Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kill 'em with Kindness pt1

I was called a bitch for most of my life.

Wow, I feel a lot better that I said that. 

Despite that...On Twitter I have come to have a reputation for being this super kind person. To be honest, I don't understand it. (o_O)

I've been doing things on the internet for a very long time. For those people who play computer FPS's do you know Red Faction? 

Credit; Voilition, Inc. & Wikipedia

It's similar to the Call of Duty of today, sans the real looking characters, complicated controls, and ten year old little boys who talk smack about 'your mom' or 'being gay'. 
I played back in middle school, a time when nobody believed I was a girl on the internet. Literally, nobody believed me and I enjoyed it that way. It was my own little world that I was good at. 
I also used to make YouTube videos doing goth make-up. I even got quite a few views on one of them--these days I wonder what would've happened if I had kept at it, but as YouTube got more popular and ads started happening, everything changed and I couldn't make those fancy edited videos people were making. Even to this day I really can't find the time or money to dedicate to so much editing. I really wish I enjoyed it enough but with my non-Mac computer and need to sleep at least eight hours a day--time will always be my weakness. 

Don't get me wrong, I think people who dedicate so much to it are really great, admirable and everything--but I simply wouldn't have the discipline for it. 

Anyway, I talk about this, because I have seen how people are on the internet for over ten years--and while that doesn't seem like much for my age, I've seen how people have acted on the internet all this time...

At first, putting yourself out there on YouTube wasn't a big deal--you didn't feel pressured about making the next biggest thing, most people who viewed made a comment, about 80% of the feedback was good, and well, ads weren't something people HAD to do (and then feel bad about doing). 

My mom always told me never to say mean things, not that her sailor mouth was kept shut, but just don't say hurtful things that will get back to you--and as I have learned over the years--yes, it will get back to you, no matter how secret you thought it was. 
On the internet I didn't ever say anything mean, just because I didn't see the point. 
Why should someone I don't know, get hated on for something that it's not their fault.

I'm going to say something mean.
Most stupid people--don't know they're stupid, so essentially it's not their fault, they can't help it, so there's no point wasting your energy.
The opposite is true for mean people, they are mean, rude and knowingly do it--but I refuse to publicly give into your meanness and so--I won't.

In middle school and high school, I realized that my tiny, tiny size (150cm, a little less than 5ft) Could result in being picked on. So I instead made sure that I was blatantly honest with people about how I felt, and I tended to kick people in the shin who made fun of me. I thought honestly was necessary, and even though I was putting people's feelings at risk, I liked to say things like it is, because it's better than lying. I really stink at lying, like honestly, I am no good at lying to anyone--especially my mom...

For these reasons, I have been able to apply being a nice person to my internet Me for a while now. To be honest, I never really thought people would reply and see that I am honestly complimenting them. I just do it with the hopes that when other people need it they will say the same for them. 

I love when people comment back, and tell me nice things, though I'm really terrible at taking compliments. So sometimes I don't start the back and forth because I realize that it's going to never end because I won't let them win and give me the final compliment.

I have come to love the internet for how much it has connected people. I have an instagram for people who enjoy pictures and for me who loves to show them. Yes I'm probably a narcissist, but I'm totally ok with that. I don't have a huge number of followers, but damn I feel good about the 150 I have at the moment. I have a twitter for saying random things that are short enough to fit into a micro blog, and can talk with people that I would have no other way of having gotten to know. My twitter friends are actual friends to me, whether they share the sentiment or not I wouldn't mind either way. I will compliment, and worry, and give uplifting words when they need them. I have a tumblr, well, I really only have it to find cute pictures on the internet, I'm not the biggest fan of what it has turned into these days, and my phone doesn't handle too many gifs very well so I don't really check it often enough...but, it's there.

I really just hope people stop being mean. The internet is a horrid place, and even despite my kindness, there have been times when it back fires...a shame really. I can't seem to understand why people feel the need to complain, on the internet, about things that have no affect on you. No offence, but as a woman, all we do is complain, and I totally understand that--but usually it's about things that directly affect us. But for those people, who randomly complain about things that now and will probably never have anything to do with them--what's the point of looking like a bitch on the internet? 

I was called a bitch for kicking people in the shins and blatant honestly, it's a title I wore proudly because I was aware of what and why I did things. But why look like a jerk online, to a group of people or how they do things... Sorry, had to rant a bit.

My main point is this;
Spread kindness and it will be the best infection.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Real Talk: Love your Job

You don’t have to love every single thing about your job.
But have something that makes you cry the happiest tears.
A long time ago I used to really love my job, this was a time when my teachers did most of the work, I just contributed a few things here and there. But for the most part, I didn’t do all that much and walked around lost because I had no idea what I was doing. (Like most teachers in their first ‘teaching’ job.) I really enjoyed waking up every morning to go to work though. I cared for my kids as much as anyone would for like over a hundred something teens who give just enough attention class and what’s being taught. It was I guess my honeymoon period in my job. A small school, a great couple of teachers (all are really nice but the ones I worked in class with), nice enough kids.
But then, I got to the not-so-happy period of my job. After the first year or so, I started to dread waking up in the morning. I started telling my mom that it would be hard to go home because finding a good full time job would be impossible. She always supported me and told me my room was the way I left it but then other days that she wouldn’t pay for my ticket back home. A little kind when I needed it, but strict when I needed to stop being a cry-baby.
Reality is the worst slap in the face you will ever deal with. Growing up. It happens when you least expect it. Apparently I’ve been doing it this whole time? I pay my bills as soon as I get them, I have money to eat McDonalds when I don’t want to cook, I can enjoy mall trips with Ryosuke on the weekends. I have actually been doing this adult thing for a while, I still don’t see it as I need my mom to talk to every morning and evening and I miss her hugs more than anything in the world, and if I could do anything I wanted for a day it would be to go home and be with my family. But anyway!
I don’t know about having a full time job in America, or anywhere else other than Japan. I’ve had part time jobs all throughout the end of high school and college. So I don’t know if it’s the same thing for other people my age doing the whole adult thing. What I do know is that MOST people my age didn’t plan ahead like I did.
In high school I knew what I wanted to do. I would go to college, study abroad, then graduate and get a job in Japan teaching English, then get married and be a full time house wife. These were my goals and there would be nothing to get in my way.
Up until the marriage part, (which isn’t far off), I have achieved all of my dreams. So for me to have that honeymoon scene ripped apart and literally cry to my mom at night of how much I wanted to quit and go home—things seemed to not be going as planned.
I’m pretty sure most people out there have dealt with being sad from time to time, and a fair amount have had their moments of the truest depression. In simple terms, I am not excluded from the latter. Because of this when I hit a slump, it’s a REALLY bad one.
(But I am fortunate, my mom has always told me the harshest of things to strengthen me far beyond the control it could have had over me. I love her more than words will ever allow me to express for it, and I can only dream of being a strong woman like her one day. )
These slumps were happening more and more often, and I was honestly considering to use all my saved money to send everything home and leave when my contract would be over this year. I delayed sending back emails indicating my possible extension which only resulted in more emails reminding me to reply—my anxiety was on the up and up.
But then, one day, in school, I cried tears that have not happened until this point.
One of my kids, who is a bit of a pain in the behind, responded to my teachers English question with a quickness. Now keep in mind that his response was in Japanese, but he understood the question as if it were his own native tongue and responded simply—without pretending to not understand or resist. It’s always been a give and take with him and he usually just sits at his desk, and stares at the wall until the bell rings

© http://spongebob.wikia.com/wiki/Encyclopedia_SpongeBobia
—so for him to respond, with a quickness and not in a rude manner…I cried the happiest tears like a damn fountain.
It was at this point that I realized, I love my kids—and for that, I love my job too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Right in the Middle

from Wikipedia

Gunma prefecture is referred to as 'the belly button of Japan'. Personally, I had no idea that Gunma was a prefecture IN Japan and I swear that I thought I was being sent to Korea when I was told where I would be 'teaching'. It is a prefecture within the mountains, and everywhere you look---mountains.

I want to say this is the closest to real Japan as one could possibly get. There are enough foreign people in some of the bigger cities to be diverse and not completely oblivious to the world around them, while still being full of nature.

After a bit of Wikipedia, I calculated that while Gunma is approximately 29% big cities while the rest are small villages and rural towns. Most of them were 'eaten' (merged) into the bigger (area-wise) cities so some rural areas look like big cities, but are actually a big merging of small villages.

As for the rural areas, ESPECIALLY--Gunma can be explained in two simple words: cars and snow.

I feel like it's something that only people living in rural areas have the priviledge of experiencing. See, in Gunma, anywhere you live--you need a car. Whether you live in the capital or up high in the moutains--you need a car.  
I live in up on a hill and whenever it's my turn to drive, I need to go down a very steep hill to get to my boyfriends house. If you are not used to it, and from a land where there are no mountians, you will panic! But once you get over it, it's actually a lot of fun--except when it snows...

Everyone in Gunma has a car, and because of this--drivers are both good and horrid-omg-get-off-the-road-you're-endangering-my-life-please-stop drivers. Old people usually are good about putting the old people sign and new drivers put their new driver sign. 

Top Left: New Drivers / Top Middle/Left: Elderly

The roads though, are a different ballgame entirely. The bigger cities have big, wide, newly renovated roads. But the smaller cities/towns like the one I live in--have many one-ways and slim, bumpy roads that are supposed to fit two cars.
Most people have small kei-cars (yellow plate cars that are light-weight and max out at a certain CC) which are easy to fit on these small roads.
Then you have the jerks, who insist on having massive American brand SUVs that barely fit themselves on the road--much less them and another kei car.
Let's just say it can be very stressful when you turn a corner and see another on-coming car.

For this reason Gunma's drivers test is very, very difficult and for those of us that are from countries that do not have a contract with Japan to simply switch over their cry over how difficult it is to honestly pass.
(Took me three times, and I cried when I passed. While the woman who passed with me was on her ninth.)


Glass Museum boyfriend, sister and I visited in FEBRUARY

I am from a land where our winters get down to 50F and at that point my mother tells me not to speak when I walk outside so as not to strain my voice and get sick.

Now, if you live in the big cities, you don't have much of a reason to buy a snow shovel, and can expect cold temperatures but for the most part very little snow--changing your car tires only a mere suggestion if you plan on visiting other cities in the prefecture.

But I, on the other hand, live in a town where the snow begins near the end of December and piles in dirty piles of snow until end of February. My snow tires stay on until about April just to be safe. Similarly, the cherry blossoms also play it safe and don't appear until mid April while everyone in Tokyo has already finished their cherry blossom viewing drinking parties...

I don't like the cold...(nor do I prefer heat, I'm never really happy with any season fully). So one would imagine I wouldn't stay here for much longer--but, to be honest, to see all the seasons to their fullest, makes me happy in a weird way.

Miami has no snow or seasons for that matter, but snow is really pretty and the sound of crunchy snow under your boots makes me giggle like a small child.

My first winter here was the snowpocalypse of 2014 and people literally died...during the month of February for two weekends the snow piled so much that my school had to cancel classes and the snow was up to my waist. That time, the cold did bother me anyway... (>_>)

With snow, there are quite a few places available to ski and snowboard. But as I mentioned earlier, I do not do any sports or activities as such--so I don't really care about them. I hate them for the simple fact that it brings in large unnecessary crowds of people from all around to crowd-up my morning Lawson trip and the roads in the mornings/weekends.

I went to a ski resort with my boyfriend last month and the only reason was to visit friends who worked at a cafe in the resort main building. The trip was fairly quick since we live so far into the mountains and the cold wasn't much different than when I walk outside my apartment in the shade. Watching people skiing and snowboarding literally made me want to do it less and less.
Really sunny day

'Big Cities'

I really stress on these ''s because even the biggest city can not compare to the size and business of Tokyo. The biggest city is Takasaki, not the capital Maebashi (Takasaki ate a bunch of smaller towns so size wise it won). It is full of tall buildings and has lots of convenient local transportation, even a bullet train hub--but when a friend who lived in Tokyo came to town...she said Takasaki is nothing like the real big city in Japan.

She said something, that I really had never thought of until that moment.
'The sky looks really wide here.'

Even in the suburb of Miami, the sky is wide--as in, it's not blocked by lots of buildings and I can always see all around me. But even when I visited Tokyo, I had never noticed that--you don't have a 360 view of the sky at all times.

The biggest city, Takasaki, still cannot compare to Tokyo, but it does have all the ammenities one would seek out of a more densly populated area and really that's all that I can ask for when I go. Even still it's about an hour and a half to two hour drive or a 45minute train ride away and it's a trek that is more times than not, more trouble than it's worth.

I hear that their winter's are nothing like those up in the mountains. It is fairly hot most days and the mountains are far enough to be pretty landscape, but not much to drive into unless you want to go to the shrines and temples.

As for Maebashi, temperatures are roughly the same, but being semi-at-the-foot of Mt. Akagi it's more likely you are going need to drive into the mountains from time to time but the views are so stunning, especially at night, that it's totally worth the mini-panic attacks on roads with very little traffic.

I do admit that there are more trendy places to eat in either city, and the malls are the best reason to frequent--but I'm glad to not actually live in them and only have to travel there on the weekends by choice for shopping or delicious hamburgers.


TINZ Burger Market★Takasaki

I wish it didn't take an hour and something to get there, because those burgers are so delicious I could die. I miss my American food, and those times when I want to shell out the yennies for it--I always indulge.

World Heritage Site

Japan has quite a few of them within the country, but did you know that one of them is in Gunma?

Top Left: Tomioka Silk Mill (remaining are *related industrial sites) 

Most recently the Tomioka Silk Mill has been inducted and business there has been booming. I myself have been dying to go and see the silk worms and I really want to get the silk worm chocolates! Women are the main ones to work with them and you can even do hands-on activities! When I go, I will make a better post about it.

 The crowds will go down eventually and I will make the trip out there, for now the reports on TV have stopped and normal news has progressed along--so soon enough I can go without worrying about things.

Gunma has many things to be proud of and I have to say I am too.

Gunma is my home, and will be my home for probably the rest of my life. I am happy to say I reside in the countryside and despite that there isn't too much to do, I can lead a simple and slow lifestyle. I invite you to visit this beautiful place, really let your lungs take in some clean, country air.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Staying in Japan.

I always find myself telling people, I'll stay in Japan forever. I don't like planes as it is so I don't visit much and I really don't plan on every permanently going back.
I tend to be a person who says things and usually accomplished those things.

I was saying I would study abroad->graduate->get a job and move to Japan way before I finished high school. And, I did all of it. I had to figure things out along the way but I did it.

Now a'days my newest venture is that I will in fact stay here for the rest of my life. I plan to get married and be able to quit my job and be a housewife and have babies and happily ever after.

I honestly didn't really think much of it.
Until I wanted to go home. 
The many times I cried about missing my mom, and telling her my job was too much--I honestly thought about giving up my newest plan... but I really started to think about it.
Why was my subconscious so hell-bent on staying here~

I want to stay in Japan because...

Living in Miami scares the hell out of me.

Let's rewind to when I was a little tinier girl. My parents have always told me:
Don't go out at night.
Always watch you back.
Be careful of who you talk to.
Don't go anywhere by yourself (which changed when I was in high school).
Always carry your cellphone (from middle school for texting my mom).
The list goes on and on~

So needless to say, it would be obvious that I would end up with EXTREME anxiety. :)

I didn't grow up in the hood or anything, on the contrary, I grew up in a pretty decent suburb. No giant house or frequent trips to Disney kind of decent, but not dangerous or anything. And for the most part I lived in a cul-de-sac were I knew everyone and my family lived in it too. 
Either way, by the time I was old enough to really fathom the news and crime rates and everything, I realized that I was growing steadily more paranoid of even living in my own home. I worried someone would come in and do horrible things.

I had panic attacks when people would knock on the door or when people came to check the water/gas lines. I never answered the house phone and very rarely left the house.

When I did study abroad in Japan I felt--safe. Now I am fully aware that Japan has crime and it's not completely none existent or anything. But I don't feel like I have to look over my shoulder every five seconds.
This doesn't mean that my anxiety has poofed away or anything. I still make sure I have my house keys in hand when I get out of my car and OCD check that I locked my door upon leaving, even if it is to just throw away trash. But the actual rate of getting robbed or shot is, considerably low compared to where I grew up.

So, despite the times when I'm down missing my mom every second of every day, and missing food that I can actually properly eat often, and Taco Bell, I stay here, by choice, because I feel safe.

I am a mama's girl and an only child, so for me it IS a big deal when I miss my family. I have a good job and a loving boyfriend here, but for someone who has never properly left my mom's side--it's a struggle, but I have decided long before I even realized it--I will stay probably forever.

Living in the mountains

Mountains...everywhere 0_0

I am an 'English teacher' living in Gunma and plan to write a blog about things that go on in this simple area. There isn't much to do around if you're not into outdoorsy activities and I'm a princess from Miami, so that leaves me beach-less and bored especially when the nearest mall is an hour and something drive away.
(Which I also don't drive that far for fear of getting lost so my boyfriend drives me everywhere.♡ )
What a hunk (color contacts)
I also really enjoy talking about Japanese societal things with a different perspective than most. I grew up in a Latin/American household (note: Latin/American not Latin American) and I tend to think a bit more along the Japanese way of women serving men (while being ruled by a very strong woman whom you did NOT want to piss off). :)
My life is what I consider boring, with random adventures with my darling within the prefecture. It's simple, but structured and I am fully happy to have it and be living in the one place in the world that I feel like is my home. I won't talk much about my job, I 'teach' English. You can read many blogs about how that goes and you will probably have a different experience if you come and work here so I won't go much into that. One dedicated post maybe and then that'll be that. 

Name: Katrina
Age: 23
Hometown: Miami, Fl
Currently: Gunma, Japan
Hobbies: Watching Movies/TV
Height: Teeny Tiny
Dark hair/Dark Eyes/Vampire White Skin
Love using BeautyPlus App♡