A loss is not a waste of time

Next month, I will be taking the N2 level of the Japanese Language Placement Test (JLPT). My renewed interest in Japanese prompted me to sign up a couple months ago. I certainly understand more now than I did during my disastrous attempt 2.5 years ago, during which I was woefully unprepared. Still, I don’t feelContinue reading “A loss is not a waste of time”

There’s always something new to see

I’ve lived in the same suburban town here in Japan for over 3 years. So, I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that I’ve been in and out of its main train station hundreds of times. Yesterday, I went for an evening walk and short stop in the supermarket. When I was heading backContinue reading “There’s always something new to see”

Consider your own impact

“You seem to have it all together.” I’ve been told some version of this by several coworkers. Yet instead of that, my mind is often occupied with comparisons to the other teachers around me and how I *feel* I fall short to them. What I assume are their perceptions of me are actually self-criticisms inContinue reading “Consider your own impact”

How much do you want it?

I had an opportunity to apply for a one-week program in Japan organized by my high school, but I allowed fear to get in the way of me going for it. Five years later, as a college junior, I came across a summer study abroad opportunity in Japan. I was aware of other opportunities, butContinue reading “How much do you want it?”

Why just accept it?

During my first year as an undergraduate, I was determined to get as many general education requirements out of the way as possible. One of those requirements was in the wellness category. I had not done much yoga by that point, but a class in which I would do stretching and breath work rather thanContinue reading “Why just accept it?”

What’s your criteria?

In a conversation with a student about the arts, I talked about playing in my high school’s orchestra. It wasn’t just that I liked (and still like) classical music. My being there was part of a bigger, intentional effort. When I was applying for high schools, my top choice needed to fit three criteria: ItContinue reading “What’s your criteria?”

Push through the mess

When I haven’t exercised in a long time, it shows: I’m stiff, the moves that used to be manageable for me are a struggle, and I find myself pausing and/or modifying more than I would like. I do the exercise anyway, knowing that my form is not great and I am moving slower than theContinue reading “Push through the mess”

You are as you see yourself

I’ve written here before about not feeling confident enough to call myself a writer. But what does it mean to be a writer, anyway? Rather, what do I think I should be doing to count as a writer? Writers work on their manuscripts every day, and go to writing clubs and writing events to pontificateContinue reading “You are as you see yourself”