks you out instead of rejecting them outright. So whenever I want to make a request to someone, I’ll always tell them that it’s okay if they’re too busy or they don’t want to do it, or that if I’m a nuisance they’re free to ignore me. Because I genuinely don’t want to cause trouble for them.
3. I have become more skeptical of people when they invite me to events or to join them.
In Japan, people have 本音(honne) and 建前(tatemae), which is your real feelings and your mask respectively. Tatemae is like inviting someone to visit you but they are only saying this because of a social obligation, and in reality they do not want you to pay them a visit at all. It’s very confusing in Japan because it’s really difficult to tell honne from tatemae, so most of the time you’re unsure if the person is really inviting you over or is just saying it for show. In Singapore this doesn’t really happen as much, but I’m still cautious.
4. I am guilty of 90% of the following. Except for チンチン欲しいな.
I’ll be leaving Kyoto soon to go back to Singapore. I don’t really want to leave, but I miss Singapore as well. This SEP has been an amazing experience for me.My Japanese has improved tremendously, but I’m still probably at survival Japanese. Am going to continue learning it when I get back, and try very hard so that I don’t forget it! I’ve even learnt a little Kansai ben as well.
And just 10 days before I am going to leave my dormitory I discover that the glass windows just downstairs were perfect for practicing dance. What a wasted opportunity, but am planning to go every night to practice a little. Just started learning Miss A’s Goodbye baby dance today! Probably because I’ve just finished watching Dream High and I’m falling a little more for Suzy. She became my favourite Miss A member when I first saw her in Good girl, bad girl. She’s just so pretty and tall at such a young age! And her character Hye Mi was really adorable as well. Hopefully I’ll finish learning the dance (and SNSD’s The Boys) before I leave so I can finally record myself doing it! Been wanting to do that since forever but I’ve never gotten around to it.
I feel myself slowly being sucked into the world of kpop again. Am thinking of taking both Korean and Japanese language classes when I get back, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be too much to handle. It’ll probably be 14 hours of language classes a week! I guess I’ll look at the other modules I’ll be taking first.