Maybe it’s just for me

I don’t know what it is, but there is something about riding my bike on the highway through the cold, winter evening weather that makes me want to arrive home to my husband, have a little romp fest with him, and then snuggle up to a movie and hot cocoa by the fire together.

And, I mean, it isn’t exactly a sexual thing – riding my bike through the cold isn’t an erotic experience or anything.

It is kind of like how a cold winter day just kind of makes you want to snuggle close to a warm mug of hot chocolate or apple cider… only, when riding my bike on these days, I just want to have the little romp fest first, and then snuggle up under blankets with the warm mug.

Just as the hot chocolate just sounds like the perfect next step to the day, so does this little grouping of events sound for me.

Granted, this is Houston, Texas, so we won’t often have fires going anyway, and, besides that, I don’t exactly have a husband at the moment (or anything like one), so my scenario isn’t exactly plausible…, however, the cold weather and wind just somehow make it seem like the perfect way to continue on in the day.

Perhaps, somewhere down the road, that will be the way I end each chilly day of winter.

For now, though, I just smile at the slight irony of the situation and utter oddness about its existence in the first place, and then I feel the chill start to sink into my skin under my ski suit, and suddenly feel slightly sick, my stomach ebbing toward forcing out whatever might be at that moment within its uncomfortable, tightening confines…

Anyway, so that was my afternoon, eh?

How was yours? πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2020

Welcome Home

It is rainy and humid and warm (but will be cold by morning!), and the house was humid and miserable when I first arrived, and the shower was standing, and my towel was (is?) big and fluffy, and I wrapped it all around my body and then my head, and it still isn’t soaked through…, and my bed is soft and big enough for me and not on the floor, and it is finally cool in my room and the hallway and all, but it is still humid in a good way, and so my nose insides aren’t hurting anymore…

Yes, I am back to Houston, Texas, and its winter weather and wonderful beds and towels…

And it feels delightful to be here.

But I’m hungry… hmm…

I guess I kind of did miss a meal somewhere along this past 39-hour day that was my January tenth of 2020… hmm…

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

Where is home?

I have been thinking lately more and more frequently about my upcoming trip to Japan.

It is now only two weeks away (not even, actually), and I am nervous but excited, and somewhat stressed.

But the stress isn’t about typical things, so much… not typical for most people, anyway.

It is about feeling a need to make plans for my trip.

Have you ever been busy and away from home for so long, that all you want to do is just go home and do nothing in particular other than be home?

Well, this is kind of how I am feeling about this trip to Japan.

I don’t really want to have to plan anything, because I feel like I am just going home and want to be home for a while before I start making any plans… plus, when we are home, we have time to figure out when to do things, because we live there…’we aren’t going anyway anytime soon.

But I am only visiting for a couple weeks…, about three weeks all together, I suppose… I don’t have all the time to schedule later.

Or do I?

I think I might just…

Anyway, I find it odd that going back to Japan feels like going home… like I’ve been off at college for the semester, and am finally returning home for the winter break…

But my semester has been two and a half years this time.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that this was the first place where I was entirely on my own, as an adult.

I couldn’t go have lunch or tea with my mom, or ask her to help me do something or other, or go to her house for dinner and a movie… or anyone else who had become part of my staple people in life… I was on my own in my day-to-day.

And I built a home for myself, even though it became all too clear that the culture was not one in which I wanted to stay living and working long-term… I had said that I wouldn’t have to be paid a lot of money to go back to working in and living in Japan…, and that still stands.

However, a visit to Japan, as I always said, is a great idea.

And I am delighted.

I will test this idea of not scheduling anymore for now… I think it might help significantly for me… mhmm…

Post-a-day 2019

Repeat scenarios

Well, tonight, after work, kind of ended up being a happy reprise of our adventures with our spontaneously adopted friend yesterday.

It was a good time, and very enjoyable.

However, the fact that the Waterwall was off before its actual closing time was a Huge bummer… we took her all the way over there just to see it, because it is one of our favorite parts of Houston…, and then it was just super underwhelming in comparison to when the wall is on… hmm… just a big sigh to that all… :/

Anyway, I am exhausted to a whole new level tonight, and so just sleep now.

Therefore, I will share our Sunday adventures today’s tomorrow, instead of yesterday’s tomorrow. ;P

Goodnight. ❀

P.S. If you don’t know the Houston Hines Waterwall, go check it out – itnis well worth visiting, so you can stand in the center, and walk to the edge and gaze upward, head dropped back… it is spectacular… πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019