Germs

Tonight, my concerns about bathroom germs were solidified.

In talking with a very experienced and well-read and well-informed nurse, I learned of clear studies that established absurd levels of germage 1) being forced upward (into the air and the flusher’s face) from toilets when they are flushed, and 2) being blasted onto one’s hands and around the bathroom via high-powered air dryers (mostly because a rather high percentage of people do not wash their hands properly or thoroughly [naturally, Japan comes to mind, with the typical quick rinse of water onto the fingertips being as much as most women ever seemed to do]).

Crazy, it is.

And very unsurprising… as I mentioned, I had suspected as much.

It just reaffirms my desire to have toilets more like in Japan, where you wash your hands over the back of the toilet – dual flow toilets – as the faucet pours water into a basin that drains into the tank that holds the water in preparation for the next flush.

That way, you don’t get your dirty hands on the same surfaces where you brush your teeth.

Just saying…

These things I dream… haha πŸ˜›

P.S. I have been awake the past 19 and a half hours… Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

Post-a-day 2020

To write love on her arms

Well, it isn’t on my arms, but it is on my hand!

I hadn’t exactly intended to put the words on my hands when I started out, but they somehow happened anyway… I still find it an odd place to place them, but it does well to remind me constantly, because I always see the palms of my hands… which I’m not sure I knew before this week, and my constantly seeing the words on my palms.

People always use the phrase of knowing someone/something “like the back of my hand,” but I never understood it fully, because I don’t know the backs of my hands very well.

But I do know my palms, it turns out… I see them all the time. πŸ˜›

Also, this: The San Jacinto Monument, marking the location of the Battle of San Jacinto, which gave Texas its independence from Mexico in 1836.

Post-a-day 2020

Jet-setting oven

Well, here we go…

It has been an interesting day so far, and continues to be so now…

I currently am very annoyed with Air Canada, but I am hoping that they will remedy the nasty problem when they open the counter (as soon as this ANA flight finishes at the same gate, and someone shows up for my flight).

Also, what to do?

Buy the filthy expensive whisky for my dad, a whisky that you kind of can’t get anywhere else anyway?

I think so.

But I have to wait for them to open the counter to remedy the situation with my flight first…, then walk all the way back to the duty free place that had it (because the one here doesn’t have it).

Huff……

God, help me heal through this next bit of traveling (because I also happen to have a fever right now, naturally).

πŸ˜›

P.S. They did not remedy the situation, and it was not a very comfortable flight arrangement… however, my seat companion and I commiserated and laughed about it a bit, and had some great conversation besides, so it ended up being tolerable (fortunately!).

Post-a-day 2020

Snuggle bug

The final night has arrived: I return to Texas tomorrow.

It is weird; I don’t feel like saying, “I’m going home…” it just doesn’t feel quite right.

For at least part of me, this is home – I am at home in Japan… in a way.

No, I do not want to stay permanently.

In dinner conversation, the idea came up of my working at an international school or special private school in Japan… and I almost felt a need to quell a rising panic…

But I reminded myself that I am safe and okay, and that I am perfect as I am, and I was able to remain calm easily and communicate nicely – aka I didn’t shout like a five-year-old, “Dame!” (No way!), but instead moved the conversation forward with a different route, so as not to offend.

(Because who wants to be told, “I kind of hate living full-time in your culture, thanks,”?)

Japan is a place for me to visit, that is for sure.

I even could see myself coming for slightly-extended-stays in the future, maybe for photography or something of the sort.

But not living here again.

I am sad to leave, but I am relieved to be going home to Houston, a place that always will hold a spirit of home for me.

I am nervous to go back to my low-budget life as a graduate student slash tutor slash up-and-coming photographer.

However, I actually am quite excited at the terror of what is to come next with all of it – classes and thesis, lots of graduation announcement photos, developing my editing skills, creating my kimono art show, teaching art & yoga (bilingually at that!), tutoring and teaching French and Spanish And Japanese, studying Japanese… maybe even watching some Olympic Games (I did buy some temporary tattoos and nail art to be a Japan fan during them…)…

Yes, I am looking forward to the next steps.

Especially getting even more fit… the gym has been something crazy for me this past month.

I have been totally fine without it, and even eating anything and everything delicious-tasting… and I have grown accustomed to being comfortable with myself more fully…

I am excited to return to the gym as my more-developed self that I now am… more true to myself than before (which was already purty darn good and true).

I am excited to see and to interact with my semi-crush-ish guy, and to be totally comfortable and okay with our being friends forever…

And to have that place be cleared up for something new and a bagillion times better to come into my life… I am ready to take on this life…

Thank you, Japan.

Thank you, Sara, my once-again snuggle buddy (now aged nine years).

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Texas – here I come. πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Worlds apart

It really is a different world here, in Japan.

I already knew vaguely about bathing in the home, and I had experienced the onsen system of public bathing, but I had never been in someone’s home for it all.

This week, I had one friend talk me through how to shower (per my request) when I stayed with her at her apartment, I had an old coworker explain to me how bathing worked (also per my request) when I was staying at her house with her and her two girls, and then I again had an opportunity to bathe at the house of my old host family.

(Yes, “host family” suggests that I lived with them, but it was just a one-weekend homestay, and they took me to an onsen, so I never used their bathroom.)

I now know how it all works, however, I wasn’t too interested in the bath part, for various reasons, and so I simply did the showering portion of the bathing, and continued on my way to bed.

And, what’s cool to me about that is how I went ahead and told my host family that I usually just shower.

They were shocked, because, well, it’s winter and is therefore cold here.

However, I explained that it is quick, and I prefer showering, and they were okay with it.

My friend who had explained the showering to me the other day actually has a feature in her bathroom that blows warm air when you turn it on, so you can shower and not get cold (because you really don’t leave the water running for showers*, so it can get really cold soaping up after the hot water isn’t pouring all over your body anymore), which I found to be really cool, but simultaneously really silly.

So Japanese, really.

Also, I have noticed that everyone leaves food out, during the day or overnight…

My guess is that it is because it is wintertime, and so, here anyway, it is very dry and there aren’t really any bugs at all.

I think they would be surprised with Houston’s winters… and possibly would wonder when winter was going to start, and wonder what happened to the winter months when it is suddenly February and the weather still feels like early October… πŸ˜›

… anyway…

My old coworker said to me that she can tell I am very ε…ƒζ°— genki (healthy and well and filled with energy) now, and that she is glad for it, that it makes her very happy.

I told her that I believe Texas (Houston) agrees with me very well… thus my being very well.

And it is true: living in Houston agrees with me.

Living in Japan did not.

It broke me down.

Fortunately, I have distinction enough to acknowledge when there is breakdown on my life, and so worked through the total breakdown of myself and my life, resulting in the greatest breakthrough of my life… something for which I likely will be ever grateful.

I am who I am today in huge part due to my time – my horrible, miserable, pain-filled and stress-filled time – in Japan.

And who I am today is someone I love being.

Frankly, she is amazing.

For one thing, everyone lives touching her muscles. ;P

For another, she emits genkiness, the spirit of life, delight at being alive.

And those are both ways I have wanted to be for many, many years…

She is also grateful and graceful.

Double plus there.

I am proud to be the excited, learning being that I am today, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live this life, as well as the opportunity to become the ever-better version of myself that each moment of the future holds for me.

I am here to share my gifts with the world, those gifts that God has given me, and I am finally taking care of myself so that I can do that truly, wholly, and not just in part.

No, I am not sharing them perfectly every moment of every day and night – I don’t believe that I ever will do that.

However, I am sharing them perfectly for who I am and where I am right now, and that, in and of itself, is perfect.

So, tangent coming to a close, thank you, Japan, for being this absurdly different world that only agrees with me on short-term visits, and that pushes almost all my buttons… like every day. πŸ˜‰

I am grateful for all that you have so far shared with me, and I look forward to our future interactions and exchanges together.

I hope I have offered and will offer in kind. πŸ™‚

For now, Oyasumi, goodnight.

*Oftentimes, at onsen, I have seen (and therefore now do myself sometimes) women sitting on the shower stools, using one foot to keep the water button pushed in while washing, so the water stays on for more than ten seconds at a time – so it runs continuously – and they don’t ever have to feel cold while sitting there, showering.

P.S. I only just realized that I need to be putting 2020 on here now… oops…

Post-a-day 2020

When you understand but don’t (but do)

Mother hands her a piece of food, placing it in her outstretched, flat hand.

Food piece promptly rolls off her flat hand, the moment she moves the hand, and plummets to the floor, under the table.

γ‚οΌγ€‚γ€‚γ€‚ε€§δΈˆε€«γ€‚πŸ™†β€β™€οΈ ι£ŸγΉγ‚‹γ‚ˆγ€‚γΎγ»γ γ‹γ‚‰γ€‚

Ah!… daijoubu.. taberuYo.. Maho dakara.

Oh, no!… It’s okay.. I will Eat it. Because I am Maho.

Maho is her name.

Discussing herself in the third person – like almost always – is her game.

Probably around half the time (40%-ish), I don’t really understand what she is saying.

About 98% of the time, however, I get the gist enough to understand the general picture and, quite clearly, her sentiments regarding the situation.

I found it hilarious that this particular situation was one where I understood every word.

And it had me wonder what on Earth was up with her, eating food confidently off the ground, referring to herself in the third person yet again, and confidently declaring her action as odd but normal due to the fact that she is who she is.

Yet, before I really could even finish the thought, I realized that I actually do get it… I’m really the same way in a lot of situations, so I totally get it.

And so, in this odd situation, I understood even more than just the 100% of words used – I understood all of it.

And that was silly, but totally cool.

Much like all of today and last night, spent hanging out with an old coworker and her two girls…. silly, but totally wonderful.

Post-a-day 2019

Family time

(Okay, so it isn’t my family, but they are somebody’s family, and we all spent time together tonight.)

We started with kakizome, as is standard winter break homework for students,…

..and ended with whatever this all was.

I dare say, it was one of the most delightful nights I’ve had in quite some time, and we weren’t even doing anything all too special.

I think it was so great, because we were all just being ourselves, and freely so, and also being comfortably the night owls that we all seem to be (this all started after dinner, and didn’t end until after midnight [at which point we merely went upstairs and did other messings around until close to one]).

And it was made even better by the fact that it was a night spent at home, and then even more so better because we didn’t use television in any way – we interacted with one another.

Also, I really do love kids… I just kind of hate annoying kids (which, as I’ve said before, usually means I dislike the parents, too, since there is typically a huge amount of overlap between the parents’ personalities and ways and those of the kids).

There was even a crying fit that happened tonight, and, due to awesome parenting and sisterly love, it wasn’t really any big deal, and was only any deal for a mere few minutes, if even that.

It was great.

And now I have a real version for my kakizome for this year, instead of the calligraphy marker I had to use the other night.

Yeah…, this has been a great night.

Thank you.

P.S. I got to se Fuji-San from rather close today(!!!), so yay!

Post-a-day 2019