Once Upon a Tanbo

Archive for May 2008

Tomorrow I woke up with a nasty sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, I was going to try and make it to work, but honestly I was just feeling too cruddy so I called my supervisor and took the day off.

I usually don’t go to the doctor, but sore throats are usually the lead in to nasty colds for me so I decided to go this time and get some medicine since Ryohei’s major test is this weekend and if he got sick right before it because of me I would be so mad at myself. (We’ve instituted a no kissing rule until my throat stops hurting *cry*)

Anyways the clinic was nice and they asked me all these questions about where I was from, why I was in Japan and if I could eat natto. (I can’t) Haha. It wasn’t too bad and I went early enough that I was only there for about 40 mins total. Sometimes its up to a 2 wait with all the “Jiis” and “Baas” that come in with their various aliments.

My “project” is progressing? Well kind of? I dunno I’m hoping to hear back by the end of the week. *sigh* Baby steps, I did hear back from one place but its hard for a new translator starting out to be given work. But – I’m pretty persistent!

The more I go into my office, the more I realize how much I’d love to just work at home on my schedule. I just like sticking around in PJs and drinking milk tea while I work on my computer. hehe.

Literally at this point!
Sounds like theres a down right typhoon going on right outside my window.

Usually I hate when it rains, but I guess since today was a lazy Saturday afternoon, it kind of fit well.

Once again, its been a little bit in between updates. It feels like time is really flying lately, and I’ve barely had enough time to sit down in front of my computer for some free time. The last week or so at work has been constant translations coming in. I think I’ve had about 10 or so come in the last week. I had a really nasty tax related one yesterday. Oh my gosh, I wanted to just run away and cry. If I ever want to do any sort of technical translation in the future I am really going to have to start studying more.

I guess translation has been my life lately. (At least I’m finding something to keep myself busy)
I think I must have just hit a plateau a couple weeks ago when I was feeling all down in the dumps and blue. Hopefully, I’m headed on an up for a little bit this time. I had mentioned last time that I was in the process of signing up for a translation agency. Well, I successfully passed their entrance test, so I am now in their database of freelance translators. I haven’t heard anything from them yet (its only been a few days) but I’ve heard that a lot of agencies hesitate to use new translators at first, so we’ll see if I end up getting a request from them anywhere down the line.

My most exciting prospect is still in the middle of unfolding. I really don’t want to talk about it too much yet, but if things work out like I hope they will I will be so so so happy and excited. I’ve been working on a project, and I haven’t felt as ‘alive’ and ‘inspired’ as I have the past couple days in as long as I can remember. There’s still a chance that things might not go well, so as much as I just want rant on and on and on about it, I really don’t want to make a fool out of myself if things fall through. I hardly ever let myself get really worked up about something, and if doesn’t happen.. I can see myself falling into a bit of a slump for a while.

So yup.. translation… thats about it for my life right now.

Oh, I did get to see my best Japanese friend for the first time in about 2 years last week! It was so great to see her again. She is a crazy girl! It was so great to see her again, its funny because we haven’t actually spent that much time together, but we’ve just hit off since we first met 5 years ago when she was studying abroad in Boston. At that time I could barely speak any Japanese, I remember her trying to teach me the difference between the words refridgerator and freezer. I’ll actually be staying at her house for a couple nights when Ryohei and I go to Tokyo together next month, yay!

Anyways off to bed for now! Hope all you out there in blogland are having a good weekend.

On my break from work, here I am getting in a quick blog.

Ryohei left last night for Tokyo on the “night bus” apparently he’s at the huge festival at Asakusa right now. His first “real test” is tommorrow. Its not the main one though, that would be in two weeks from now if you can believe it! I can’t at all. Has it really been almost 6 months since we moved in together? Its gone by so quickly. And now with Ryohei’s tests finally coming up we’ll have some sort clarification as to what/where we will be after my contract ends next year.

Work has gotten busier. I should have known better to complain because last week I had assignments being handed to me from every different direction on top of the festival activities. I actually get to ride in a parade float tomorrow (はずかしい) I’m not really one for being in the spotlight so I’m more ambivalent about it than anything.

Being bored also inspired some more productivity. I’d been thinking about starting to get into freelance translation for a while now. I received a very long and helpful email from Kuri and feeling inspired by that took some steps to getting signed up with a couple translation agencies. I’ve already taken one “entrance test” which had good reception and am speaking with another about resume and portfolio, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction. Since I still have a full time job I’m not going full out with sending out resumes and trying to make contacts, but I wouldn’t mind taking the occasional job for some extra cash. Not sure if I’ll actually be getting any work from them right away but at least I’m doing something to head towards what I want to do when this job is over. It was nice to update my resume with “freelance translator” as of May 2008th. I also made a Japanese resume for the first time (that was interesting!) and updated my English resume as well. So I guess I’m trying to keep myself busy.

I’ve been pretty lonely recently. I haven’t really had any nonwork related social interaction since Lulu left. My best friend is back in America the last two weeks and well.. besides that I don’t really have any other friends here in Kobe. I have a couple friends in Osaka (the group that I wrote about a couple posts ago) but since everyone is busy with kids, and I’m busy with work we only get together about once a month. I think one of the reasons having kids seems so tempting is being BUSY ALL THE TIME would be such a nice change. Speaking of that… well, I don’t want to make too big of a fanfare about it but Ryohei and I finally decided when we will officially “stop protection/passively start trying for a baby.” So thats really exciting for both of us! We’ve both wanted a big family so we’ve decided its better to start now and 苦しむ for a couple years. So maybe within the next year or so I’ll have some exciting stuff to post about.

Well, since the pigeons decided to wake me up 40 minutes earlier than my alarm I’ve had quite a bit of free time this morning, so I figured I’d try and get in a blog before I went off to work.

There hasn’t been much excitement the past week. I think the only thing of interest is that Ryohei and I went on a “date” on Sunday to a station a couple stops away and ate Mr. Donuts in the park. Yup, fun times!!

Ryohei will be taking the night bus to Tokyo on Friday night and won’t be back until Monday morning. So this weekend I’m pretty much all by myself. Except that I’m not, because I’ll be working overtime the whole weekend for a festival thats going on here where I have to do some translation and take around some guests coming in from Seattle. So I guess that will keep me occupied.

As it gets closer to summer, I realize that I am getting closer to the last year of my job. Which means I’ve finally started looking into (somewhat) things I’m considering doing afterwards. Its hard though, because I’m “not supposed to” take on extra work so its kind of a delicate balance of showing interest but not having to commit immediately. We’ll see how it goes.

Just another month or two of all this unknowing. Well, this time next month we’ll know if Ryohei passed the (1st) court exam or not. *keeping my fingers crossed*

五月病

Posted on: May 10, 2008

There really just is something about May.
I am having a serious bout of Go-gatsu byou (May sickness) which refers to a general feeling of blueness and lowered productivity which apparently hits all of Japan in this month.

Since my trip to America in March I have been (for the most part) in good spirits, so feeling down and sad this past week has not been welcome. As always, my complaint is that this just isn’t working for me.

This = my life at the moment. But, there isn’t really anything I can do. This next year has to play out exactly in the way that it going now. I’m really not one for complaining but I really just need to get this all off my chest and if I can’t by blogging then there isn’t much else I can do.

I’m feeling not “burnt out” and not “unsatisfied” but just very meh about my job at the moment. I work about 35 hours per week but the actual hours spend “working per week” would be closer to 5 or 6. Which means that the other 30 or so I am just surfing the net, which sounds great, and usually is (on Monday) its really boring by the end of the week, especially since my work blocks most of the interesting sites.
Of course, I like the people in my office a lot, and I think its reciprocated so thats not really an issue. I just feel so blah everyday, and even though I don’t do too much I’m exhausted by the end of the day. To be honest, at this point I feel like I “have” to work because 1. the pay is good and 2. I need the second year of experience (or at least it feels like I do if doing at home translation is going to be an option in the future.

So many people my age seem so different, everyone is about career and climbing the corporate ladder etc etc.. I wonder why I just don’t have that desire in me. I’ve always had a clear idea about what I would do… until I went on JET. I’ve never had an “I want to do this” besides having kids and staying home with them. However, I know that just being a SAHM isn’t going to cut it financially especially with the age at which we wish to start and the number of kids Ryohei and I would someday love to have, so I’m perfectly happy to do something I enjoy (translation) out of my house if I can.

On the upside, I’m not feeling as worried about Ryohei. He did well on his last practice test… and last week he took his first “real” exam. (The one he least wanted to past as well as the hardest one) The test was two section “general knowledge” and “speciality.” A passing (to the next round) is a score of over .6 on both tests. Well, Ryohei looked up the results online and figured out that he got a .4 on the speciality and a .6(!) on the general knowledge!! I was so proud of him! He did “fail” technically but he did really really well especially for a test that he hadn’t specifically been studying for. When he told his teacher at school, he said he was told he had a good shot for some of the other less difficult tests. So, like I said even if its not this year, I’m sure that next year he will be fine. (so thats good)

Theres more but I don’t feel like going into it now.
Ryohei is sitting behind me giving me a lot of cuddles. I’m so so happy hes here, but I’m sick of our one room apartment and his computer being broken so he has to use mine, and just feeling blah in general.

Well this years Golden Week felt incredibly short, maybe because it was only 4 days in a row. However, I had a great time with Lulu who came down to visit from Friday evening until Monday morning.

We definitely had a lot packed into this mini-vacation, and I have to admit by the time she left I was pretty exhausted! (But only in a good way!)

Friday – After work I met up with Lulu and Sannomiya (the main station in Kobe.) Since it was only our first time meeting, and I can sometimes be a little shy when I first meet someone, I was a little bit nervous but Lulu was very sweet and talkative and I felt like I already knew her, especially since I’ve been a frequent reader of her blog for the last 6 months or so! I already felt like we were old friends by the time we got to my apartment. When Ryohei got out of school we went to the station to meet him and to celebrate Lulu’s coming to Kansai, we got (of course) Okonomiyaki! It was a very good dinner! Ryohei and Lulu got along really well and so I was happy about that as well. It was a nice relaxing dinner. Afterwards we went home and talked for a little bit but since we had a busy day the next day, we ended up getting a relatively early night.

Saturday – After I made some blueberry pancakes for breakfast (sadly, they didn’t turn out as well as I expected… I’m not a great pancake maker it seems) Ryohei headed into town for his classes and Lulu and I left as well. My friend Miranda had wanted to give me some things before she left for America on vacation so I had to drag Lulu out to her house with me. We ended up picking up some items and a supermarket and having a quick lunch there. We had a really good time talking with Miranda and playing with baby Toshi and also the cute kitty Ko-chan. I felt a little bad about dragging Lulu along with me, but I think she had a good time, and she and Miranda got along well, so I was happy about that! After an hour or 2 there, we went into Kobe City. We had planned to visit “Kitano” the old foreigner settlement in Kobe. As we were walking there we noticed that the streets were closed off and there were lots of people! Apparently there was a flower art show going on! They had several large portraits made completely from flowers. They were very beautiful! My personal favorite was the geisha girl one.

We spend about an hour or so visiting Kitano, but it was really crowded and there wasn’t too much to see so we ended up heading off to Osaka for my friend Muriel’s birthday party at the HARD ROCK CAFÉ. Yes, it deserves all caps. ϑ Muriel is the friend who invited me to Thanksgiving a couple months ago. I actually haven’t met her that many times since we live kind of far but she is a very funny, sweet girl. The party was a very good size! Only about 8 people, and the food… *drool* Lulu and I split a salad and then I had a pulled pork bbq sandwich. To finishing it off I ate a heavenly apple cobbler. I spent more money on that one dinner than I usually do in 3 or 4 but it was so worth it. I may have to go back again in a couple months (have to think up some excuse for it.) Anyways it was a great dinner. The only bad thing was that I really ate too much, I’m definitely not used to the huge American sized portions after almost 2 years in Japan. It was so hard to sleep at night on a full tummy. Oh! Shumpei also called and I got a chance to speak with him, he seems like a really nice guy with a good sense of humor, I’m looking forward to eventually being able to meet him someday!

Sunday – Sunday was our big day!! We went down to Nara from early in the morning. I live about 2 hours from Nara so it was a little bit of a trek, but Lulu and I seemed to have an endless amount of things to talk about so the journey went by really quickly. We were both starving by the time we got there so we had some curry and then headed into Nara Park. We first stopped by the 5 tier pagoda and took some pictures. After that we decided to head to the main attraction, the Todaiji, a giant temple that was first built in the 8th century with the giant Buddah. By this point it was hot and crowded, (but that’s Golden Week for you) there were so many line and people. We stopped by a little riverbed with some deer, including fawns!! They were so cute!! Lulu and I both took pictures with a very docile nice deer! After the interlude we made it to the Todaiji and took pictures and walked around. It was really impressive, but there were so many people and noise that it was hard to find any “zen.” I actually haven’t traveled too much around Japan so it was nice to finally find a famous relic.

I was feeling pretty zapped after that, but we decided to make a stop at an old fashioned Japanese garden before heading back. I was so happy that we did!! It was absolutely beautiful. At first we thought it was only this tiny little circular garden, but we soon discovered there was a whole backside and we must have spend at least 45 minutes or so going around the whole thing. Unlike the rest of the park, there were very few people in the garden and a very calming breeze was blowing. I felt so peaceful and happy. I would have liked to just stay there and relax for a long time, but it was getting late so after stopping for a cold drink and snack we took the two hour journey back home.

We met up with Ryohei in Sannomiya and had talked of going to karaoke, but the lines ended up being too long, and I’ll admit it, I was pretty tired and cranky, so I was kind of glad to go home. We ended up making Ryohei’s famous Niigata nabe, which I think went over well. We put some scallions in it this time, which was delicious!! I want to include them next time as well! After dinner, I was pretty much dead. (Sorry Lulu) So I wasn’t much fun… I could barely keep myself from falling asleep. So we went to bed pretty early around 10 pm!

Monday – Sadly, Lulu had to leave early in the morning to catch her shinkansen. We didn’t do too much, just eat some breakfast and chat. I was so sad that she was leaving. We had only been together 3 days but I felt like she was a good friend from long ago. Unfortunately, she’ll be off to Australia for the next year so we probably won’t be able to meet again until she returns. However, by the time she returns, hopefully I’ll have a better idea of what is going on with my life and I am sure that we will be seeing a lot of each other in the future. We have similar views on family and child-raising and we spent a lot of time talking about giving birth in Japan, taking vacations, and things that we wanted to do in the future. To be honest, it was the first time I ever think I have met someone who is on the exact same page in their life as me so it was really great to have her to talk to about various issues.
Anyways both Ryohei and I really loved her company, and I do feel really sad and lonely now that she’s gone!! It was a really great couple days!!

Come back again soon Lulu!!!! We miss you!!!

I had a great Golden Week with Lulu!!!
Unfortunately I haven’t had time to write about it yet but I will try and get a post up about all our adventures by the end of the day!!

Of course heres my fave pic of us to tide you all over!

Also!! Ryohei had his second court specific practice test yesterday and he passed!!!! He was so excited! I have to admit that I also breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’ll pass the real thing, but at least we are both reassured that the last 5 months havent been for nothing. I was so proud of him! So we had his favorite things for dinner… sashimi and hagan-daaz (not at the same time)