I posted part 1 (back then, I didn't know it was part 1) nearly a year ago.
A lot's changed since then, and a lot has stayed the same.
To start off with, I'm not stuck in the UK any more. I made it back to Japan, through quarantine, back into a job, back into a routine, in and out of local and national restrictions. I'm doing okay.
Japan doesn't do 'lockdown' like other countries, not in the strictest sense. Japan asks you very nicely, and hopes you'll stay indoors but won't punish you that harshly if you don't.
In that sense, it's been easier trying not to go stir-crazy over here, because apart from 14 days of self-quarantine on arrival I haven't been strictly housebound. I think, overall, that (while the world's still burning in general) my current living situation's a personal improvement.
I challenged myself to write another positive post, and more than that: to write something. It's been far too long since I updated this blog (sorry). I haven't been doing that much, even. Okay, 'taking it a day at a time' probably does count. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to get through some days.
But I haven't lost my love for writing. Not everything I need to get out of my system is that negative. Even when you count the sarcasm! I've wanted to write a proper update/addendum to the previous post for a while, so here it is.
I don't work from home right now, and I'm okay with that
I'm lucky to have found another job so soon after getting back, so going to the office every day is something I deal with. It's a straightforward commute, there aren't many people in the room, and my coworkers are considerate human beings who don't cough on the coffee machine.
(Why do I have to be in the office? Fax machine. I'll leave it at that.)
To be honest, going to work is a change of scenery most days. I get a bit of exercise walking to and from the station, and there's a supermarket on the way I can pop into. My daily step count isn't back up to pre-2019 levels, but it's getting there.
It's also where I can talk to more people in Japanese. This is my first job in Japan where nobody else in the office is a native English speaker. I get more conversation practice - I don't really have a choice. It gets me out of my comfort zone, and in the long run (if I want to stay here) that can only be a good thing.
Would I want to work from home if I had the chance? Yes. But not because I don't like the office, or the people - because I want to wear onesies to meetings, too.
I started finding new food experiences in my own kitchen
Strongly-worded, well-meaning government advice to not travel too widely has kept me in my local area, like a good little resident. I've discovered new and interesting things that are near enough on my doorstep. And I've learned to be less hard on myself for staying home on purpose all day.
As I write this, we're in the middle of the Obon summer holidays. I've got a week off work. In normal times, I'd have taken a trip to another part of Japan. Been to a summer festival. Gotten hideously sunburnt on a beach. But all of that's a no-no, so I haven't gone outside for 3 days straight. And it's been great!
I've made pancakes. It isn't even Pancake Day. Important note here: I'm not normally much of a cook, so this wasn't a simple task for me. It took about as long to clean up the kitchen as it did to make the damn pancakes. And I was totally okay with that.
There's a lot to be said for rest days, when you give yourself enough of a chance to rest. Roll on Christmas and New Year.
I HAVEN'T HAD A SEIZURE FOR OVER A YEAR
That's in all caps, because it's super important and bloody amazing.
At the time I published the first post, I'd been on anti-seizure medication for less than 2 months and the short-term side effects were still wearing me down. I wasn't 100% sure they were definitely working - a year later, I can say they definitely are.
The long-term side effects are something I need to continue to manage, but 'no more seizures' is a hell of a trade-off.
The medication I take is thankfully available here in Japan, but only the brand name version (more expensive than generic). As long as I can keep taking it - docs say I'll need to, for the rest of my life - I'll tough it out.
I can rebuild!
Am I excited for the future? Yes and no.
Do I want to write yet another post like this next year? Hell no, because that'd mean we're still under some kind of restrictions, which would suck.
Do I want to write yet another post? I'll try to, I just need to look harder for inspiration.
I want to change the focus of this blog back to creative writing, life in Japan in general, and being a copywriter - I'm moving all of my Aji WOW food reviews to a different dedicated blog. Keep up with both, and we'll see where things go.