This time next week…..

The first thought that entered my head when I woke up this morning was
‘Oh, my God, why am I putting myself through this?’

I like to start every day with a talk with God, but today my mind flew straight to where I would be and what I would be doing next week, hence the question.

I will be waking up in a stranger’s house.
I will be in a country millions of miles away from home.
I will have to get ready for SCHOOL!
I will not be waking up to anything familiar.

….and the scariest of all, I will have caught three planes and a bus to get there!

Again I ask
‘Oh, my God, why am I putting myself through this?’

Peter says I can blame him, which I do anyway.
(Thanks for now giving me permission to do that, Honey)

So, I’m being pathetic today.

There are lots of reasons for ‘putting myself though this’
and every single one of them is good.

This is just the beginning of the adventure and whatever comes my way and however things turn out, I can handle it and I will be brave and I will not turn into that little eight year old, paralysed with fear at starting at a new school in a new town.

C’mon!
That was 38 years ago.

JAPAN
Here I come!

Let the Countdown Begin!

I mentioned some time ago that we would be heading off to Japan again, for a trip with a ‘twist’.
Well since then, things have changed around a little.
A trip is still coming up.
But the difference now, is different from the original difference.

The big difference now is that Peter,
my travelling companion, husband and interpreter will not be accompanying me – not at all.
Not even later, as I had hoped would be the case.
Peter, who introduced me to Japan and who loves Japan almost as much as he loves me is going to miss out!

I don’t even know whether it is worth going into what our original plans were, because they are not going to come to fruition.
Suffice it to say, I was upset and more than a little furious that his work wouldn’t allow him nine days of annual leave, so that he could meet me over there and we could do a couple of important things before coming home.

So, what was to be a month long trip for me and a two week long trip for Peter, which included volunteer work and visiting friends is now a two week trip for me and Peter stays home.
Enough said!

So, onto the itinerary (the new itinerary).

Why am I going to Japan alone for two weeks?
Good question.
I ask myself the very same thing several times a day!

Well, at my husband’s suggestion, I applied through the Australia Japan Society to attend a two week language and culture course, being held at the Ishikawa Foundation for International Exchange.

My application was accepted and in just over two weeks I will be off, alone, without my interpreter/travel guide/friend/advisor to a Japanese language school, where an attempt will be made to learn how to speak for myself in Japanese.

OK, OK, I know that two weeks will not see me fluently chatting away with girls in shops/people on trains/at the bank/in the post office/on the streets/in cafes or restaurants/hairdressers,
as I regularly do here, in English.

I may, after two weeks, be able to have a gramatically correct conversation with a two or three year old (and create Kanji-like scribble like a three year old).
I’ll give it my best shot, that’s all I can do.

It’s been a long time since I have been formally taught anything, but Peter says I have a ‘gift’ for languages.
(My mum says that too, because I can imitate accents pretty impressively)
So we’ll see how far this ‘gift’ can get me.
I might be updating the blog in Kanji next time you see me!

I will be staying with a Japanese family.
My ‘family’ actually consists of a mother aged 38 and
her daughter, aged 11.
I guess she is more of my host ‘sister’, rather than my host ‘mother’, since she is younger than me (just ever so slightly).
I can’t wait to meet them.
This is going to be so interesting!

For the time being, I picture myself walking down the street to catch the bus to school.

That’s about as far as my imagination is allowed to stretch at this point.
Because if I let it run loose I picture myself all alone, scared and confused, missing planes and buses (and I’m such a wimp, I’m not even going to attempt train travel without my interpreter) and meetings and being late for school and getting lost on the way to the bus stop and and and………..

So I picture myself walking down the street (we’ve checked it out on Google Earth) to catch the bus to school.

And just occassionally I picture myself in a depāto, on my favourite floor, the basement, buying groceries and delightful tidbits to take home to my host ‘sister’ and her daughter.
Peter says I should offer to cook them a meal.
I can do that..

I need to stop for now.
My imagination runs riot and I begin to get excited and we can’t have that, can we?
Not yet, anyway.
Departure date is two weeks from Friday.
There’s plenty of time for all the excitement and the accompanying emotion about returning to our beloved Japan.

If only my beloved was coming with me…

Reposted from IDRO Japan

http://idrojapan.posterous.com/returning-the-dead-in-tohoku

Returning the Dead in Tohoku

Rather difficult to capture with an I-phone, but here in Ogatsu-cho it
is the final day of obon, the time when the dead return to visit the
living. Here they send the spirits off in floating lanterns, tonight
watched over by the just waning moon. They move so slowly , taken by
the tide, as if the spirits are asking for one more day…

Dear Monday

Dear Monday

Shadow Shot Sunday

It’s the times when I am home when I wouldn’t  usually be home that I am surprised and delighted by the shadows that dance around my house, when no one is looking.

Shadow Shot Sunday celebrates shadows from all over the world.
If you would like to participate, please visit Hey Harriet’s blog.

***********

This week has been a funny week.

I have been alone since last Saturday, when I dropped my Peter man at the airport.

We have not spoken since then (only texted).
I worry that he can’t survive without my guidance screeching in his ear about everything!

He has written, if you can call poking a finger onto letters on the front of an iPhone writing, pages and pages and I have responded.
We have kept up a steady stream of communication, but if I don’t hear something the minute I know he wakes up (six hours after I have woken up) I panic.
He is in South Africa.
Because I know very little about South Africa, I believe he must be in constant danger, so my ‘thoughts’ take over and I imagine all sorts of calamities have occurred.

However, the problem is, in Peter’s words,
“They are really not anywhere near as techno-resourced as we are”
So, if I don’t hear anything it is not because he has been kidnapped, robbed of all his belongings (including his iPhone), eaten by a pack of marauding lions, or become lost on the savannah.

Will I ever be a relaxed, laid back, middle aged woman?
Or will I always be a timid, emotional little child with an overactive imagination?
No need to answer that, thanks.

Suffice to say, I have been alone.
Some things about being alone are good and others not so good, but overall, ‘doable’ as long as I don’t have food in the house – (see binging on anything and everything to relieve the boredom or whatever that dumb emotion is).

I have had time to blog.
I have had time to start a new blog.
What am I thinking?
I don’t even have time for this blog.

I have had time to clean.
I mean, really clean.
Not just a quick wipe over of everything with the nearest tissue or washing the floor with a piece of absorbent paper.
Well, that’s the plan, anyway.

So, I will get on with it.

I wanted to leave you with some words from today’s sermon.
The sermons at our church are usually very short – today’s was a bit longer (about 15 minutes).
I don’t think I need to go into detail and I don’t think you need to be a church-goer or even a believer in God for these words to resonate in your spirit like they did mine.

“We need beauty and we need magnificence to stimulate the soul”

Amen!

Dear Mrs May’s Naturals

Dear Mrs May’s Naturals.

Shadow Shot Sunday

It’s been such a while, but here I am for Shadow Shot Sunday.

I was off work, sick, a few weeks ago. I usually go into work later, when I feel better, but this day, I didn’t. I took the whole day off.

I was in my house when the shadows came, stayed and faded.

I was home all day, except for going out later to fetch the ingredients for dinner.

There really is no rest for the wicked.

Shadow Shot Sunday can be found at Hey Harriet.
I’ve missed all of this.
Go check it out and all are welcome to join in.
What a lovely bunch of people.