The Spring Advantage

Pretty soon it will be spring break for me and I will be on vacation with my family! Spring in Japan is always gorgeous and I think it’s safe to say it’s my favorite season. The plum blossoms have already bloomed, and now in Fukuoka we are waiting on the cherry blossoms, which are scheduled for the week my mom comes to Japan. The cherry blossom trees in my city run along the river and are really gorgeous to bike past or take a walk under.

It rained for a good few days but cleared up this weekend and it’s supposed to stay that way for a while. Then I woke up this morning to a dingy sky full of air pollution, something I never worried about back in Tennessee. When the pollution gets really bad, they warn people not to go outside or do heavy exercise outdoors since the particles are bad for you lungs. I hope this dust clears away soon.

I have been reading enough to keep up with my reading challenge, but I realize I spend a lot of time doing things that stress me out rather than doing things like reading or relaxing. I’ve been trying to cut down on social media and I haven’t actually posted a status on Facebook in a long time. I have to keep using it since it’s the only way I can contact many of my friends across Japan and around the world, but reading books and studying would be a much better use of my time.

Today I plan on getting lots of studying and reading done, and I am going to set more health goals for myself. I need to get back in shape for spring and summer, since I will be doing a lot of traveling and I want to be able to hike up to see pretty scenery and all around Universal Studios in Osaka. Now that it’s not freezing in my house anymore, I’ve put away my kotatsu and have been able to go without any kind of heating for almost a week now. That means I can use my actual desk, stop sitting on the floor, and stop making the excuse that it’s too cold to get up.

I feel like I’ve been in a food rut recently since I always make the same things. I need new recipes I can try out that don’t involve too many complicated ingredients, since I can’t get a lot of things in Japan that I normally can in America. I need to expand my repertoire, but also cooking for one is sometimes depressing. I have more fun when I have someone over I can cook for and we can eat together.

My Korean studies have been going pretty well lately, and when I was cleaning my desk, I found the Korean textbook I bought a while back. It’s an intermediate level textbook in Japanese, and when I first bought it and tried to use it, I realized the Korean was over my level and the fact that it was in Japanese made it more of a challenge. I decided to work on more basic grammar and vocab before tackling it, but this week when I started using it again, I flew through the first few pages. I have to do the listening sections today and maybe I will put the audio on my ipod so I can do it at work as well.

It’s so amazing to see myself progress through Korean. I have been fluent in Japanese for years now, so I sometimes forget how much work it actually took and how long it took me to reach that point where I felt comfortable. Of course, even today I still can’t understand everything, and I think it took me realizing that I wasn’t ever going to be perfect to motivate myself to really study Korean every day. I’m really impatient and learning a language takes patience. I just have to remember to study a little every day and then I will be able to look back at the things I didn’t understand and realize how far I’ve come.

I bought a few new books on my Kindle and one hardback. I try to stay away from hardbacks since I know I’m going to have to move all of my books and stuff in the summer, but I couldn’t resist. I ordered Korea: The Impossible Country in hardback because I need to get my Korean history fix in it’s full physical glory. I loved reading about South Korea’s pop culture and how the country turned around it’s image with Kpop (you can read my review of that book here) and now I’m ready to delve into more history. I can’t wait till the book comes in the mail.

The weather is so nice now that I’ve been dying to go shopping for new clothes. First, I need to organize and give away some of my clothes I don’t need anymore, but soon I will be in Korea shopping my butt off. Korean fashion has really caught my eye recently and I can’t wait to hit the streets looking like a Korean actress. Wait for me, Busan!