Thursday, February 14, 2019

Life Post: That Sick Time of Year

Since my last post about getting sick, I’ve run out of cold medicine that the doctor gave me, and I’ve been reminded of how miserable this cold is. There’s less pain now but more of other, grosser things. At least we should be getting to the end of it all soon.

This week seems to be revolving around illness more than anything else. Everyone’s getting sick (whether it’s the flu or colds) or is scared of getting sick. There’s been a lot of checking on people to make sure they’re okay. Even if I don’t know if they’re sick, one of the first things I’ve been asking them is if they are.

This flu season is apparently pretty bad in Japan, and I easily believe it. Though, funnily enough, I just searched Google and saw one result saying this flu season was mild in the US because of how effective the vaccine is followed immediately by another that claimed this year’s flu shot is less than 50% effective. I didn’t bother to look into that further.

All I know is that I’m ready for spring.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Life Post: A Cold? The Flu? Who Knows?

Considering I have year round allergies (dust mites) that I'm constantly dealing with, I'm okay with the fact that I really don't get sick that often. My allergies provide me with a near daily struggle, especially in the winter when I'm indoors more and can't open the windows to air out the apartment, so I don't need to deal with an illness on top of that.

Every year, I get a cold or two, but I can't remember the last time I was sick besides that. I've had health "issues" sure. I've needed cavities filled, still deal with severe acne, and those sorts of things, but those aren't illnesses. I've been lucky in that regard, which I was reminded of recently when it came up that I've never had the flu.

Last year was the first time in my life that I got the flu shot, so I can't explain exactly how I avoided the flu my entire life, but I have. It's nothing short of a miracle now when I'm surrounded by kids at work. This year has proven that even with the shot, you can't always escape the flu.

My friend got diagnosed with the flu yesterday. The previous night, I'd been with her and another friend, and while I shrugged off any concern I might get it at first, I began feeling sick by that night. Cue a whole day of me growing increasingly worried that I might have caught the flu. Since people are contagious 24 hours before they start showing symptoms, it wouldn't have been surprising if I had.

I waffled back and forth between thinking I had to have it to being sure that I was just paranoid. That wasn't just my emotions but my symptoms coming and going. This morning, I woke up hours before my alarm because I was too miserable to sleep anymore, but once I was awake, I felt better. Then I felt worse again, and over and over.

Eventually, I cracked and messaged some people saying that I thought it was a possibility, and long story short, I was tested for the flu. The verdict? I don't have it. What I do have is a cold.

It's some strange timing that I would develop a cold at the same time my friend got the flu, but that's happened. As I write this, my head feels like it's about to explode, but I know I'd feel much worse if it was the flu. I was sure of that before going to the doctor, yet I was paranoid. I've never actually had the flu after all, so while I'd been told about how terrible it was, I have no way of knowing what it actually feels like to have it.

I hate asking for help because I feel like I'm burdening people, so of course I feel guilty for someone needing to take me to the hospital when it wasn't the flu. (Though I did at least get cold medicine out of it to make me feel better.) I know I probably shouldn't. No one's tried to make me feel guilty, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel just a little guilty.

It's strange not really knowing if you have something or not just because descriptions of how it feels can't compare to actually feeling it. I can try to imagine the flu, but I don't know if I'm imagining it right. I get enough colds that I wouldn't have doubted this was one except for the timing. Like with many other things, I've just been told, "You'll know when it's the flu," but today is a testament that the saying doesn't mean I'll really know for sure.

If I ever do get the flu, I might be in bed for days and still be convinced it's not actually the flu after this.

Anyway, I'm off to take another dose of my cold medicine before my head actually explodes.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Race to the Edge Talk: 5x02 "Sandbusted"

Race to the Edge and the How to Train Your Dragon franchise as a whole isn't a stickler for historical accuracy, which is why I've always found it interesting that they chose to have Hiccup and Astrid betrothed so quickly (and to use the term 'betrothed'). Don't get me wrong, the Hiccstrid shipper in me loves it, but I also admit that it's a little strange to me that they'd make the decision in a show that's ultimately modern in many ways. Hiccup and Astrid are clearly going to be okay, but they are still teenagers. This seemed like a strange time to make something fit with the supposed time period.

But I'm a Hiccstrid shipper, so I admit to finding all of the Hiccstrid in this episode to be adorable. I had the initial surprised about talk of betrothal and then fawned over them for the rest of the episode. Seeing Astrid worked up about choosing the perfect gift for Hiccup was nice. Astrid isn't someone to wear her heart on her sleeve, though she's become more open about sharing her feelings as she's gotten older. (That sentence made me realize we've really seen these characters grow up in a way that's not very common in animated franchises like this.) I like having moments where we see how important Hiccup is to her.

All in all, despite not being the biggest fan of how becoming betrothed works in the How to Train Your Dragon universe, I liked the way the Hiccstrid was handled in this episode, and it stands out far more to me than any other aspect of the episode. I don't think that's just because I'm a Hiccstrid shipper either. It kind of demanded that it be the focus in this episode.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Naruto Shippuden Talk: Episodes 391-395

While I've been slow about actually watching Naruto over the past year, I've been even slower about discussing the episodes I've watched. Meaning it's been a long time since I watched this set of episodes, and I don't think that rewatching them before I write this is going to happen.

That's definitely not a good thing since a lot happens in this set of episodes, and the exact details are foggy to me after so long. The largest thing I remember is being mostly bored with these episodes, and I think that has a lot to do with how much time passed between me watching each episodes.

At this point, they're deep into the war, and many of the fight scenes in these episodes are not my favorites in Naruto. While I know I'm supposed to view Madara as a large, important villain, I don't care for him much as a character, and even though he's portrayed as powerful and therefore threatening, I don't feel much emotional reaction to seeing the characters confront him. I think it's because the characters themselves don't have much emotional stake in the fight aside from what's expected when fighting against anyone for your life and the world as a whole.

Other villains had far more compelling backstory than anything we've been presented about Madara so far. I volunteer as a tag wrangler over on the Archive of Our Own, and one of the fandoms I wrangle is Naruto, so I'm well aware of the amount of Madara fanfiction out there, especially fic that ships him with Hashirama. While I get the fandom appeal of that from what I've seen so far, I have to say that I don't quite get it. Maybe that will change in later episodes.

Episodes 394 and 395 are the start of a flashback to the chunin exams held while Naruto was out of the village, which I think provides a nice break from the war where I wasn't really enjoying the episodes anyway. While this is technically filler, it's filler that I welcome because of a lot of what I mentioned above. I appreciate getting to spend time with characters I feel emotionally connected to instead of the episodes that came before it.

But I'll talk more about that filler arc in my next Naruto post.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Life Post: 2019 Goals

It's that strange part of the year where I never get the year right. January also marks a year and a half that I've been in Japan, which is becoming less strange to say. I've definitely settled here, so it no longer feels odd that I've been here longer than a year.

The new year is usually a time to set resolutions, and since we're making all of our students set resolutions, I feel like it's only fair that I set one of my own. I've been studying Japanese since before I came to Japan, but this year I want to give myself more concrete goals, which is something I should make myself do considering I make my students do it. So, I've made concrete plans to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). I'm posting about that here to give me the push to not back out on it, though I'm not sure how much I'll talk about it here.

Taking the actual test won't come for a while yet, but I'm creating a plan to help me study for it and paying attention to the exact vocabulary and skills I need for it, as opposed to my more scattered studying of the past. We'll see how it goes.

Though it's not as concrete of a goal, I'm also hoping to post more here in 2019 than I did in 2018. That's always been a goal; I never planned to slow down so much. There was just a lot going on, but I think I've reached a point where I'm managing. It's more that that just happened to line up with the new year than it was that I did it on purpose in the new year. Here's to getting to finally talk about all those books and shows that I've been reading and watching since I got to Japan.

I look forward to seeing you guys more in the coming months.