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Monday, May 12, 2014

The End of the Beginning

I started a new journal a while back. My first one is full and now shelved. In an oddly ceremonious way (for me at least) I even wrote a sendoff for that volume, which I'll retype in an edited form here for you.

Final Entry

Wednesday April 23rd 4:24 pm

It's been a while. Looking back on the first entries up to this point is bound to be fascinating. I definitely could not have predicted that I would have had as many experiences as have been documented within these pages. My story is both long and new. Still 4 months out from having completed one whole year on this program, there is much left to tell I'm sure. Even when that point comes I'll still be within what I hope is the infancy of my time in Japan. I don't know what to expect and I'm unsure of what I will do but rest assured that I will do my best to preserve it much as I have just done here. 


     I started that journal on July 27th 2013 2:07 am, likely in my own room, definitely after the "Bon Voyage" party. This is what I love about the journal. I feel as though I'm the archaeologist of my own life. With the unearthing of each entry I gain more knowledge as to who this person was, and how the stories recounted on the page tell me little things about him. It's of course possible to read through the journal and just enjoy the entries for what they are; ingesting one at a time following a steady course of events day by day. But it has become far more interesting to wander the nebulous regions of why I chose to write what I wrote; to be a critical thinker of my own thoughts.

Before that starts to sound too pretentious allow me a chance to explain.

     Let's talk about the time stamp. It was something that I started when I kept a journal in Kofu-cho. The Kofu-cho experience (which sounds like a laser light show now) is a huge story for another time, preferably by camp fire with marshmallows and no chocolate, because I'm boring. The short version though is as follows: I was living there with my girlfriend in an attempt to pad out the resume by volunteering at - honestly - whatever school would let me. But back to the time stamp: I'm not sure why I decided to do it. Nevertheless, it carried over into the way that each journal entry opens now. That '2:07 am' says a lot more than the entry does, I think. This is what I mean by studying my own thoughts.
     It's extremely precise for whatever reason, but moreover it seems to indicate that I was deeply intent on carefully detailing every minute (quite literally) of my experience. This may be thought of as nitpicking, but I think the level of excitement I was trying to contain was captured in as little as simply writing down the time. The day I started that journal was the day before I had to fly out of LAX. That was also the day when we had our previously mentioned farewell party. I know I didn't stay late, but what I know from that entry is that I certainly didn't go to bed quickly either. I was up, alert and attentive enough to write down my thoughts in a journal, which in fact requires a lot more concentration than one thinks. There are no backspaces with ink. You can only scratch out what you've written, and I think I admire that aspect of writing with a pen and paper still.
     That was only one example of studying myself, but I'll keep this one short for today. It's fun to write down thoughts and I encourage more people to do it, especially by hand despite how tedious it may first appear. It's a bit like exercising, and if you met me in person you'd know I'm all about that with my one-pack; continuity is easier than starting off.     
     Based on what I read so far, here's a final thought: If I divided the journal entries into binary distinctions of either positive or negative impact, and then plotted those against time on a Cartesian Plane of my existence here in Japan, you'd end up with one hell of a differential equation.

Which is to say that my life is truly a roller coaster here.


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