I'm addicted to the net!
This is going to just be a bunch of random stuff because hey, I haven't written anything in my blog for like 2 months now.
The reason is, generally, I only feel like writing when I'm pissed off or depressed about something (which seems to be often) but I worried about appearing to be too negative so when I had the urge to write about being depressed or pissed off I resisted and instead didn't write anything.
I do appear to be addicted to the Net. Reading and writing E−mail, scanning the Internet for new stuff. It's not a real addiction meaning that if there is something else to fill my time I have no trouble stopping. But, there is nothing else to fill my time at the moment.
Since the last time I wrote the whole Terror thing has happened, the war has started. I've discussed that with several friends in e−mail.
I finished last sememester. I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. Japanese has gotten alot harder lately and I've lost most interest in studying outside of class or in particular in homework. I got a 78% on my final which is pretty crappy for me. The only consolation is that it's passing and the highest score in the class was 90% by a girl that's actually already fluent in speaking (her mom is Japanese and she's lived in Japan for the last 6 years going to junior high and high school). She's only taking the class because she can't read Japanese kanji very well.
There are lots of excuses as to why I don't do my homework. It's boring. The grammer is not important in that I seem to be able to get my point across without it. Of course it is important to be able to understand it when it does come up but it doesn't come up enough to be able to remember it. 60% of it is for written Japanese only. It's hard to integrate into everyday coversation. Of course I don't get conversation everyday. Maybe 2 or 3 days a week. All those are just excuses I guess.
I'm also told I should watch more Japanese TV but truthfully there is nothing interesting on most of the time. In fact the most interesting stuff is American movies dubbed in Japanese but those only come on about twice a week. Last night I watched the end of Survivor, the outback version in dubbed Japanese.
I would also like to read in Japanese and I know that the more I read the easier it will get but I'm not able to get myself to do it because currently it's SOOO HARD. One page of text might take 2 hours or more to read. I suppose it depends on how much I really want to understand it but of course the less I understand the less interesting it is. I still really haven't found anything that holds my interest enough to make my want to continue to read0. And, generally I find that within 5 to 10 minutes, I realize that I have started daydreaming or thinking of something else instead of reading.
So, back to the net. For whatever reason, the net seems to be always interesting. Probably kind of in the same way MTV used to be always interesting back in the 80s when it was more music, less programs. You'd watch and if the current music video was not interesting you'd just wait 3 minutes for the next one. With the net you just click over to another page or follow a few links.
I don't think the net is really all that addicting or I should say BAD. Lots of people look at spending time on the net as bad but the net is full of literature, articles, animations, movies, photos, etc. Like they say, it really is the NEW media. Instead of reading a magazine I can read similar stuff on the net. Instead of writing letters I can write e−mail. Instead of watching TV I can view Flash anims or Atomfilms movies. Instead of going to a musuem I can view all kinds of exhibits. My point is that where as nobody would complain about somebody sitting in their living room reading a book for 4 to 6 hours or reading a newspaper, when other people get exactly the same info from the net somehow it's considered wrong. I all I can say to that is "come join the present", the Net generation.
But, lately I've been spending entire days on the net. Yesterday for example I was on the net from 1pm until 3am. I took 2 breaks for getting something to eat and one to go to the doctor.
Oh, by the way I'm sick. Two days ago I came down with a cold. It started as a sore throat. The sore throat seems much better today but my nose is kind of messed up. I hate being sick more than anything in the world but at least it's not as bad as it could be.
I'm starting to like certain things about the Japanese medical system. I'm not a big fan of socialized medicine so there are all those issues but, probably because of the way Tokyo works with 80% or more of the population not using a car, that means everybody pretty much, without fail, has a doctors office within walking distance of their home. Mine is about a 4 minute walk. And, for the most part, all doctors offices in Tokyo are the walk in kind. No appointment required which I mostly like as long as the wait is not too long.
It's that 4 minute walk thing though that has me visiting the doctor. In the states I generally never knew where to go. At least recently. When I lived in Costa Mesa I did sign up at a clinic so that I could just go whenever I wanted to. If I went without an appointment it would be a 30 to 60 minute wait. If went with one usually 10 minutes or less.
Also, this time, I think I trust the doctor vs when I was at Sega and I was falsely told I had Hepatitis. The first one I went to when I got back to the states made me wait 1 hour even with an appointment and looked at my for 5 minutes and billed the insurance company $200.
In other news I am quickly running out of money. I've got $5k in my Japanese bank account. That will run out sometime in December which means I really need to decide what I'm going to do next and to be honest I haven't a clue what I want to do.
My Japanese is still not at a useful level. Well, it's useful to make aquaintances but it's not at a level where I could put it on my resume'. As in like it's not useful for being a go−between for an American / Japanese business. My impression is that would take another year to 18 months to get to that level. I'm basing that on the ammount I've improved in the last year and the fact that one of my friends was here 3 years to get to that level and I've been here a total of 21 months so 15 more months would equal 3 years.
But, then I'm not so sure because since I'm out of money, studying fulltime for the next 18 months is out of the question, so, I'd need a job. Maybe that would be better and maybe it wouldn't. I'd probably get more daily Japanese speaking practice but I'd get less study so learning new grammer and vocabulary would come slower I think (although based on my experience so far I can't imaging it getting any slower since it feels like it's already at zero).
And, I also can't decide what I want to do? Do I want to stay in Japan? Do I want to go somewhere else? What kind of job? Do I just want to be a programmer again? Do I want some other kind of job? Game industry again? Different industry? I'm really not sure. Being a programmer again in the game industry is the easiest thing because that's where my experience and confidence is. It's where it would be easiest to find a job. But, I'm 36 and doing the same thing I've been doing for the last 18 years is starting to seem stale. Unless of course it's something insanely cool.
And that's really it. If somebody offered me a job to work on something that was clearly insanely cool I'd probably take it. (Assuming it wasn't in Kansas or Iowa). Those chances are few and far between though. Especially because I'm pretty critical so what lots of recruiters might think is cool is not so cool to me. Working on the next Zelda is insanely cool. Maybe working on Grand Theft Auto III would be cool. Working on the next MotoGP or the next movie license just sounds like a waste of my life although of course if it comes to a choice between living in the gutter and working on that crap I'll work.
On the other hand I had no idea what I'd do outside of the game industry and to be honest I still have dreams of making my own hit game. Acutally, that's one of the depressing thoughts, here I had a year off, actually it's been 15 months already and I could have spent all of it making my game. Now it's going to be back to work with that whole "I'm too tired to do anything outside of work" thing going.
I called my friend Tom Tanaka the other day, mostly because I hadn't heard from him more than like twice in e−mail in the last year. As I was talking to him I realized, maybe I've said this before, that I've only had *real* conversations about 4 times in the last year. There was Hawaii last January, my Mom and Grandma in April, one American Superwoman I met named Noriko, Evan for my Birthday and then Tom a few days ago.
Is it any wonder I write so much e−mail?
I seriously need to figure out what I'm going to do next. If I'm leaving Japan I practically already need to start packing and even if I'm not, to get a job requires a work visa which takes around 2 months to get so if I found the job today I couldn't start until the middle of December. Since I probably won't decide for a while, since I can't make up my mind, I will have to figure out what I'm going to do. I know one classmate that basically had to go back to her country to wait for her work visa. That to me would suck because I think, if I came back to the U.S. for any extended period I wouldn't want to come back to Japan (except maybe to escape the Anthrax 😖)