Gas Tank Full of Freedom

12/10/18 +

At the top of my TO DO list for Japan, I have: Fall in Love. Above all else, while I am here my goal is to fall in love,

with myself. 

Oh my goodness. It has almost been a month since I went home to the USA. Since I have been back-it has been a whirlwind.
I’ve been talking with my friends and brother about traveling around Japan. I feel like I am missing out by not exploring. But the thing is-every time I step out of my apartment, it is an adventure. I haven’t traveled Japan yet but I am planning to. Once leaving my home is no longer an adventure, I will start checking items off of my bucket list.

This being said…I’ve already been in Japan for nearly 5 months. That means I am almost half way through my year in Japan.

As a teacher-I am growing like a weed. I am gaining so much experience teaching English as a second language. I have no doubt that this opportunity is helping me grow as much as a teacher, as it is a person.

Thinking about my growth and overall, how much I have changed since I was a child…this quote was very humbling. There are wonderful humans out there who are evil in my story-the thought of being the evil in somebody else’s gives me those dirty moths in my stomach. I think this is why it is so important to remember that people will never forget the way you made them feel.

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I’ve made some people feel really awful in my past. If you are reading this and you are one of them-I apologize. There are several people I have reached out to and personally apologized..but you know what? People that made me feel bottom of the barrel awful, they never apologized. That is okay, but I remember the way you made me feel, the times you caused me pain. Thanks to you, I’m a way fresher person than I use to be. By fresher…I mean more: Resilient, kind and happy. 

Right now, Japan is where I am meant to be. I know this because I see personal growth as well as professional. People should be living a life that makes them better. Being here, is making me better. I also hope to be making people better here. At school I try to make sure students know that I see them. Not like I see them up to no good, or goofing around…

but that I see them, I care and that they are enough.

Adventures since I’ve been back from the United States.

HOT SPRINGS! My dear friend took me to Arima hot springs. This is one of the most ancient onsen’s in Japan. This hot spring is a rusty orange color because of all of its natural components. There are very few hotsprings in the world that have this many elements. This is similar to a public bath. You wash your body off and get into a small pool like tub. Yes, naked. Yes, with other people. Boys and girls are separated. At this onsen there were no tattoos allowed. Having a number of them, Sachiko and Moko helped me cover all of them with bandaid like tattoo covers. Lots of laughs and giggles while we did this.

There were three different baths at this Onsen. After each bath you put your clothes on and walk to the next location. We took part in a buffet beforehand, all you can eat Japanese food! I tried everything. Because I will always try things at least once.

On the way home We stopped to admire fall leaves. This was a breath taking forest of trees with more color than imaginable.

Sachiko also took me for a drive through the country side. This was my first time seeing “country side” here in Japan. It reminded me more of home than anything else here, has. The roads were bigger, everything was more spread out and it wasn’t as busy. It felt kind of like driving on the Palouse, but not.

I ate Shabu shabu. And…a snail. Because I have to try everything at least once…SUPER COOL meal to eat and the company was nice too!

Snails are like slugs. I HATE slugs. So taking this snail out of its shell to eat was a first and last time event for me. After dinner I gave Pachinko a try and searched for wild bores. You know how much I love hunting for animals. Hunting to me is just searching with my eyeballs and jumping with excitement when I see a creature.  This night may have ended with Super Mario. Most of my nights do. HAH.

I have actually been lost now. Like, wandering for an hour just looking for something that I was familiar with. In an hour, I reached my step goal, had no wifi and 12% battery on my phone. My map was no help because I was in an area I had never been. I never found anything familiar, a train station, or free wifi. I also wasn’t at my best. I walked until I saw a cab pulled over. I’m sure I sounded half dead as I said, “Ride?”. I got an Ok. Got a ride to my bicycle. The ride was 35 minutes and worth every single YEN.

All Japan Pro Wrestling!

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I went to watch professional wrestling in JAPAN! Cool huh? The coolest part is I got to see an old friend from Spokane, WRESTLE in Japan!! I personally find that to be insanely incredible. The odds in that happening have got to be low to none.

I went with a coworker and his friend. They are huge fans of pro-wrestling. All around, amazing night with great people. So fun to see someone from home, here in Japan. I get excited seeing someone I know at the grocery store in Spokane so you can probably imagine my joy in seeing people in Japan. Parrow and Odinson took the W in a tag team match. Whoop whoop.

I’m looking forward to seeing another Professional wrestling show while I am here.

I’ve got some time off coming up for Winter break. I work on Christmas. First time, working on Christmas. I have many special birthdays to celebrate the day after Christmas. These people are more dear to my heart and soul than I can say. I hope you can feel my love from Japan. Happy Birthday (Dec 26th) To my MAMA, KRISTY, and LOIS! I’ve been thinking about you since December began and I’ll be celebrating you all month long. Heck, I celebrate the three of you all year long.

Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear, Mama, Kristy, and Lois, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU.

With a break coming up, I have considered going home…but I really want to explore the country I live in. If I go home every chance I get-I won’t ever see this whole new world. (This week in class students are singing-A whole new world.) It dropped 30 degrees over the past week. Last week I was riding my bike in a Tshirt and enjoying the colors of fall. Today, I wore my long johns, beanie and winter jacket. I think this is one of the first times I have worn a beanie for warmth. I never realized how cold my ears get when I have a hat on. Now that I think about it…I haven’t ridden a bike in the fall in probably 15 years…I just forgot the feeling of COLD hitting my cheeks and sneaking through my strands of hair up to my ears.It was 39 degrees when I woke up this morning. Last week it was 70 degrees. That is a pretty drastic change in such a short amount of time.

My morning commute consists of these minor yet major inclines. Some days I ride up the entire way, sometimes I make it half way…and this week for the first time I started walking my bike at the bottom. My legs are getting stronger. I couldn’t make it to the top my first time. Hah. Now I spend the first 10 minutes of my bike ride, wondering how much effort I want to put forth in order to save myself one minute riding up VS walking up.Giggling. I love that my daily decisions start here…Well actually even earlier my hardest decision is what I will wear. Feel like a small child, going to a drawer, closing my eyes and wearing whatever I pull out.

I rearranged my apartment, which I have done a few times now. It makes things feel…fresh.

At school, students had a tournament. Girls played volleyball and boys played handball. I saw lots of smiles during this and I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it was that students could have a handball tournament, at school. Last week, we had a marathon day. Students choose the distance they would run and ran anywhere from 1km to 10 km. More than half of the school choose 10km!! I choose 3km and my running partner helped me keep a good pace the entire time. Probably my fastest mile since 4th grade.

I’ve sent out many letters and postcards recently. I’m the biggest fan of mail. I hope if you receive mail, it gives you some happy in your heart. That is my goal, to spread happy. We started penpals too!! Seeing the students write to my kiddos at home, made me glow. *Hours after writing this, I checked my mail and what do you know-I HAD A LETTER FROM A DEAR FRIEND. Thank you sister. This is my favorite card.

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My refrigerator is empty. Probably a good time to start the whole30. I have been yearning for a redbull. I haven’t given in. I’d get so jacked up if I had a redbull, I probably can’t handle them anymore. I could drink a 20Oz redbull and take a nap. I was looking at how much caffeine was in the tea I am drinking…20-30MGs. I was drinking 200+mgs a day… When I take Tylenol-I take 2 extra strength tablet, each 500mgs. Here, the pain killer I got was similar to a 25mg ibuprofen and was to be taken every six hours.

I felt like I really lived here the first time I wore a mask. When I came back from the USA, I was feeling pretty nasty. I didn’t want to spread these USA germs…because I worry that they might be stronger (like how medicines are stronger in the USA). That’s my reasoning. Everything is stronger at home so the germs must be too.

However, the breath mints here are way stronger. They about knock your socks off!

The apples are bigger.

You rent movies at a rental shop.

I’ve made some great relationships with students. I have students helping me learn Japanese. At lunch time I eat with a class. I enjoy this time, talking with students and eating new foods. The other day at lunch it was an entire (small) fish, with its head and skin still on…I tried a bite but then I had to give the rest away. I don’t like to see a creatures face unless I’m out hunting (looking) for them.

Japan Amazon is my favorite. I could order something today and have it within 24 hours. That’s crazy.

I’m still tired from the weekend. I think tonight might be a night of 12+ hours of sleep. That means I can go to bed at 7. That sounds magical. I’m such a baby. Dane-I wish you were here. I know you would fit in well with me on a Friday night! Have yet to meet someone with our mindset.

Update-I went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 3am. Sleeping just wasn’t in the cards for me last night. Urg. Try again tonight. My sleep still isn’t quite right for some reason. Anxiety, dokidoki? Unsure.  I was wishing that I was a preschooler again and my mom cold pick my clothes out and dress me because that was a demanding task this morning.

Oh yes. Last thing. I had a sentimental Clark Griswald moment last night as I recalled the happiness of life as a child. Last night I sat and watched a home video from 27 years ago. In this video, I was 1, my brothers were 5, 7 and 9 and my parents were 38. It is Christmas Eve and Christmas. I love hearing my parents voices, they still sound the same. I melted hearing all of our little voices. When you are little, life should be this wonderful. It makes me sad that it isn’t this way for all children. Since this video, everything has changed but nothing at the same time. That’s impossible, but it is true.

As always, glad to be apart of your day.

illie

JapanLife

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