Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nanowrimo (Day 1: 1696 words)

Part of the reason that I've avoided the JET programme as the subject matter for one of my Nanowrimo projects is because I really want that one to be "right". In my other projects, I've dealt with characters, situations, nationalities and languages that I know really well, or at least feel confident with conjuring. However, because of the international nature of the experience in the JET programme, it's harder for me to create these characters, and feel as if it's authentic.

Secondly, I can't decide on the time frame or point of view. Let's start at the beginning. What was the beginning, actually? Was it when I walked through each airport exit stage, escorted by smiling strangers in matching T-shirts, while feeling more alone than welcomed? Or was it when I smiled out little white lies to a panel of Japanese interviewers about the extent of my resiliency, and ability to shake things off that may perhaps become culturally and repetitively annoying? Or was it when my best friend at the time wooed me with images of adventure and hi-jinks in a foreign-er than foreign land?

I do think it's most appropriate to start on the day that I fished out my horrendously heavy luggage from the baggage claim, and struggled to carry them out the automatic doors, where a great wall of wet heat greeted me to Japan's unexpected tropic, cured ever so conveniently with a "hanbaiki" delivered bottle of bitter green tea. But that's not the point. It's not about me or my experiences. It's about meshing together others' lives in a way that reflects the sky of a single day.

By the way, I ought to interject here before I get too far into what I intend to do and forget to introduce my objective to the reader. Perhaps the someone skimming through these mish-mashes tends to get peeved when one talks about a project in which they intend on partaking before they've had a chance to see it. If you hate when people spoil entertainment events through updates and a poor sense of written tact, then perhaps this Nanowrimo isn't for you. If you have even in some point in the past, had this happen where you wished that you hadn't heard anything at all before partaking in entertainment, be forewarned. This Nanowrimo November 50,000 word "novel" month is going to be dedicated to all my sussings-out of how I intend on portraying an experience as a member of the aforementioned journey through teaching English in Japan.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I can go ahead and release the built up strain in my eyes, and allow them to roll around and succumb to all the sarcastic stretching they need after that last paragraph. I mean, for reals, do we really need yet another English teacher in Japan writing about her impressions of how the intricacies of living in this place affect the people around her? I must ask myself what do I think it is that sets me apart from everyone else who's writing about these people in this place all over their cleverly named blogs? I must and I have. I know that I'll be the person writing this portrait of a young group of women and men, and because of that point, my scent will be in its nuance, my fingerprints on the mirrored letters from my extra bouncy, slightly loud keyboard. Yes, this much is true, however, however, however.....

My desire is to portray "the" experience to the best of my ability. I suppose the dear reader ought to feel sorry for me for attempting such a holographic task. There I go reaching for the shiny sandwich hovering above a dream-ful sleep. And, there I go with my food metaphors and wordventions. Ya, well, you know where to go if you have a distaste for that kind of thing, as well as where to stay if you don't.

Okay, so back to what I was talking about before I embarked on the explanation of my audaciously Milton-esque task of justifying the ways of JET to man. The beginning, end, and midlife time-frame. You know, I actually haven't even truly decided what any of this is. A few weeks ago, as I was pondering over some of the inherent idiosyncracies of a JET, I thought it'd be cool to have a well-told television show, perhaps shown on the AMC network, that'd be a kind of dramedy, horr-sical, romantasy. I just thought it'd be cool if it existed and I had nothing to do with it except for stealing it off a torrent site.

After that 20 second daydream, I chastised myself for daydreaming about TV, and remarked "I wonder how hard it'd be for me to try making one of those." Truth is, it sounded hard inside the confines of my cranium than it does once I put it into some text on a white and black screen. Then I thought, what if it was the kind of thing where people worked together to create different episodes using the same characters, however they could characterize them based on how they saw them. Then, everybody's scent would fuse together and no one could be able to be sniffed out individually.

I wondered how do-able it would be if one season depicted a one year time-spanning from August to July. Some characters go home, some stay, some grow, some spiral.

Well, yes, these were just some thoughts that mist-ified around my imagination, and I won't limit myself to making these decisions while I'm at this point. So the beginning starts in an airport. While introducing the faces of the characters, along with portraits of their personal effects, I'd like for all sound to be background noise of airport, however, the voices of the bystanders will be barely audible, yet definitely distinguishable. It'll be the other travelers, conversing about the spectacle that is the airport on the day of large-scale gaijin entry. Some people will be confused and asking each other what they think is going on. Some people will know about the program and share their opinions, good and bad. I definitely want both.

I am in need of another rest stop. This will be another one of the challenges of creating this project. Besides getting honest opinions from all perspectives of people who live in and around the programme, there'll be an added challenge of perfecting the nuances and understanding when things are put into Japanese. In this respect, I will have a definite disadvantage and will be in the need of help, and not only with translating. I'll also need help with extracting clear and honest opinions. I've done so much of the research already, everything's all in my head in the form of magma-tic, gelatinous mush which has burned, dried and melted around in cycles hundreds of times. I just need to keep talking to people and let these images flow out.

By the way, there's another major aspect to my image of the final project. Remember earlier I mentioned a few genres in which I'd like this to nestle between. One of the aforementioned hybrids that may come to be the most difficult to portray is the romantasy. I'm not a fan of deep fantasy tales, such as the Lord of the Rings, or even Harry Potter.

Oh no, did I just lose some readers?

Haha, kidding, no, but for real, I need fiction-some mystery in any story with which I spend a lot of time. It's kind of my prerequisite for what I find interesting and real. To me, the unreal is real, and that is that.

If at any point you think that I am blabbing on and on just to waste word space, I'd like you to call me on it. Right now, I'm tired and disappointed that on my first day, I am finding it difficult to want to finish this 1667 word post. You know what? I'll take it easy, and write more tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll dream of something awesome.

[I left, but couldn't sleep knowing that I didn't finish my full quota of words on the very first day. I felt like if I started a precedence such as that, I'd only be psyching myself out for the rest of this 30 day challenge.]

I'll try and put something non-distracting to listen to while reading. In the same way, I'll also be putting together a kind of unofficial soundtrack usually near the end of the daily post.

Day by day will bring numerous ideas, some good and some not-so-good. Either way, I'll get some stuff up here. Perhaps tomorrow I can think of some of the major events that has shaped my (and perhaps others') perceptions. Though I'm so ademant about not making this about me, besides interviewing people, my own memories will act as the spring board. Considering I have this blog which dates back to when I first came, I'll be able to conjure up some of the things that I may have forgotten.

You know, that's another element of why I've hesitated for so long. As a newbie, I didn't feel like I understood this place well enough to write such a broad account of things. However, even now, 5 years later, I still feel underqualified, and I doubt that I would ever feel 100 percent confident. I'd like to speak with someone who does.

Actually, haha, I don't. I have encountered that person enough during my time here. Which reminds me! That's one thing that I'm about, and I know it doesn't seem all that positive and happy, but one of my internal brain objectives is to depict those different characters you come across here again and again. You know, "that guy" and "that girl", "that teacher", "that konbini staff", et cetera.

However, there are definitely images, emotions, beliefs, memories, impressions, sensations that only come to you during your first experience doing something. And when you first come here, there are so many firsts. It's actually quite amazing, especially if you've gone awhile in your life without having very many occurences of "firsts".

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