Arrived back in Japan after a quick holiday trip to the US. It was a wonderful time with the friends and family. I checked off a lot from the “I want to eat this when I get back” list1. My partner was able to put more faces to names and vice versa. The family back home is working hard and persevering through tough challenges. But they’re also filling it up with laughter and love. I am so incredibly proud of them. This trip was hard to return from.

Last year, I managed to pass the JLPT N2. This was a huge personal goal for a long time2. I also proposed and got married. Which still does not yet feel real. We’ve been together for a number of —very fast, but somehow the same length— years, so we were okay with a short engagement. I feel this last year was largely focused around those two things. I had both a 1-on-1 and a JLPT class every week for the year. Those continued even after I took and passed the test. After the proposal, we were spending weekends gathering documents; preparing Christmas gifts, photo books, and goodie bags for our “btw I got married” party in the US.

This year, we still have a few marriage related things to do: A photography session; Meeting more of the Japanese family; the Honeymoon! We didn’t do a ceremony, wedding registry, or a formal reception. But there’s a few things that we feel are still worth going through the motions of doing.

On the “hobby” side of things. I want to paint, read, and write more3. My plan on how to do that this year is to make more space to get bored. Be less quick to fill in my time with youtube, twitch, podcasts, social medias, etc. In previous attempts to make the best use of these, I would try and optimize my following for what I was trying to accomplish. Follow more Japanese teachers for studying Japanese. Follow more artists to inspire me. Listen to podcasts on writing from authors. My mindset would be along the lines of: if I am not doing the thing I should be doing, I am moving the knowledge needle at least a little. This is not working. I’ve been desensitized by the firehose of content that nothing motivates me to action anymore. Slowly gathering knowledge without applying it does nothing. It’s a book idea without a word written. I want to be so uncomfortably bored that creative action is a relief. And if I can’t get myself to do one of those things. I’ll just go outside.

Lately, I finish up with work and be too mentally exhausted to do something creative. I often read or journal at the end of the day to empty the tank. I am curious if this intentional boredom could make it more energizing to do creative work? It might not. I might end up just being bored and that’s fine too.

Other bits:

  1. BBQ, spicy honey pizza, a good burger, beef pho, frosty and fries. ↩︎

  2. N2 is much closer to “ok, NOW you can learn the real stuff.” than it is a real meaningful goal. But regardless, was happy to finally hit it. ↩︎

  3. I feel these have been my “main 3” on my mind for a while, but last year and a half was largely putting the Japanese studying as the focus. This year, I’d like to focus more on the creative side of things. ↩︎