I know I sound miserable. When I reread my posts I realise how depressed I sound and how it seems like I'm having a completely horrible time. But in fact most of the time I'm ok, even happy perhaps? I'm cheerful and genki at work and I can be irritatingly upbeat in my classes, sometimes it the only way to make a seriously boring class fun. If I didn't have the tendency to whine about everything under the sun (bad habits die hard, though I do it while smiling), I think most people I've met in Japan would say that I'm a pretty happy and carefree person. For me that's a pretty major achievement, considering my attitude and mood in my last months (years?) in Melbourne was probably not an entirely pleasant one to be around most of the time.
I teach 34 forty minute lessons a week, my students are whoever has signed up for that slot and they can be any level. Classes are only between one and four students but most of the time it's only one or two. My job, basically, is to teach a conversation from a textbook, drill it a bunch of times, and then turn it into a real conversation. My job literally, is small talk. Back home I loathed small talk, I would do anything in my power to avoid it, which essentially meant avoiding new people in general. I was quite happy with the friends I had and I didn't need to make banal conversation with people I had no interest in at all. And now it's my job, ironic huh? But the thing is, I don't mind. If this job (and Japan) has given me anything, it's the ability to actually act like a social human being. When I tell students that I'm actually pretty shy their face almost falls off from shock, "Shy?! You are not shy!" they say. I'm still a bit crap at talking to people in real life, outside of work (when I don't have the power to simply say "ok ask me a question now", or "tell me an interesting story"), I've made a lot of friends that I probably wouldn't have if this job (and this country) hadn't forced me out of my Fibo bubble.
One of my biggest loves in Japan is of course the stationery. It's not even an exaggeration to say that I'm totally addicted to it, especially considering I have twelve letter sets, nine sheets of stickers and seven packs of envelopes. It's not even a guilty pleasure for me as not only is stationary awesome and cute and adorable with it's fail English, it's cheap! All my letter sets cost me 130 yen each, most stickers are between 100 and 200 yen, and the envelopes were 100 yen as well. In fact, the most expensive part of letter writing is the postage. It only costs 130 yen to buy a letter set with 8 pieces of paper and 4 envelopes, but it costs 120 yen for a stamp to send one letter to Australia. And yet every week I find myself at the post office with a pile of letters (and sometimes packages for my luckier friends). There's something that feels really really good about writing a letter for a friend or family member, choosing what letter set to use, decorating it with stickers, sealing the envelope with my polka dot masking tape, and picking a cute anime stamp to put on it when my post office lady asks me "kawaii kitte?" (cute stamp?) and I reply with "HAI!". Sometimes I think I enjoy sending letters more than people enjoy receiving them. Which is a good thing considering less than half of the 20 or so people I've written to have got around to replying, even my best friends (yes they are busy, I know I know). Still, nothing puts a ridiculous grin on my face more than ripping open a letter and reading it on the subway on my way to work.
So I just wanted to say that. Because most of the time I'm ok. Even happy. It's just I get lonely easily, especially at night when it's just me in this apartment and everyone back home is asleep because they don't get home from work at 10.30pm like I do, and they don't stay up until 3am like I do. So when I'm lonely I think too much, and when I think too much I get depressed, and when I get depressed and I think my twitter is sick of hearing about it I blog. So I might go write a letter now, because talking about my stationary has made my fingers itchy and I kinda need to get my hands on my stickers right now :) Mata ne..