Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beware: I talk about my feelings today

Hello all! It's been over a week since I've posted last and I apologize for that. But because I have been oh-so productive today by doing all of the things I've been procrastinating for over a week, I am like a productive MACHINE and decided to write a post.

I felt like this for a bit.

So, I guess I'll start with the reason I haven't posted in a while. (If you don't feel like reading about my emotions, you can scroll down past the text for the pictures.) As of late, perhaps the last two weeks, I've been feeling kind of down. Not particularly about the Japanese language - I'm better than I was yesterday and only getting better - but about a bunch of little things. I guess it was like a mini-depression? Thinking back, I think I always get like that this time of year. And it's not even the weather, is the thing, seeing as Nagoya is still enjoying its autumn-time.

It was like, I don't know. I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Like because I'm in Japan, I should do ALL the things, ALL the time. And for some reason I didn't want to, and I was bogged down with all these negative feelings. Just out of nowhere. Sneaky hate spiral, probably. 

I felt like I wasn't doing enough but didn't want to make the effort to do more. I hated all Japanese people except for Ayame and my host mom. I didn't want to participate in class. I didn't want to go out with people - I didn't want to go out at all. I was happier alone but also lonely. I missed my friends and my family in America and wanted to go home. I admitted to my homesickness but instead of crying I put on a bold face and kept it together. I felt like crap. I wasn't hungry. I was always in a crappy mood and said bitter things and didn't care. And most of all, my self-confidence had taken a sudden nosedive. I hated everything, but it didn't make sense because I'm in Japan so I should LOVE everything, and this contradiction made me madder and I blamed Japan.

So I talked to some of my friends about it. Ellen, my support system, advice-giver, and best friend, gave me fantastic advice:

  • I think you should have an awesome you day in Japan. Like, I know you probably have "you" days all the time, but you should really make a day of it. Go to a cool museum or explore or whatever. Be by yourself (because there's no one better to hang out with, trust me.)
  • Don't let yourself feel lonely, don't even think about other people, just go get inspired by japan.
remember the parts you fell in love with in the first place. Take your ipod, drown out people.

And after I took her advice, I felt much better. I turned on my iPod and blasted Elliot Smith while on the train (because there's no one better to listen to when you feel depressed). I looked up, found, and went to a Manga Cafe all by myself and read manga (I've been meaning to go back since). And for a few days, I was better.

One thing led to another and I was down again. Just bleh. Didn't know where I stood with as far as friends, felt anti-social and lonely. 

And then I said, "Screw this," and made plans to go out with people - people from Nanzan that I haven't gone out with before. This would be the French group (three french girls plus an Australian boy and another girl from the states). And even though I didn't really feel like going, I was going to go and have fun, dammit. 

Also, I bought a bag of candy (an idea I took from Sam). This doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it was actually the first bag of candy I bought in Japan, and when in doubt, eat sugar. Because it'll make you feel better. Which it did, by the way.

So Thursday comes around and I came home to my host mom, who had been drinking with her three Japanese friends. I sat down and joined them, and since they wanted to practice their English we spoke in both Japanese and English and it became a blur and I could hardly differentiate as to which language I was speaking. We talked about funny things, serious things, and over all just had a great time. Plus there was delicious food and alcohol, so that didn't hurt.

By the time this Friday came around, I was feeling a little better. I was thinking that when I went out with friends I would have to force myself to have a good time like I had been doing for the last few weeks, but on the contrary, it was truly fun. We all drank and laughed and talked in French, Japanese, and English, ordered Irish Car Bombs (delicious) and spent a lot of money on food and drinks, then we went to an arcade and I won at the claw machine!!! And we just hung out and were kids and had fun in Japan.

And that was awesome. I could tell I finally shook my bad mood because yesterday I went to Ise Jingu, a shrine, and had to wake up at 6:30 AM to end up walking around all day in the rain (crappy day to go on a field trip), was soaked for eight hours until I finally got home and changed. And I knew I wasn't in a bad mood anymore because none of these things bothered me. I got to hang out with my friends on the bus, bought a cute sheep zodiac statue (as I am year of the sheep), got to shop down the street near the shrine and listened to music and played games and even though the weather was miserable and I lost many hours of sleep to go there, the atmosphere and my friends being there were worth it.

I've finally started to feel like I belong again. The loneliness has been shaken, as has the procrastination in school and other parts of my life: I spent 6 hours today doing homework, a project, a paper, my laundry, cleaning, and now writing this blog post. Keeping busy was good for my attitude and knowing that I got so much done today makes me feel so much more relieved.

Also, this whole time I had been blaming Japan for my miseries, but once I thought harder on it, I realized it wasn't Japan or Japanese people or anything to do with Japan. It was school. I knew I had a lot coming up (two research papers, two big projects, two creative writing papers, regularly scheduled homework and final exams coming up), and that crept under my skin and before I knew it, the stress turned me into a hate machine. But after I wrote down what I would do when, and then after my hugely productive day today, I feel a lot better in those regards, too.

Anyway. That's why I haven't been posting much. I was sad but I'm a lot better now. So far in Japan, my sads are really sads but my happys are really fulfilling. I guess there's nothing to do but accept it, really. 

When people tell me to have the time of my life, I get really stressed out because I have weeks where I don't want to do anything, and it makes me think I'm doing everything wrong, and the sneaky hate spiral begins. I'm going to do everything in my own way and make the most of it. I love Japan, but I need "me" days, too. Also it's unrealistic to try to do EVERYTHING possible in Japan. I'll do as much as I can and try to enjoy every minute of it. Basically, I'll do my best. 

SO. Here are some pictures from my raining visit to the temple. I didn't take any pictures of the actual temple because by the time we got there, I was soaked and tired. Ohohoh well. It looked like another temple. I think the nature on the way there is pretty cool, anyway. (You can click on the images to make them bigger) 

I promise I'll be funnier next time. See you!


  1. your always funny!Hon you have to make the best of being in Japan! You are not quite half way till you come, but what experience to have. I know the school is hard, That's what you are there for.To learn!You are smart, beautiful, and can meet friends anywhere with your humor!Enjoy the moments you have, and fill your dreams, this is what you wanted!Friends and family are always here to support you. chin up head strong, for that is the haley I always knew!and love you for that!

  2. thanks mom, I'm doing better! love you!

  3. Awww it's so heartwarming in here! ;)

    Ise Jingu is really cool. I recall that they had some of the most beautiful koi (carp) that I have ever seen in Japan. Glad you made it out there!