Thursday, May 01, 2014

Trying to not become completely scattered

First just let me respond to the list of "upcoming things" from the previous post because it seems unfair to leave them hanging.

- Asymptote Journal translation contest results (Really crossing my fingers for even an honorable mention.)

This didn't pan out for me, but maybe I can see why. The experience of doing it was still great and getting permission from the author meant more than anything.

Manga Translation Battle results (Already a finalist so that is pretty cool! Would be great to win in my category.)

My friend and I did actually win in our category. That gave me a smidgeon of confidence and has led to other opportunities.

- Seeing the 有頂天家族 stage play on the 19th. (You can imagine how excited I am about this!)

The play was great, although it reminded me of the anime "The Tatami Galaxy" (based on a novel by the same author) in that everyone talked a thousand miles a minute. Super demanding performances, but the music kept it fun and the staging was really creative.

- Will I be giving English lessons again? It's a possibility. (You know I would have to have a really good reason.)

I don't know.

- Taking a course called "The Modern and Postmodern" online.

I dropped immediately because with work and everything it would have been impossible.

- Accompanying a Japanese director to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival to promote/hopefully accept awards for this.

He won Best Animation. I didn't do as much interpretation as I thought I would, but that is fine since I'm not an interpreter anyways.

Honestly my brain seriously feels like it's full of fog half the time. I'd like to blame the Internet, but it's how you use it that matters.

Yeah, maybe you can tell I've been stuck in a negative quagmire. Things are actually going good but I am never satisfied with myself. There has to be a way to be better or know more or—wait do I even really want to know? But how can I [x] if I don't know [y]? I'll never stop feeling like a poser.

Lately there is so much thinking I want to do, but I feel like I can't do it alone. I guess since I am alone, I should blog, but it just highlights how by myself I am in my room. Also, I love listening and discussing. I think better when I'm listening and asking questions than trying to say something. So yeah, I guess that means I should read more, and asks questions to my blog. I don't know.

Here are common themes lately...

Pointlessness of life: I can't remember exactly when the bottom dropped out of everything and my sense of purpose was plunged into a vat of existential crisis acid below, but maybe about a month ago. A little over a month ago? I feel better than I did for a while, but I still struggle to see how anything really has meaning. The key is to be happy enough that you don't realize. I guess the friction of superficial struggle (When in my life has anything been really hard or bad? Never.) has worn through my emotional flesh till the bones of despair started poking through. My underweight soul? I guess in that sense you could say I gave it a sugar rush the past couple days, but of course I knew it was going to crash...

The main outcome of this acute consciousness of my steadily approaching of death is that I really want to read and understand philosophy to see how other people think the meaning of life is and what you should spend your time doing. I do still want to translate, but I don't know what else I should do or if I should even actively engage in ANYTHING because I "should" do it. I can start to feel really motivated for totally questionable reasons (Love? What is that anyways?), but things like, say, my self-preservation instinct, are feeling kind of dulled. (I made a dentist appointment today, though. Pretty happy about that.)

My shrink ray vs. the world: I said this a little bit in Japanese on FB in Japanese and some people read it and いいね'd but no one engaged on the topic at hand even of the people who did (Thanks, those peeps!) comment. Actually, why don't I just translate ("restate in more fluent English") what I said. It was only 4 days ago. "At some point it seems like it became unacceptable to think about things that aren't Japanese. The reason for this is ostensibly that I won't be able to specialize if I don't focus, but it's not like I've actually been focusing or specializing anyways (*cry*). It just seems like I've made my world really small. It's quite vexing. But there's also a good chance that's a symptom of my recent existential crisis, and it seems like I'm kind of wandering. Anyways, when it gets to be summer, a lot of things will change, so even if I make huge efforts to figure things out now, all I'll be doing is consuming energy…is a convenient excuse I can make, so at least there's that (lol). Yes, I would much like to postpone this existential crisis, except…apparently…I am my greatest obstacle…"

But no, so there's a little more to it than that, too. Just basically, focusing on Japanese to the extent that I actively avoid things that aren't Japanese, is toxic. It's like I've 鎖国'd myself up in some weird Japan dreamworld but the stress of it makes it so I'm not happy or focused anyways? On the one hand if I am genuinely not interested in something that is fine, but the guilt I feel for wanting to see a movie in English or study another language is not. I guess it's partly because I want to keep improving at work (translating, writing) so anything that is not related to further those goals seems like the enemy, but I gotta get a step back from that. Like a hundred steps. I dunno. Honestly this train of thought is like a cancer lately and it's also kind of tied to…

Get your country out of my face: The next time someone says to me, "Wow, you must really love Japan," I kind of want to say "no." I think it's honestly true, though. Do I "love" Japan?!? Really? The country, Japan? No. My current answer is that I love Japanese. That is actually true. But it's not JUST Japanese. I picked Japanese as my working language because I happen to like anime, manga, Japanese lit, Japanese movies, etc. So to some extent, I enjoy Japanese media, but does that mean I LOVE Japan? Maybe if "People who love Japanese love Japan" were a correct premise, but I don't think it is.

If I sound angry, I'm not. I'm just stressed. Also, I don't love ANY country. I just want to focus on people. And try not to feel so negative.

Korean: I started learning Korean. The unfortunate (and therefore funny) thing is that it looks like this is directly tied to all the stuff I was just saying. It's not. At most it's a coincidental dovetail. It stems from completely different questionable motives, rest assured. More on this later, since I want to blog about how embarrassingly painful it is to start learning a language from 0.

Upcoming things…

Golden Week: I actually had the day off today—what the hell. I went to the office and it was locked. This used to happen a lot on holidays but today was not even a holiday; that's why I was surprised. I guess because this week is so Golden. Tomorrow I have to work. Saturday I'm working and then hanging out with a friend. Sunday I'm going to see a couple plays. Monday I'm going to a poetry event. Tuesday I imagine I have to work as normal, but that is fine with me.

Work: No kidding. No, but specifically… I've been at the newspaper for a year now, which normally you would like celebrate or something, but instead I quit. For good reasons, not bad reasons. This is actually the first time I'm saying that in public, but I don't think there's any reason not to? More on my new job later. Basically the next couple months are a big transition. I need to try to just let it happen and not fret so much.


Wisconsin: Well, since my sister is getting married I have to plan a trip home in October. Actually, what's awkward (in terms of my life in Japan) is that I have to really go in September. I guess I just have to accept there is nothing I can do about this and relay it to my various bosses who are generally  understanding.

In general I'd say I feel like things are pretty intense. I need to try to be more patient, open, and positive, especially when I'm with other people.

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