25. Homesick?

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.

23. Hell week

Week 12 in NUS is usually called Hell Week because it’s during this week where all your modules have assignment or essay deadlines, presentations, examinations and other CA components which consist of a large percentage of your final grade. In my case, I also had Dance Uncensored 2013 tech runs, full dress rehearsals and the actual show during this week as well. Which wasn’t that unmanageable considering that I’m taking only 3 modules this semester (though the workload is about the same as 5. Never ever take 2 Japanese modules in the same semester if you want to survive, especially not with Japanese 6 under Chiba Sensei as one of them).

So everything was fine and dandy until my unfortunate accident on stage during Wednesday’s performance. It was halfway through the performance after the first song and during the blackout, when my mouth collided into someone else’s head with enough force to cut my upper lip quite badly. Tiny bit of flesh was hanging out and was bleeding into my own mouth for a while. >_< Thankfully after my item I had a nursing friend help me nurse the wound (they didn't even have a first aid kid on hand backstage wtf), so it's healing nicely right now. I just hope it won't scar that badly. /:

Obviously I panicked, because I had my Japanese oral AND a presentation on Thursday before the last DU show, and I wasn't sure at that point in time whether I could speak properly or not. I couldn't really enunciate properly because I couldn't close my lips together as that meant the wound would come into contact with my lower lips. And I have to be honest, but I was thinking of using my wound as an excuse to not do oral because I was quite nervous about it.

In the end, I'm happy to say that I did both my oral and my presentation. My enunciation was a bit strange, but I'm glad that I didn't run away from my responsibilites. Oral turned out to be quite fun, Chiba sensei even said that we were 一番楽しそうなグループ (the group which looked like we were enjoying ourselves the most). My oral group members were really nice! We practiced quite a bit before and decided to help each other out for the discussion and debate. As for the presentation, we had distingushed guests from Kikkoman, CLAIR Singapore and Mitsubishi Shoji so I was nervous and embarrased for presenting in front of them when I wasn't in my top form, but I am glad that I made the last minute decision to do so. Am really grateful for all my group members who were willing to cover for me too, just in case.

After both, I went back to perform for DU. It really was my last chance in NUS to dance and I couldn't just let it go. Most of the people I knew already came to watch me on Wednesday, but for me the reason is simple, I have always danced because I wanted to dance, not because I want others to watch me dance. Getting people to watch me is just a bonus. To me, there is no meaning if you dance for other people but you don't feel anything for dance itself. If that's the case, it will turn into a meaningless form of entertainment. This doesn't mean that I'm not grateful to those who have supported my all these years for my dance performances; I truly am. But it is because I dance to express myself, I dance because I like moving to the music, I dance because I love to dance, that I am proud that my family and friends can come to watch me do something I love. And that is when I dance for them as well.

But dance never needs to be complicated. People should stop thinking too much, and just dance.

And so hell week is over. It wasn't that bad this time. One more final week to go, before it really is goodbye.

20. This week.

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!

15. How Japanese culture has changed me

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.

14. Nothing really makes me happy anymore

I’ve been trapped in a miserable abyss for the past few weeks. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Nothing seems to be going right. I absent-mindedly leave things behind, and the count for the last 10 days stands at 3: My passport, my wallet and my matriculation card. Luckily both my passport and wallet have been recovered, but I still feel just as miserable. It’s as if my brain isn’t functioning normally.

I don’t really know how to explain what I’m feeling right now, but being stuck in this perpectual state only reinforces it. It’s a combination of frustration, resignation and apathy. It’s kind of neither here nor there, and thus it only serves to drag me further down. I’m not frustrated enough to punch a wall to vent, not resigned enough to start sobbing, and well, the feeling of apathy is just hanging there. I’ll very much rather encounter a strong wave of feelings that will push me over the edge and force me to do something about it.

I’m not focusing very well on my studies, I get distracted very easily, and I procrastinate even though it’s 3am in the morning and work is still not done. I’m a little sick of everything right now. People, social responsibilties, school, work, everything else.

If only there was some way to get out of this vicious cycle. I want to laugh again. I don’t think I’ve truely laughed in a long time. All I do is look sick, or tired, or stoned.

Nothing really makes me happy anymore.

13. Stop waiting.

I have probably spent a good quarter of my life waiting. Waiting for someone to turn up. Waiting for someone to reply. Waiting for something to start. And it’s not the kind of passive waiting when you’re doing something else constructive, but the kind where the main thing you’re doing is waiting.

That’s a lot of time wasted.

Some things cannot be helped. Some delays are inevitable in life. You just need to know when it’s not acceptable and when to stop waiting.

Alas, for matters of the heart. It’s easier said than done. The nerve-wrecking seconds agonizingly pass by, feeling as if they were hours instead.

Oh how I wish it’d stop.

11. Long hair

So, what is not true about people who have long hair. Or really long hair. Or hair that’s as long as mine. Or maybe it’s just me.

1. Long hair does not get stuck in doors or passageways.

2. I do not eat my hair. In fact, the chances of other people eating my hair is a lot higher. Just yesterday Gwen ate my hair again. For the umpteenth time.

3. Hair doesn’t cover my face and smothers me when  I sleep.

4. When I sit down and lean against the chair, my hair doesn’t get stuck against it. I.e., I can still move my head freely without problems.

What is true about long hair.

1. It takes too long to dry on its own. My hair takes an average of 2 hours to dry completely.

2. It’s a good neck warmer. Which isn’t very good if you’re in Singapore.

And that’s all I can think of for now. Oh and one stupid question I get a lot is “Why is your hair so long?” Uh… it’s because I didn’t cut it short? If you want to ask why I chose to have long hair, then perhaps you’d want to phrase your question correctly.

10. The Beginning

Just give me a reason
to keep my heart beating
Don’t worry it’s safe right here in my arms
so blinded I can’t see the end

Look how far we’ve made it
The pain I can’t escape it
so where do I begin.

「The Beginning」 – ONE OK ROCK

I need my jaded self back. I can’t believe I had wanted not to be jaded anymore.  This just serves as a distraction. Which I definitely cannot afford right now. I need another distraction to this distraction. Or a solution to the problem. Or something, Anything. A new beginning.

08. Strangers, acquaintances, friends.

Met div for brunch today, and we were talking about social dynamics of people, especially in NUS. Ever since I entered university, the term acquaintances started to apply to more people around me. For me in the past, there were only friends and strangers. Friendships were a lot more simpler then, you were either friends, or enemies, or strangers. The awkward moments were far and few. Til now, the concept of acquaintances still puzzles me. Not the definition of the acquaintances but the size of the role acquaintances play in my life. Should I let it increase? Or decrease. I still don’t know.

Or maybe it’s because the one that changed is me. That becoming friendlier created more acquaintances and less friends. After 21.7 (3sf) years you’d think I’ll be able to understand friendship a little better. I guess not.

I remember when I was younger, I was always puzzling over why some of my friendships didn’t work out, why some friends, no matter how hard I tried, didn’t reciprocate my friendship. This continued all the way until university until I was sick and fed up of people not responding. I guess I didn’t realise then some people just didn’t want to be friends with you. No matter what you do, how you did it, they just didn’t care. I learnt the hard way, and up til today, I still have this innate fear. I highly doubt it will fade away.

Relationships are so fragile. They are forever changing. Your close friend today might become an acquaintance the next year. I think one-sided friendships are the hardest to bear. It’s like a one-sided relationship but it hurts a lot more. Because you expect the gesture of friendship to be reciprocated but it never comes.

One day I’ll find you. Till then.

07. Things I want to do

Ever since I came back from Japan, I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. Mainly what I was doing right now, and what was it that I really wanted to do.

How many of us are actually doing what we really want to do? And not stuck somewhere learning something we don’t want to learn or in a job we dread to head for in the morning? We say that there’ll always be time in the future to do it, but in the end it either sits quietly at the back of our mind, gathering dust or it eats away at us all the time, bugging us to do something about it.

I want to learn house. And breaking. And improve my Japanese proficiency. And meet up more frequently with old friends. Find someone I can talk to about anything in the world. Go to Japan again. And again. Spend more time with my family. Try all the cider and beer in the world. Pick up another language. Be proficient in it. Be happy. Be nicer to people. Drink more. Dance more. Did I mention that I really want to learn house?

The list gets even longer and more impractical.

But things start small. If I never take that first step, I will forever be letting all these wants waste away. And I’m feeling so restless now. That nagging need to do something, anything. Might as well be something that I really want to do.