It’s Really Been A While

It feels like everytime I come on this blog, I’m talking about how long it’s been since I’ve blogged. This is one more time. I’ll give a quick summary of what’s happened up til now:

  • I’ve changed my position within my department about 5 times. The more people we get in from Japan, the more I got moved around to help those people. I’ve also trained one of my partners so she could help with my job. We work as a team of 3, and our teamwork has been pretty good to this day.
  • I’ve become friends with most of the other administrative assistants, and we help each other overcome the boredom that comes with being in this small town. We cook dinners and go to the movies together, we may go on trips to Seattle, Spokane, or Wenatchee to do activities. We also celebrated each others’ birthdays all throughout the year.
  • I missed the TOPIK test I talked about in the previous post. I registered for it, but could not change my reservation or make it back home to Atlanta at that time, so I just gave up on that $40.
  • Both grandparents visited me for Thanksgiving my first year up here. It was the first time my grandfather had been out here and saw my new life, and he enjoyed it. I think he fits the small town vibe more than my grandmother and I. My dad and little sister also came up early November to see me and my new life.
  • I reconnected with one of my Korean friends (that I met in Fukuoka) and he volunteered to help me keep up with my Korean. We were talking everyday on LINE for a good while.
  • I’ve been skiing/snowboarding, camping, hiking, etc. and done a lot more outdoor activities than I’m used to. I used to play football and kickball when I was a kid because the kids my age in my neighborhood were mostly boys; if I wanted to play, I had to play what they were playing (although I did convince them to play dolls with me a couple of times :p).
  • I returned to Japan February 2017 for a Kim Jaejoong concert, and met up with one of my friends. She let me stay at her place in Fukuoka, then we went to her parents’ place in Nagoya. That was the best 2 weeks of my life.
  • Someone TRIED to break into my apartment, but they were unsuccessful and caught by the police. They were arrested before for the same crime, so they were arrested this time as well. Shortly after, I was able to move into a new apartment in what feels like a safer neighborhood and now have a roommate.
  • I returned to Atlanta for my brother’s high school graduation. It was great seeing all the family again. 🙂
  • Got my first license (I was kind of late to the party lol), then bought my first car. It was more expensive than I would like to pay, but it couldn’t be helped at the time. Before I got my license/car, I cycled to work for about half a month. I felt really healthy because I was biking, but I also made fruit smoothies for breakfast every morning during that time.
  • I realized I liked one of the guys I work with. I didn’t know how to react to my feelings, so I never made a move. I don’t regret it too much because I know he’s the type of guy that will break my heart. We also got into an argument and haven’t talked in 3 months. He’s leaving soon to go to a different country, so he’ll be out of my hair, and I can move on.
  • I’ve been fishing and skydiving. These were on completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Fishing was calming and relaxing, but skydiving was exhilarating and exciting. My instructor even said she thought I had a mini seizure. @_@
  • I went to LA to hike with wolves, took an Aerial Silks class, and a hip hop dance class. I couldn’t keep up with the hip hop, but I had fun nonetheless. The aerial silks class was like yoga on fabric for me. It was calm and relaxing, but at the same time, I felt challenged and strong after.
  • I’m working in a completely different department within the department I was in. Where I was previously was more general, but now I’m in a more specific department.
  • I took JLPT N2 without studying. I just got my results back, and I didn’t pass, however, it was only because I missed the passing score for the vocab/Kanji/grammar section (you need 19 points and I had 14 >_>). I passed all the other sections. But now that I know that I can almost pass without trying hard at all, I believe I can pass with flying colors if I actually put in the effort. I feel more motivated to sit down and study (I still work at the Japanese company, however, I mostly improved the speaking portion of Japanese, not so much reading/writing).
  • I went back to Atlanta for 2 weeks over the Christmas break. I got to spend time with my family and friends, got my hair styled in box braids, and was able to do what I wanted while I was down there. I came back to Washington for work and am working hard to keep up with the resolutions I have set for myself.

In essence, I have been here for almost a year and a half, and a lot has happened. Looking back on it now, it seems like a lot of this stuff has happened so long ago, but compared to the 24 years I’ve been alive, 1 year seems like nothing. It’s crazy how time flies. I may be here another half a year or I may go somewhere else sooner. For now, all I can do is go with the flow, and see where that takes me.

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大変なこと

So the last time I typed on this blog, I said I had an interview. I did end up getting the job and it was VERY temporary. It literally only lasted from the beginning of May to the middle of June. But it was a job nonetheless, and I met wonderful people working there. At the time, I felt that I was blessed to be working with so many amazing people and I actually got to work with my grandmother as well. Now I can give you a rundown of my last couple of months:

In May, from the 9th to the end of the month, I was working. It was a job grading standardized tests (5th and 6th graders) on a 4 point scale. I literally felt like I was reading the same essays over and over. It was busy work where you sit at a desk all day reading papers, but as I said before, the people I worked with were amazing and they helped me get through the days.

I spent half of June working, and the other half not doing much of anything. I went to another beauty supply store and had a small conversation with a Korean woman this time. She seemed so happy that I was speaking to her in Korean (well trying to with my limited knowledge anyway). I treated myself to a manicure and pedicure (I don’t get those done often cause I’d rather do them myself), and bought more Japanese books (LOL) and other miscellaneous things. I also had an interview with another recruiter in (broken) Japanese.

Most of July, she helped me try to find a job. I went to an event called Praise in the Park, but other than that, not much happened. Oh! I registered for TOPIK II! I will be taking TOPIK II in Atlanta, assuming there’s not a problem getting there.

Which brings me to: AUGUST! My recruiter told me I had an interview, but didn’t say which company it was with. She told me about the job at the end of July, and literally August 5th I had an interview. I did as much preparation as I could for an interview in Japanese, but it ended up being in English haha. So my interview was that Friday, and literally that Monday, my recruiter said they liked my personality. Wednesday I was offered the job! The catch was I had to relocate to the other side of the country to a place I had never even heard of within 2 weeks. I had to search for my own place and everything. Relocation is tough. If you get nothing else from this post, try to make sure you always have money saved up because you never know what may come up. My grandmother came out here with me to help me get settled in, as this is my first job and I’m so far from the home that I know. We’ve really been enjoying ourselves out here despite it being a small town. After about 2 weeks, we’ve probably seen most of everything that there is to do, but we can make do. It gives me time to study, do arts and crafts, and spend less money since there’s nowhere to go. The only thing now is since I’m somewhere else, I have to fly back home to take TOPIK. I could wait and just miss out on $40, or I could fly back home, take the test and rush back to work the day after I get back. If I’m being honest, I don’t think I’m ready to take the test, but I would like to take it to measure my ability and see what I need to work on. If those sample tests were anything to go by, my writing is extra weak and I haven’t been practicing. I haven’t been reading much of anything either. I was studying in August despite everything going on, but I lost wifi when I moved and I’m not supposed to get it until Monday (it’s been torture without it _-_). I also ordered:

And it should be coming Wednesday!!!!! *along with my second check, so it’ll feel like Christmas* I’ll see how this book helps me. Now I’m putting a lot of focus into Korean because I get Japanese practice at my job. When I studied abroad in Fukuoka, there were so many Koreans it sometimes felt like we were studying in Korea instead. Now at my job, I’m surrounded by so much Japanese, it feels like I’m in Japan. I got the immersion I was asking for but not in the way I expected. I’m definitely not complaining. I can learn so much there. Now, instead of complaining about not having a job and no money to do anything, I’ll be complaining about bills and maybe how tired I am from my job. I may have more interesting things to talk about from now on since I’m actually doing stuff!

I hope I didn’t bore you. My main things now are: will I take TOPIK or wait for the next go round? What is in store for me on my job? How will I decorate my new place? (I already have a few ideas, I just need the money to handle it)

I’m also about to register for the JLPT in December as well. Tis the season of test-taking for me I guess. I need my money for that too.

Hello There!

*shifty eyes* It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Well here’s an update: I finished all of the Shin Kanzen Master Dokkai (Reading) book!!!! *throws confetti* It was a rough road, but I got through it, some kind of way. Again, I haven’t been studying Korean as much, but I’m not doing nothing so I feel good. I actually just heard from Korean Vitamin about KBS Radio’s 독서실 and it’s like an extra treasure chest of materials! That + TTMIK’s resources (I purchased Kyeungeun’s Audiobooks) = HEAVEN!!!! I love having extra resources. That’s why I keep buying books I know I don’t need lol. I went to the beauty supply store not too long ago and I spoke a bit of Korean to the clerk. He was shocked (of course) and I felt some satisfaction at being brave (I’m an extremely shy person). I’m going to go back to that store just to speak in Korean one day. A list of things that have happened in April:

  • Finished Shin Kanzen Master Dokkai (technically finished this May 2, but majority of it was done in April)
  • Spoke Korean to a store clerk
  • Prince’s death (my mom’s all time favorite singer)
  • Went to see Purple Rain in honor of his death
  • Job interview (it’s very possible that I’ll get the job, I feel like the interview went well)

Ummmm…I think that’s it for an update on what I’ve been up to! I also read this post (I just found her blog), and learned about the Super Challenge! Basically it’s reading 100 books (1 book = 50 pages) and watching 100 films (1 film = 90 minutes) by the end of December 2017. NOT 2016, 2017! This is not a typo. So there’s a LOT of time for this challenge, and I think I want to try it out. The only thing is I’m usually not good with long term things, so maybe halfway through I’ll forget or something…but I won’t let myself do that! (I hope). It gives me more reason to read through these Japanese books I have and watch more things. I’ve been so focused on reading lately that I almost forget I need to be listening too. At the moment I don’t have as many books in Korean, so I’m not sure if I should tack on Korean to the challenge as well. I’ll just go with the flow and see where I am. Mother’s Day is coming up! I have an idea on what to get Mommy, but I’m still trying to think of a gift for Grammy…if anybody’s out there…any gift ideas?

Birthday!

Guess who had a birthday yesterday! This girl did! *points to self* I celebrated with the family and I couldn’t ask for anything more…well we could have gone to Six Flags, but since it was supposed to rain, we decided to do dinner instead. Of course since we did that, it didn’t rain a drop on my birthday >_> I’m sure if we went to Six Flags instead, it would have rained all day because life and nature like to mock people like that.

I’ve slowly but surely been making progress in Japanese and Korean. Think I can make JLPT N2 by December? (Apparently we can only take the test in December in America and I doubt I’ll be in Japan by July haha) I think I can! I know I can! *pumps self up* I’ve been using the Shin Kanzen Master series and I plan to “revise” with the Sou-Matome Series. I figure they cover mostly the same grammar points and maybe I’ll learn something new from the second series.

I’ve also been really into Korean again. I stopped studying Korean to focus more on Japanese since that’s what I majored in, but my love for Korean has been rekindled. So I bought Talk To Me In Korean’s (TTMIK) Real Life Conversations book (and got 20% off cause I was one of the first 100 customers) and I love it! The conversations are thorough (for introductions, it’s not the basic “Hi, how are you? My name is John” or that 자기 소개 where you have to say like a paragraph introducing yourself in front of the class). The dialogues actually seem like situations that you could come across and I’ve laughed a few times cause the TTMIK staff knows how to keep things interesting…or maybe it’s just easy to make me laugh haha. I listen to the conversation once to check how much I understand, then i dictate it. By dictating (that’s a word right? O.o) it, I mean I write the dialogues line by line (I think a lot of people dictate by writing while listening, but I do better listening, then writing. Since I don’t write a lot, writing by hand is extra slow which is why i study the way I do.) I check my script against the actual transcript, make corrections, and look up words I don’t know. Then I check the English translation to make sure I’m understanding correctly, rewrite the entire correct dialogue (they’re usually about 1 minute and 30 seconds so it’s not too bad), and listen to the dialogue again while reading the correct script to re-enforce what I learned. There’s an exercise following with about 4-7 English sentences and you are asked to translate them to Korean. Then you move on to the next dialogue! I love the TTMIK team so much and you can tell they want their learners to understand and they have good quality products (this is bad English, don’t follow my example guys) and this is not a sponsored post, haha. I think I’m done bragging about the TTMIK team.

Oh! I’ve also been studying to get my permit, but now I might not take the permit test. Grammy said their (meaning grammy and papa) insurance cost will go up, and right now no one has the money to spare for that so…..gonna leave that alone for now. But I guess it’s still nice to know the rules of the road…although after reading the book, most of it just seems like common sense. I guess after so long riding in the car you just pick stuff up when it comes down to it.

Aaaaannnnnddd I’m done with this post! ^_^ Enjoy the rest of your March (in case I don’t make another post this month 😅)!!!!

Rejection

Haha now I guess I actually have something to talk about. I don’t remember if I talked about it here, but I applied for the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program for Fall 2016 and got rejected. For people interested in Japan/Japanese culture, that’s probably the most well known program where you can work in Japan for a year and all expenses are (pretty much) paid either as a teaching assistant or a coordinator for international relations (CIR). I could never picture myself teaching in front of a class of kids, so I applied for the CIR position. The CIR position isn’t as clear cut as the teaching position, but I was hoping to be able to put my 4 years of Japanese study to good use. At the moment, I can’t find anything else to do. This was one of the reasons I was so anxious about focusing on my Japanese; you have to be at a certain level to apply for the position so I definitely wanted to be at that level if I got the interview. There was also an option that you can choose to be considered as an assistant language teacher if they felt your skills were more qualified in that position. Apparently I was not qualified for either.

I had a nagging feeling I wouldn’t be picked, just like the Korean grad school feeling, but I guess a part of me just hoped that that feeling was just anxiousness or something. Now I know for sure that I got rejected. At least the wait is over. I can’t tell if I’m “heartbroken” or not. On the plus side, I don’t have to wait for an interview, but I can’t quite relax because I really need a job. I’m looking into some other stuff now.

At least I got my books that I’ve been waiting for. Maybe that gift to myself cushioned the blow of rejection…

Edit: just read through some old posts and realized I haven’t talked about getting rejected from the Korean grad school either. Hmmmm. Well since I keep saying I’m not doing anything, I was rejected by that program, too. To keep you all from reading very repetitive things, I’ll just summarize my feelings: they’re the same as above. I had that nagging feeling that I wouldn’t be accepted, but there was still a little glimmer of hope. Possibly because I feel like I know I’ll be rejected, it cushions the blow when I actually am. That’s all. Nothing too devastating.

I think I’m going to start reading my new light novels tomorrow: 12 Kingdoms.

Yaaaaaassssss!!!!

So on December 7, 2015, I ordered a series of light novels from cdjapan.com. The series I ordered is called 12 Kingdoms (there’s a Japanese and English version for all of the books I believe). I got all 10 Japanese volumes (it’s technically 8 but some of them are split into 2 books). I’m going to start reading them on Sunday! They say there’s no time like the present, but if I start doing something, I prefer to start on a Sunday. It’s Friday now, so I don’t have to wait long. This way the little wait I have gets me extra excited when it’s time to start.

I’ve been on a nocturnal schedule lately, but yesterday I think I finally reverted to a “normal” schedule. Mwahahahaha!

Here are some pics cause I was extra happy about getting my books:

Obligatory

Here’s my obligatory Happy New Year post so…Happy New Year!!!! There were good and bad times in 2015, but I and others got through it. Not everyone made it into the new year, but I’m glad to say I did. Hopefully this is my year to return to Japan. I don’t have a list of resolutions, but my goals haven’t changed: improve in Japanese and Korean. I’ll probably put a more detailed post later. I stayed up all night so I could try to get on a ‘normal’ schedule where I’m awake during the day and asleep at night. At the moment, it’s the opposite >< see ya later!