Ohisashiburi! It has been a long time, but I’m back now.
Today started off like many of my days recently. Wake up to my first alarm. Turn off alarm. Turn on the heat. Turn on water heater. Sleep again. Wake up to second alarm. Roll over. Grab phone. Check e-mail. Check Facebook. Determine if room temperature is adequate. Get up? Yes. Make coffee. Make toast. Watch anime. Wake up.
After an episode or two I realized that today actually isn’t like the other days though! Today is the first day since before I came to Japan that I haven’t had a speech that still needed to be written!
Sadly enough, I had fallen into a downward spiraling routine of procrastination. But it wasn’t just simple procrastination because I also determined not to go do other things because if I did, I definitely wouldn’t write my speech. So I would only procrastinate in my room, hoping that since I was in my room and no where else, maybe, just maybe, I will write something. Eventually, fed up with my lack of motivation, I forced myself to think from the beginning about what and why I was writing this. My Impressions of Japan from a Foreigner’s Perspective speech for the Kagawa Systemized Goodwill Guide association in Takamatsu. I had become lost in what I actually wanted to say. In hindsight, I suppose that isn’t too surprising considering the massive flood of impressions I have gathered these last two months. So after a couple self-induced slaps to the face, I took my computer, unplugged my ethernet cable, and sat down upon my bed and didn’t move until it was finished.
Realizing that today was a new day, I shut my computer and went outside onto my balcony and looked out across Kagawa (a view you all saw many times from my last post’s pictures) and felt the wind anew upon my face. I needed something besides the speech’s completion to shake me out of my flatlining rut. “What have I been denying myself because of my speech,” I thought. Ah yes, my blog! “I’ll get to that later.” Right then and there I determined to go for a run. Get the juices flowing!
Off I went. One direction. Away from my dorm and towards the beckoning sea. I was hurting at first: cramped legs and sore muscles slowing my pace. But eventually I was well on my way and slowly feeling more and more powerful. I followed the bike path from my dorm (which for some reason cars drive down as well) and when it ended, went north and short ways, then back west. I had reached the sea after about 15 minutes.
By then I was in my groove and yearning for challenge and adventure, so I decided to get lost. I took a new way home, a way that led me through the amassed houses, huts, and hovels that extend all the way to the base of my backyard mountain. I dove into the twisting streets, turning left and right, all the while my path getting narrower. At first a car could pass, then only a compact, then only a motorcycle, then only me. After more twists and turns I would emerge back onto another car road and then dive right back in. It all reminded me of my very first run in Japan that I had taken the morning after my flight in Osaka.
Except today was narrower, with no skyscrapers.
For 2o minutes I explored the maze of alleyways, passing by hanging laundry, rice paddies, and barking dogs, all the while keeping my eyes to the sky, using my mountain’s peak as my compass. Eventually, I emerged onto a street that I knew well; one by which I had returned from Yashima Temple previously. “Well that’s no good,” I thought. So I turned again, bounded up some stairs, squeezed through a narrow gap between buildings, and kept going.
Running alongside the base of my mountain, I eventually, inevitably, came across familiar territory once more. Keen to keep the endorphines flowing, instead of turning south, away from the mountain and towards home, I turned the other way, and began climbing my way upwards, still amidst the houses scattered at the mountain’s base. Finally, I found what I was looking for, the jinja shrine that I first ran up upon my arrival in the Yashima dormitory. I surged up the the steep slope, determined to keep my pace, and finally I reached the top, gasping for breath. Like Rocky, I turned around to face my accomplishment and threw my fists up to the sky!
At that moment, my day’s goal had been realized. My motivation and determination had returned!
“I am in Japan!”