At the edge of the horizon

At the edge of the horizon
At the edge of Japan

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Renewal (in preparation for the new year)

I've had plans to write a number of posts the past month, but none of them have actually happened.  I want to blame it on being overworked and exhausted every time I come home from work (which is actually a valid reason since I've been working 12 hour days for the past 2 months), but I think I've also just been prioritizing my time elsewhere.

So let's do a few quick bullet points to let you know what I've been working on: 

  1. In July, I resolved to begin studying Japanese again with a tutor in order to finally take the JLPT.  I did this and took the JLPT in early December.  I am still far too lazy with my Japanese studies to accomplish my original language acquisition goal.  Sometimes I write in Japanese and sometimes I don't.  I rarely ever speak Japanese and frankly, I think one has to speak a language to learn it.  My listening is actually decent, I suppose.  I don't always understand what people are saying though.  I'll find out the results in January. In my dreams, I'd love to aim for N3 by the summer, but it's looking like it'll be N4 level for me.
  2. I wrote an article on Mao Ishikawa and her recent photography exhibition, "Fences FUCK YOU!" in response to the US military fences in Henoko.  There is so much to write about in regards to this issue itself.  The balance of power in Okinawa is so lopsided, it's unbelievable.  Japan just had another election because the PM stepped down.  Now a new PM is in power and he's ready to deliver the promises made to the US, especially in relation to Okinawa, but also in relation to Japan's Defense Forces. There is too much to write about regarding this and a tiny bullet point isn't the place for it. 
  3. I have noticed that with my life in Okinawa now being based at one school, I haven't posted enough about the beauty and wonder I generally experience on a daily basis while living on this island.  I resolve to do that from now on.**  In relation to this topic, I have been devising an endurance performance project combining a long distance hike from Southern Okinawa to Northern Okinawa and various dance and site specific performances along the hike path.  I hope to do this in March, when the weather is better.  More info on this soon.  This is also in preparation for a longer, soul-searching hike I am dreaming about on the Nakasendo Way 中山道between Kyoto and Tokyo.  I want to walk this before leaving Japan, whether I leave in the next year or in 2 years from now.
  4. I restarted NEW NEWS, a performance and literary laboratory series that I was organizing in the US before I came to Japan.  It'll be hosted at Cotonoha Gallery in Ginowan, Okinawa.  I'll post more information about it soon. 
  5. I lead my school to place at all three speech contests this year.  My school is now officially the Third Place school.  I'm really proud of my students for trusting me to help lead them to win.  I demand a lot of time, preparation and energy from these kids, and they give me 150%+.  Coming from a theater background, I train them with that knowledge.  I am really proud of them, especially my most recent speech contest student (who overcame a cell phone incessantly ringing during her speech).  My students prove that they don't have to go to a super-duper high level academic school (or private school) to make to finals and place.  
  6. I love Okinawa and Japan, despite its flaws and issues (maybe sometimes also because of those things).  I have come to love it so much that leaving it seems unbearable to me.  I know I will have to leave it though, because it's not my home and it's not where I belong for the rest of my life.  Still, I am very happy I am here, even on days when I miss my family and friends in the USA.  
  7. I am nearly finished with my screenplay and have started working on a book (which is a dream project of mine).  I have enlisted help from a writing coach to get it to come together realistically.
Life is good and I am happy most of the time.  I have a long way to go in terms of where I want to eventually be in my life, but every moment I get is the moment I cherish the most.  I wish you, my dear friends and readers, good luck, good health and all the best for 2013.  I plan to update regularly and may update before the New Year again.  It's a promise and resolution I plan not to break. 

Thank you for spending time reading my words.



PS ** Spent a lovely Saturday last weekend up in Uruma at Katsuren Castle with friends. The weather was gorgeous as were the views of Okinawa. 

From the cliff of Katsuren Castle, looking towards lower Chubu.

The walls of Katsuren

The remains of an old feudal Ryukyu castle in Central-North Okinawa

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