Work is going surprisingly well now. I think it’s the combination of coming back from a restful vacation and the complete freedom I have allowed myself to feel. I have started to really let go of things, especially annoying colleagues and my lazy supervisor. Everyone is mostly out for themselves, and I’ve learned to put my body and my own mental health first. Soon, the school year will end and hopefully a staff rotation will mix things up. Although I don’t really think rotating teachers biyearly is a good idea for schools, I am secretly hoping one of the most set-in-her-ways teachers at my school will get transferred finally.
Anyway, I also have a lot to look forward to. My friends and I are promising to visit each other, planning weekends and trips around Japan, and I have a few concert dates coming up as well. Junkyu’s family is coming from Korea to visit Japan at the end of the month and I am really excited because I’m going to take them to an onsen in Fukuoka. Most hot springs are in Oita, but I found a great place that has lots to do and nice baths. When I lived in Kyoto, one of my favorite things was going to the bathhouse late at night to get rid of my shoulder tension by soaking in the medicated (green) water, letting the steam fill my nose.
My mom and grandma are also visiting from the end of March to the first week of April. My dad visited me in Japan when I was in Kyoto studying abroad, and we toured around Kyoto and Tokyo, indulging in food and sites. My mom is less keen on large cities, and I plan on going to Tokyo later in the year anyway, so my plan is to take her and my grandma around Fukuoka before going up to Osaka and to Universal Studios Japan.
With all these guests coming to my tatami-laden apartment, I need extra bedding to accommodate everyone. But the bigger problem I had was the amount of stuff I had accumulated over my year and a half since moving into my already furnished apartment. I guess I was lucky because some JETs have to start out in new apartments with higher rent and no furniture or even air conditioning when they first arrive. However, I feel like I have the opposite problem. My apartment has been housing JETs for years, and I know of at least three people before me who lived in it.
That means I had tons of random things in my apartment when I arrived, including speakers, a wardrobe with Christmas wallpaper on it, and a picnic table. While it was nice to have a bed and a kotatsu and a desk and chair, it is still quite strange believing this apartment is mine when I have to try to ignore these strange objects that would be too expensive and bothersome to remove.
However, I was the one responsible for never getting rid of old school schedules, receipts, and IKEA catalogs that cluttered my room and made my head hurt just looking at the mess. So over the weekend, I cleaned everything I could out. I ended up throwing away two or three trash bags full of unneeded paper and objects, and although I still have a lot of cardboard boxes to get rid of, my main room is now clean and organized, ready for my guests. I also ordered a new futon and will feel better about people sleeping over now. It was long overdue, but cleaning gives me a sense of pride and relief.
Soon, the cherry blossoms will be opening up to welcome my family to Japan for my birthday. This new sense of accomplishment has made it easier to read and study in my room. I can’t concentrate in a place of clutter. I know I’m not alone in wanting to minimize the amount of stuff I own and needing cleanliness to function. I’d highly recommend organizing and throwing out the things that are bothering you if you are finding a stifled sense of creativity or productiveness!