not saying “hiatus”

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What I’ve been doing the past few months (not pictured: one hundred episodes of star trek tng)

Well hello there. Fancy seeing you here, at my blog!

Anyway, this year didn’t turn at all like I planned, re: amanda in japan dot com. I was going to like, update at least twice, thrice a week, about stuff other than myself. I was going to write about actual Japan stuff, cool stuff, stuff you don’t see in the news! I had grand dreams, my friends. I really did.

But yeah, obviously. The whole updating thing didn’t work out at all. In fact, I’ve updated so few times that I totally missed June. Whoah. I haven’t missed a month since like, 2009. In my defense, I’ve been the busiest I’ve ever been at work, especially with my super duper project that I’m working on. Well, I would be working on it, if I didn’t have a billion other work things to do – do you know I haven’t had a complete weekend off in like three weeks? And it’s -all unrelated stuff too – translations, conferences, visits to here-which-where and the other. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m glad to be busy if only to be grateful that I do indeed have a job and that it will continue to next year. But I’ve barely had time to breathe.

Well, that’s not true. I’ve kept up running, if only because it’s now pretty important for me to stay in shape, so I can deal with everything else. I haven’t cut out my beauty sleep, because GOD what I would be if I had less sleep. I’ve been seeing my tremendous, phenomenal boyfriend regularly and sneaking in a meeting with friends like once a month. I’ve been doing the arts and crafts biz with Mr. and Mrs. O. And god knows I haven’t had a lack of time for knitting. I guess in a way, since I’ve had to be “on” so much more than I usually do, that all I want to do when I have a free moment is…not have to think about anything. Knitting is way more fun than I thought it would be, partly because I can drift into a meditative state and recharge that introverted part of my brain that’s been stretched thin the past few months. I have needed to just withdraw from people, and no matter how frustrating this part of me is, I gotta listen to it or else all bets are off.

And hey, who am I kidding. Blogging has always been helpful, healthy, cathartic for me. But I’m in no need of a catharsis at the moment. I’m pretty dang-ass lucky – I’ve got a wonderful if stressful job, I’m doing something really cool with it, I have plenty of money for my needs, I’ve got a loving family and a wonderful boyfriend. I’m so lucky! Well, I’ve wrote all that before, but I do think my happiness is too boring to write about. And yeah, I would love to write about other things! But I just haven’t got the drive at the moment. I’m stretched thin, and for now, blogging is at the bottom of my priorities.

But I always come back to it. So I’m not worried – it will always be here when I’m ready.

new moon

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“Luke, I think we’ve done it~!”

I’m hella busy, guys (didn’t think I would be, but I guess work piled up during my vacation (which I was GOING to write about – we’ll see, eh? it would be weird to write about my Xmas holiday during March or something)) ! Here are some pictures though.

just like that

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One cold day in December, I went to a nearby restaurant for lunch with GJ. As we were taking off our coats to sit down at the counter, someone called out from the table behind us. “Amanda?”

I turned around, and there was Junya, sitting at the table behind us with a friend. “Oh! Hey..?” I sputtered for a bit, awkwardly, ending on, “Long time no see.”

We nodded, smiled at each other, and then…went back to our respective conversations.

We had eaten so many times at this restaurant together.

 

When I went back to my desk after lunch, I took one last, long look at the photo of him and I taped under the plastic cover of my desk. There we were, in the dusky light, waiting for fireworks. Another photo, placed right above it, was of R and X and I, waiting for those same fireworks.

Just a heartbeat, and everything has changed.

I took another photo I had, of R and I and lots of other friends, and placed it over top of Junya. It was time. It was way past time. I just finally noticed, is all.

always sneaking up on you

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When I was a small child, I would often join my father and little sister in making fun of my mother for putting on Christmas music when it was still November. She’d start dusting the living room, breaking out the big boxes of decorations, and put on A Charlie Brown Christmas. “Mommm,” I’d say. “It’s too early for Christmas music! This is embarrassing.” She’d smile as she unwrapped a snow globe or a decorative candle and say in a sing-song voice, “I know~”

This year I started playing Christmas music in the beginning of November.

I try really hard to keep Christmas alive for myself here. It’s not like Japan doesn’t celebrate or decorate – the blinking lights above Odori Street prove otherwise. But something’s missing. I know the religious element is absent, but I’m a Catholic in name only, so that doesn’t bother me. It could be that I miss the cozy feeling in the air that you get when everyone around you looks forward to going home for the holidays, but the Japanese do that for New Year’s, so it’s not that either.

Maybe it’s just simply a lack of nostalgia for the holiday here. It’s changing, but for the most part, people didn’t spend their childhoods looking forward to Christmas. Children nowadays are taught to believe in Santa Claus, but I don’t know if it’s the same. I do think parents buy a few presents for their children, and there is a traditional Christmas meal in Japan called “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” but none of the adults have memories of writing letters to Santa Claus or shopping in malls covered in evergreen and sparkle.

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