Seriously! 2020 is a science fiction year! It’s the year of “Cyberpunk 2020.” We’ve already passed Blade Runner and Crysis. Before this decade is over we’ll have caught up to Terminator! What is happening?!?
Anyway, 2019 was a pretty momentous year for me. Come with me as I journey back in time and halfway across the world.
Well, in December 2018 I finally graduated college. It took me freaking forever to finish, but I finally escaped. A year later I still have the occasional nightmare about being in college, but when I wake up I enjoy the relief of knowing it was just a dream.
On a brighter note, I got to be a volunteer staff member for ICF (International Christian Fellowship). As a volunteer, I helped plan and run events in the club.
I was blessed to also join the trip to Catalina Island in April.
On my actual birthday I was in San Francisco picking up my Japanese visa, but beforehand I had a birthday party at my friend Juri’s apartment.
Oh, right. I’d say that that was another significant change. I moved to the other side of the world.
Because I didn’t leave for Japan until May 29th, I was also around for the end-of-semester party at ICF.
I was very pleasantly surprised to see that Juri had made a memento for me.
I took it with me–it has a permanent home on the wall in front of my desk.
I was also surprised by my students, who made this card for me the final time I subbed at Coronado.
Getting to Japan was uneventful. I did, however, face challenges while adjusting to life in Japan.
For example, everything is too short. I don’t know how many times I hit my head on things during my first couple weeks here.
The students and teachers at my school are wonderful! I was very fortunate to be assigned to this school.
Once, I drew a penguin on the board because the lesson for that day included animals. The next day, I was surprised that not only was the penguin still there, but that the students enshrined it.
After work and on weekends I very much enjoyed exploring Kitakyushu.
Furthermore, I did some traveling during the summer. Yoshiko-sensei, who teaches Japanese at Coronado, came to Kyushu during summer vacation. She is from Kumamoto so she visited her family there, then came up to Fukuoka.
I met other friends who came to Fukuoka as well.
In August I visited Tokyo, Saitama, Yokohama, Nara, and Osaka.
After I got back from my travels, however, my vacation was over. I have a schedule for my book series; I write one chapter per week for 40 weeks per year. (Ten weeks are spent on editing, research and preparation for the next volume, etc.; and the last two weeks are vacation.) But during my first two months in Japan I wrote almost nothing. I had no motivation or energy because of the negative stress of getting used to life in a foreign country and learning how to do my job well–and the positive stress of enjoying life in Japan and exploring. So during the second half of August I worked on my book for 12 hours per day to catch up. I barely managed to get back on schedule before school started, and then I resumed my normal schedule of working on it about three hours every weeknight and about 12 hours on Saturdays. (Sundays are for church and relaxation.)
In the beginning of December, less than two weeks before my self-imposed deadline to publish, I had a dream that I had somehow forgotten to write 13 chapters of the 38 chapter book.
Fortunately, I published on time.
Finally, during winter vacation I visited another friend from ICF, Saki. You can see the pictures here.
This year was special in many ways. For one thing, it’s my first year in Japan and the first year of the Reiwa Era. Next year is sure to bring yet more changes. I’m planning to move to a different city, try to settle in and grow roots, and maybe stop being single. (Oh, how I wish to marry!) Here’s hoping….