Ok, its been quite a while since i started this blog. I got distracted with work, etc. So i will start trying to use it more.
Hello my name is Jackson Hale and i am not and have never been THAT Jackson Hale. The only thing we have in common is good looks and and a praenomen-nomen combo.
I am pretty much ready to leave for Japan. I have things i COULD do, but nothing that is extremely pressing. For example, i guess someone might consider it procrastination to not have yet hoarded toiletries like toothpaste and floss threader. And i guess the logic that it is ok to not hoard toiletries is also a trap, because it would mean i should be collecting really important items now. Or time sensitive items. In my opinion, shirts and pants and shoes and ties are all very non-time-sensitive. (time-numb?)
So mostly i am trying to study Japanese. I’ve always heard that studying is easy and working is hard. I feel quite the opposite: when working on something i might not have to think at all – especially if i have prepared correctly. But while studying i have to be fully present in what i am doing. And i am lucky in that i have always been able to make what i’m studying very interesting! But in turn, I’ve never been focused upon my grades. I always made good grades because i would find something i liked about what i studied, and tried to build off of my interests in the subject matter towards what we might learn in class. And by the class’ conclusion, i often felt as if i got more out of it than had i memorized a ton of facts in a vacuum (A). And if i am reading a book or studying a chapter, or even studying multiple subjects, it was always good to have a personal investment in the subject, because it keptit in my mind while i was enjoying free time.
But Studying is so mentally exhausting! When i study i get in this really focused headspace (think Wes Montgomery, flashcards, and lots of self-consciously talking to myself), and i’m there for a few hours at a time. Which is great if its a book or whatever because you can measure progress by pages dog-eared or by all the ways preexisting information compliments and contrasts new information or by how much you annoy your friends about all the cool stuff in the book (B).
But Learning a language is harder to measure. Most of what i study seems to be faith based: that is, have faith that learning is happening. For example, unlike a book, which has a mix of abstract ideas and concrete details packaged together in a way that keeps it on the mind, studying a language is more like collecting tools. I don’t know what exact words i know, and i know what words i don’t know even less. So i study having to trust that i am successfully chipping away at learning the language.
So i am trying to enjoy my free time by reading manga that i got for my birthday, and playing some video games i bought in Japan (C). But i know it will pay off come August.
A: Side note: Its gotta be said that this might just be me telling myself a story and engaging in the time honored practice of self-negotiating to present my behaviors as a strength and explain my current circumstances as more a natural outcome for my efforts instead of the good fortune of birth and easy access to credit. Certainly the way i have engaged with school has led to some lackluster grades in subjects where the exams expected route memorization, and i am just as capable of telling my story in a way where i have missed countless opportunities due to personal failings. But this is less appealing to me because i believe the thought is a sink-pit. If value is determined by the economic agent observing the valuated item, the agents idea is more important than any facts about an item. Telling a story about yourself is an entirely subjective exercise already, and further dwelling on how correct the fictitious story may be is pretty ridiculous.
B: Easy in College, hard when all our friends have dispersed about the world to enter their adult lives.
C: i dont really like Anime or Manga as much as all that. I mean i enjoy it enough, sure. But like, my freshman year i studied Japanese and watched one anime show in my dorm. Some guys i knew took this to mean i was this weird otaku dude (D), and so i had too many conversations where my “love” of anime made me the butt of a joke. Like which was so awkward and frustrating for me because i literally know nothing about anime, computers, whatever else is traditionally associated with american otaku? Anyways, those guys were nice enough but i made sure we didn’t become close friends.
D: Its gotta be said, im a little bit of a nerd and not ashamed. John Hodgman said we are defined by our passions, and theres nothing wrong with dudes liking anime. But there is something weird about disliking someone because they don’t have the same interests as you.
Hi, my name is Jackson, and i am a normal post-collegiate white guy. I did data entry to save money. I am gaining and losing weight as if my diet is in a quantum healthy-unhealthy duality. And i am leaving for Japan in two months – a prospect that is exciting for me!
Recently i have been trying to prepare for my departure by visiting family and not getting my things together. Moving to Japan reminds me of all the things i could miss in the upcoming years: weddings of friends and family, graduations, tons of funerals.
For example, When i lived abroad my junior year I managed to miss three weddings: My cousin’s, my Father’s, and my sister’s.
Is that good or bad fortune? Depends on your opinion on weddings i guess.
One other thing i’ve been doing is looking out for souvenirs to give my new friends in Japan. I am a notoriously poor gift giver: i’m a classic over-thinker. The fact that gift giving is different between different cultures makes me even more overthink the whole matter.
So, today i went with my cousin to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville! I had never been – i have visited the gift shop and totally freaked out about the Hatch Show Print shop (because why would someone not love hatch show print?)
—-i am also proud to say i totally have the sweet Andrew Bird Hatch Poster…its one of my most prized possessions—
But – both by good and poor luck – i found myself in Nashville during the CMA music festival!! The traffic was horrible, the parking was overpriced, and there were so so many people that it was about impossible to go anywhere. Also there
were a thousand friendly dads that looked like this.
So it wasn’t such a good time to go to the country music hall of fame and buy a ton of souvenirs after all!
You may be wondering how we managed to not notice the CMAs were happening…and to that i can only say i must have taken the most indirect route at the optimum time – evidence of my dual-state luck and pro-Nashville local skills. Also i haven’t been paying attention to the non TPP news. Also, i dont really have a taste for Nashville Sound country – or “country-pop” as my social group calls it – so i think the celebrity of the festival is lost on me.
Anyways, my main takeaway from the museum was that: A) country music stars are super snappy dressers and B) Country music is lousy with (iconically blonde) women with snappy names.
It was a lot of fun (and also the lemonade was so so so so good and it had free refills! I would recommend it highly if it’s summertime)
Till next time!
This is the public journal (blog) of Jackson Hale, recent graduate of UTK and soon to be ALT in Gonohe, Aomori. I will be using this place to detail the various happenings in my life.
Thats probably not going to shock anyone to be honest. I’ve seen several JET program participant’s blogs, and they are all very nice and pretty and fun. They provide fantastic pictures of events in the community, thoughts on the JET program and Japanese society, and maybe some travel? And I read and like these!
I wont do anything much different from that, im afraid. You, my dear audience, may be non-existent. You may be imaginary. You may even be family. But i am guessing you are here to see what i am up to, and on this front i hope to meet and even competently address expectations.
So, there is my warning. This is a place where a curious person can go to see what i am up to, and my thoughts on those things. I also may set aside a day for one topic that interests me about something in the world. I have high hopes!
So, lets have fun, imaginary readers and people very lost on the internet!
I cant wait to see what i think is interesting enough to write about!