Monday, March 29, 2010

Post-Sickness Reflections

I know I've said this before, but after an extended lull, I'm back. The day after my birthday, I caught a nasty cold while traversing the streets of Kofu in an attempt to fix my glasses (see previous entry), which turned into a nasty inflammation that plagued me for most of the month and lead to a fever that had me down for three days.

It's amazing how much brighter the world looks after you've been sick. Excruciating pain and discomfort that make boiling teawater an extended chore are now replaced with the same healthy everyday feeling you've taken for granted your whole life--though now, the world seems ripe for the taking. Going through terrible experiences (sickness, unemployment, middle school) make the world seem so much more inviting. I always thought that overcoming tragedy must be the secret to true happiness, because I never feel so good as when I've put something terrible behind me.

However, someone recently pointed out to me the utter idiocy of this viewpoint. Overcoming tragedy to take pleasure in the mundane may be a quick fix, but it quickly leads again to discontent. Then we find ourselves looking for more problems to get over to regain that pleasurable feeling. No, real contentment lies in being satisfied, or even happy, with your life as it is and where it's going, not in mundane obstacles you've surmounted.

Damn. There I go again thinking things were going to be easy.

In the meantime, I've fallen behind on everything, chiefly the Mix CD Swap, the Carcrash Parker script, my Japanese study, and this blog. Never fear though; in the coming weeks, expect more of the usual ramblings, plus some more themed pieces, and an chance to introduce some Guest Bloggers further down the road. Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Titles to Unwritten Blog Entries from the Last Two Weeks

- In which the author learns how to play shogi (Japanese chess) but is at a loss for a partner since the only people who actually play the game are junior high-school students.

- In which the author struggles to contain his dribbling mucus in a culture where blowing one's nose is considered rude.

- In which the author and a band of other foreigners (two of which are not quite certain on the rules) attempt to play poker around a small table precariously balanced on a tatami floor

- In which the author badly bends his new glasses and must navigate half-blind his way to and purchase food at an unfamiliar Japanese grocery store

- In which the author flirts with several Japanese women of low English-speaking ability, and finds more incentive to study their language

- In which the author fakes his way through a painfully formal business meeting by making jokes instead of real answers, and earns his superiors' disgust

- In which the author threatens to take away the chair of a twelve-year old student constantly hovering near sleep

- In which the author shamelessly rips off the lengthy chapter title homages used by J. Maarten Troost in his travel books, and makes subsequent apologies therein