27 June 2017
You may be wondering why I haven’t been posting more. I mean, I’ve been living in Japan for 7 months now, traveling around the country, experiencing the culture on a daily basis, teaching English to Japanese toddlers and business professionals alike. I must have so much to write about! And I do. . . I just haven’t been blogging that much.
I did the same thing while living in Turkey, only then it was for different reasons. My life in Turkey was busy, busier than I imagined it would be. I was working part-time, only 21 hours a week, more including prep time, but volunteering and my volunteer projects, such as teaching English and starting an Etsy store to sell refugee-made products, made it feel like I was working a full-time job plus overtime. Add in social time with my volunteer community, Turkish friends, and oh right, my boyfriend, and I ended up with very little time to myself. Downtime was better spent reading, watching TV, or taking walks by the seaside rather than blogging.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of these activities and time commitments, but in some ways my life in Turkey was just as hectic and stressful as it had been in San Francisco. In contrast, my life in Japan has been a complete 180. These days, I have so much downtime and so little commitment, that often I don’t know what to do with myself. My job is still challenging but not as stressful as my work in Turkey, and I never have to take any work home with me. I get proper weekends and have been able to travel to a good many places in Japan so far. I should have blog posts coming out of my ears by now.
So what have I been doing when I haven’t been blogging? Reading. Taking long walks by the river. Listening to podcasts. Doing random drawings. Experimenting with Japanese calligraphy ink and brushes. Watching 90’s movies and British costume dramas. Getting close with new friends. Discovering local bars and restaurants. Spending Saturday night and Sunday drinking, playing cards and board games, and taking picnics with my small teacher community. Traveling. Watching the world outside my window. Listening to the sounds of birds, insects, the breeze. Marveling at the glory of the seasons in Japan; blazes of red leaves in the fall, snow flurries in winter, fluffy pink and white cherry blossoms in spring, and presently the heart-fluttering magic of fireflies in summer. Getting back into film photography, an old passion of mine that I’ve rekindled with renewed fervor.
The last few months I’ve been taking life as it goes, relishing in simple pleasures, and getting back to basics. This is the first time I’ve truly been alone, and although it’s been several months often I still don’t know what I’m doing or what that means. Hell, I can extend that statement to my entire life: I’m not sure what I’m doing, I’m not sure what the future holds. I don’t really have a plan past the present. So in many ways, I’m coming to see my time here in Japan as a sabbatical, a time for spiritual and personal growth.
I have been doing a lot of writing, in fact, just not the kind of writing I usually post here on my travel blog. My writing lately has been more personal, inward-facing, and journalistic. This post is kind of a glimpse into that, so you can see where my head has been lately.
Don’t worry though, there will be much more to come about my journeys in Japan! Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the journey and just stand still.
All of the photos accompanying this post were shot by me on film around Kanazawa