So, beautiful spring days filled with long days in the park drinking, throwing frisbees, hooping, sun on my arms and on my pretty painted toes....
Just where are they?!
Spring has gone. Not to be replaced by summer, as would be the normal order of things, but to be replaced with winter. We're all back in jumpers or sweaters and using heating. Socks are firmly planted on my feet. This is not how May should be.
It's not the rainy season yet - but it keeps on raining each day. People are getting the grumps. People are getting sick. I'M getting sick. I have an annoying cold - not the burning up sweat it out variety but an annoying energy zapping chest burning hacking cough blocked nose and sinuses kind of cold. A functioning cold but still an annoying cold.
I have to confess that a) I'm waiting on it to go away by itself - mainly because I don't actually get colds that often and I don't want to shove medication into my immune system which does a pretty good job usually and b) since my raw vegan 'lapse' - I still see it as a lapse or a temporary hiccough as I do intend to go back down that road again from June (May is too busy with social events) - and since moving house especially - my fresh food intake has dramatically decreased. Not saying I brought this on myself but...
So, in the world of Jo life has been the usual routine of working, drinking, working a bit more and drinking a bit more and hanging out with friends. And coughing!
Oh and I love my house. I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy being in the vicinity of other people after having house shared with a variety of 'characters' over a 17 year period and swearing I could never do it again!
Having my OWN kitchen in the gaijin house is a definite plus. I'm not sure I could have moved into a gaijin house if I'd had to share a kitchen. The shared shower and toilet have been fine - there's almost never been anyone in either if I've wanted it. My place feels more homey than the company accommodation I was living in before too.
The location is great. It's in a residential area in Shinjuku near all the big hotels and near a good choice of stations. The other people in the house are lovely and we've started arranging drinking and eating things to do together. Last night was the first time I've seen so many of them at once as two were talking when I walked in and I joined them, and then more and more kept dribbling in - it was quite funny - I think we were all a bit surprised.
Oh and there's a week left until I'm 37. That's kind of scary. I still don't feel like a 'grown up' and I still don't really have a 'life plan' as such. I think I had more of a life plan when I was a teenager. Maybe. And when I look at the things I have and don't have, the things I've done and haven't done and, well, I'm not really sure what to make of it all, but more of this another time.
One other decision - my time-frame for leaving Japan has been next spring for quite some time - I'll finish sending chunks of money back to England in about three months so will be able to save up a bit after that, plus I'll have been here for 4.5 years by then, with two years post certTESOL experience (which some places want).
The question is where next. Last year I went through an obsession with moving to the Middle East next to teach. That was replaced with an absolute obsession with moving to Argentina. Well, Argentina is still very much on the cards but I think I'm going to delay it for a year or two more and move to Spain instead - for a few reasons:
I love Spain.
I can speak a little Spanish and, unlike Japanese, I actually have the motivation to learn it properly.
I'd like to spend more time on mainland Europe.
I have friends who are, and who will be, living on the mainland.
I miss English shops and being able to afford to pop to England a few times a year is quite appealing.
I need the convenience for a bit of being able to get hold of products I need easily - such as homeopathic remedies, aqueous cream and that kind of thing.My friends in England WILL be able to afford to visit me.
I miss my friends in England and want to be able to hang out with them more.
I'm missing out on seeing people's kids, weddings, parties, etc.
So there you have it. The money WILL be crap compared to here but whilst on some days I love Japan, I'm not one of the gaijin crowd who could stay here long term, I just find too many things annoying, frustrating, difficult, different... and life isn't all about hanging out in Yoyogi Park taking photos of gothic lolitas or daschunds in sunglasses, unfortunately!