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Hiatus

Think it’s time to face the music. Today I was pushed far beyond my limits and am too exhausted even to complain about it. I need a break from thinking about this blog for a while. It’s one tiny bean being lifted off the pile crushing down on me, but it’s all I’ve got. I did my best, I’ve got a solid month of blog-writing in, even if most days I just wrote excuses about how I’ll be back later with real content.

I don’t want to set a deadline for myself because then what’s the point of taking the bean off the pile, but if I don’t set a deadline then I fear the next time you hear from me will be 2020. Let’s say… til next Monday? Gimme a week. One week.

‘Til we meet again!

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Too tired

I meant to write about all the board games we played yesterday, but oh my god I am so tired. I have been doing chores all day, then I ended up getting work out of the blue (!!!), and then at night we ended up playing more board games. I started a draft but I am just so drained. I need a break. I need a break from making all these excuses.

Today is the 29th so it’s been exactly one month since I started this daily blog project. This isn’t exactly the auspicious one-month anniversary I wanted. Tomorrow I have a long day of work in Tokyo which is already a total nightmare because of the morning rush.

I hope I can find the energy tomorrow to write tomorrow. I just haven’t been up for it at all these past few days. I don’t want to give up this daily blog project but also I can’t think of anything I want to do more in the world oh my god.

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All the games

I spent all day playing board games and am now so tired that I can taste colors. I know, I suck, but I’ll have to do a full write-up tomorrow.

Since I can’t just end on yet another pointless aside begging forgiveness, a haiku for you:

Cats who keep purring
A nonstop engine of love
Covering my lap

Happy Sunday, everyone.

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Fish bones

Tonight’s dinner was a hot pot full of bits of fish. I guess in winter, the egg sacs inside of the fish are more prized than the fish meat itself, so they sell these chopped up leftover parts super cheap: the fins, chunks of its back, the head and spine. You know in old cartoons, the kind of fish parts that you see cats try to run off with? You can buy cases of them super cheap, freeze them, and use them as soup stock. If you throw them in the hot pot, it makes everything smell wonderful and hearty even if the soup itself is pretty thin. The only thing is that little meat there is falls off the bones fairly quickly, so you’re left with all these fish bones sticking up out of the soup like needles. When I’m feeling especially morbid, I remember the bubbling pot full of bones into which the witch was preparing to throw Hansel and his sister Gretel.

I’m once again late with this blog post. I’ll probably be late with the one tomorrow as well since I’ll be out til evening, at the earliest. I shall leave you with an awkward conversation I had with someone this morning:

Is it cheating to put bits of my Twitter on here? Nah, other blog writers do this all the time, I should be covered. See you tomorrow when (hopefully) I’ll have thoughts on BOARD GAMES FINALLY.

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ぎりぎり

It’s almost 11pm on Friday night and I’m just plain tuckered out. I worked all day in Shinjuku, then caught the train to Yokohama for my evening classes. I was tired even before I woke up and now I am just flat on my ass tired. DK is playing video games in the background and every second I am here typing is precious time I could be spending with him instead, so I’m going to make this quick. I know, I’m sorry, I suck, etc.

This upcoming weekend looks like ass. Tomorrow morning (and, possibly, every Saturday morning for the foreseeable future? sigh) I have seminars, then on Sunday we’re playing board games in Kamakura. I should be excited about that but honestly I really just want to sleep.

Next weekend is also pretty ass because I have that same seminar and board games in Yokohama. The weekend after that, another seminar, the inaugural meeting of my book club (!!!), and an all-day ELT convention in Tokyo. I really just want to, like, sleep. I’m not trying to humble brag about my schedule, I’m saying it is stressing me out just thinking about it.

Why can’t I just sleep.

Thoughts on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom battle

I’m not that far in, I think I’m still in the 1-X stages (maybe 1-8?). So far I’m kinda meh about the whole thing, though it’s a decent way to spend my evenings.

This game started off totally bonkers. Mario + Rabbids is already a ludicrous proposal, but then Ubisoft went all-in with their weird meta storytelling. The opening cutscene is with a girl who invented goggles that can merge stuff together, which, already, what. She’s got a floating Roomba-looking computer (???) and when she steps out of the room, a washing machine (????) full of Rabbids (???????) crashes into the room, and the Rabbids use the goggles to merge reality with a Mushroom Kingdom poster (?????????????). Your enemies are not Bowser and Goombas and Koopas, your enemies are other Rabbids who have been corrupted by the goggles-wearing Rabbid who… has morphed into a somehow more cartoony caricature of these already very cartoonish caricatures?!

Yeah, it’s uh

It’s a plot, all right.

rabbid peach

Rabbid Peach is just the BEST

So whatever, who cares. You don’t play these kinds of games for the storytelling, you play them for the XCOM-style turn-based cover shooter tactical strategy battles. And so how are those?

They’re… just okay, honestly.

I haven’t had problems with the difficulty spikes so far, though they are definitely there and can feel like a total brick wall. The stuff that drives me up the wall is that, while the camera outside of battle lets you freely rotate it around your characters, when in battle you can only snap it to 90-degree angles. Also, your characters have a wider range than what the camera sometimes can display on your screen, and once you move your character you can’t undo or move them again, so shots can feel like a leap of faith at times.

While I do sense that there is more depth to battles than what I’ve played so far, I can’t help but feel the “XCOM, but for kids” approach has left it just a bit too simple. Or maybe this first world just takes way too long to clear, I dunno. I do like that hit percentage is greatly simplified from XCOMalikes and the UI is simple and easy to understand.

Let’s talk about the rest of the level, the non-battle parts: they suck.

Suck.

You have these fairly large, sprawling levels but they’re all laid out more or less the same way: follow the trail of coins, push a few buttons to connect the pipes or rotate the cannons so you can move on, and keep walking until you reach the next battle stage. I’m not saying I would have preferred just a boring level select, but… no, actually, yeah, I’d just prefer a level select, or a hub world, or just anything that’s better than this.

It’s not fun, the world doesn’t look that great, and worst of all your lead character is that Roomba thing. It’s small and low to the ground and is constantly being blocked from view by the rest of your party, i.e. the characters that should be leading. The puzzles are more about pushing buttons than they are genuine puzzles, the environment less Mario and more Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the camera constantly getting stuck behind something and obscuring the Roomba. And these exploration stages just drag on forever, taking almost as much time walking to the next arena as it does to clear a battle.

It’s a pretty okay game so far, though if I had to be honest, if this weren’t a Nintendo title on the Switch, I’d probably have put it on the side by now. I’m hoping it picks up the pace soon (especially these exploration stages, argh) and becomes a little more engaging.

Tea

There isn’t any coffee in the house. I have to go to the roaster’s and buy more beans, but before I can even think of going out, I need to get rid of the splitting migraine I have. The migraine is because I’m addicted to caffeine, and the only way to get rid of it is to drink coffee.

“Why didn’t you buy coffee earlier?” you say. “Coffee beans don’t spoil. You can keep spare bags around for months.” You’re not wrong, not technically. But if I were the kind of person with the foresight to buy coffee beans before they ran out and avoid this very situation, I wouldn’t be the kind of person who’d get hopelessly addicted to that morning hit of caffeine in the first place.

“Why not drink tea?” you ask. “Tea has even more caffeine than coffee.” That’s an easy one. It’s because tea tastes like boiled leaves, which is gross. Next question.

“Why not kick your caffeine habit once and for all, go cold turkey?” you ask. “It would suck at first but at least when it’s over, you won’t fall into this loop again.”

That’s a good point. But I’m not even really addicted to the caffeine. I’m addicted to the idea of needing caffeine.

I need coffee because my brain is sluggish and smeared around the edges and pickled in Vaseline. I have an innate ability to preserve energy; I don’t need to tap my fingers or jiggle my leg, I move slowly and ponderously and very much like those tortoises you see in zoos. From my mother I’ve inherited the ability to sit in once place for hours at a time, unmoving, just reading books or playing games or watching TV.

It can and does take me hours to work up the nerve to begin to do something, anything. If I have to go out shopping, first I need to get dressed, but before then I need to put away the laundry from yesterday, but before then I need to clear the bed so I’ll have space to fold the clothes, but before that I need to sweep the floor so I’ll have a clean spot to lay down the sheets and pillows, and by the time I’m done thinking about all of that, I’m completely wiped out and need to read a book or check Twitter. This is what most of my days off are like: making plans to do everything, and therefore, get nothing done.

But if I have some token action, some reason to move, I come alive. I teach English, as you know, and nobody wants to learn from a sluggish and quiet teacher who gets overwhelmed at the idea of leading a class. I am animated, I am lively, I make lesson plans and nail them out 1-2-3! When I have an event to go to, I try not to ドタキャン (suddenly cancel) and leave them in the cold. I make commitments, I stick to them, I get things done.

The only person to whom I break promises and commitments is myself.

I tell myself that if I drink this cup of coffee, I’m going to get started on my day. I don’t have any more excuses, and I’m not allowed to say that I’m still tired or sleepy or I’ll get to it in a minute. I have to act, even if this high lasts for only a few minutes, even if I only check off one item (and an easy one, at that) from my endless lists. It’s a lie I tell myself that I’m not, actually, a useless, bland, boring, lazy person.

But on days when there is no coffee, no caffeine, that’s when I’m just hit with the truth; I’m as useless and pathetic as they come. I’ll go to work tomorrow, sure, don’t worry about that, but in between I won’t buy breakfast or lunch, I won’t read a book or play a video game or enjoy the music I like. I’ll just quietly, and spending as little energy as possible, wait for the next commitment to pop up on my agenda.

Every day I am becoming just a little bit more like my mother and I cannot stand it.

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Cold

I found out today that my favorite bakery in Kailua, Agnes Bake Shop, is closing its doors on Sunday. I’m heartbroken because I loved that place. The Portuguese sweet bread is the stuff of dreams, and the malasadas were, let’s be real, better than Leonard’s. I haven’t been since at least 2015 when I last visited Hawaiʻi and I’m too sad that I won’t be there to snatch up the last few loaves before they close.

Even worse, I found out that they have Agnes Bake Shop in Japan, but it’s awful. It looks like every crappy tacky wannabe-Waikīkī cafe. I hate it.

AUGH

AUGH

Why is a good 50% or more just a big blob of white rice? Why is there a blotch of pasta (?!) in the upper right corner? Why is the meat so tiny and covered with shredded daikon? What on earth is that salad?!?!?!

The other pictures are also disappointing (pancakes?! shitty overpriced craft beer that nobody in Hawaiʻi actually drinks?!) and have made me lose all my will to live. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this. It was bad enough learning that Agnes was going away, worse still knowing that it’s going to live on as this trendy Tokyo abomination.

I just want a loaf of Portuguese sweet bread from Agnes. Sigh.

AGNEEEEEEEEES

AGNEEEEEEEEES

Don’t look up your heroes, kids. You’re better off not knowing.

Falling behind

I’m just gonna come out and say it, I have actively hated having to blog for the past few days. I completely regret my decision to blog once a day, every day, whether I feel like it or not. I have stuff I want to talk about but I feel like I don’t have the time or energy to arrange the words properly in a way that makes sense or matters to people who aren’t me, and so instead of dressing up the cool stuff I like, I’m rambling incoherently in my desperate bid for Content Any Content and ruining everything. I’m really rather tired and stressed out and aggravated.

Maybe one day far in the future, I’ll look at how I managed a streak of daily blog posts for an entire month and puff up with self-important pride, but right now all I can think of is god, what if anyone actually READS any of this, that would be the WORST. Kind of against the entire point of the thing, right?

I am so far behind on everything. I want to have proper book/anime/etc reviews up, but all my energy and brain capacity (not to mention free time) is being spent on these daily blog entries full of drivel. I dunno. Maybe I need to rethink all of this. Instead of talking about the stuff I want to talk about, I’m here every day apologizing for totally blanking and not being able to talk about the stuff I want to talk about and just god can someone please shut off my brain I hate the sound of my own voice bouncing around my skull.

So, that’s where I am right now with these daily blog entries.

In other, better news, today was the first snow of the season:

DUHdRnUVAAARGhU

So, THAT was cool.

Maybe I need to make some kind of blogging schedule. My list of topics that I wanna talk about is longer than the Bible, but trying to decide what to talk about and flesh out per day is using up all my brain power and making it so I don’t end up talking about anything at all.

Tomorrow I have to work all day in Tokyo, and worse, because of the snow it’s likely that the trains will be delayed and there’ll be all sorts of terrible mishaps just getting there. So that’s going to be fun.

I’m all set for another month-long winter vacation, to be honest.

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Quickie

I couldn’t find time to write today, eep. But three quickies:

  • Trying to get back into comics, or to be more precise, get my husband to read English comics so I have someone who will pressure me into getting back into comics. Yeah, I dunno how my brain works, either. I’m trying to get him started on Chew, while I try and polish off Usagi Yojimbo‘s back catalog once and for all.
  • Watched sumo, which might be one of the very few sports I can watch for longer than two minutes without being bored out of my mind. I don’t know anything about it, but I love the whole “psyche out your opponent and throw a bunch of salt” phase before the matches start.
  • It might snow in Kanto tomorrow for the first time this winter, so uhhhh, that’s certainly something. Wonder if it’ll be too cold to ride the stationary bike…

Okay that’s a wrap gotta go byeeeee