Today I reached the grand old age of 19. It already feels like my birthday has been and gone because of my amazing official birthday when my family were here last week.
But this is the actual day and it feels like a milestone.
I've realised that in no way do I feel 18, or even 19 for that matter. Within myself, I still think of myself as a child, but in how I present myself to others I feel very adult.
The more I think about how people's perspectives must change when they discover that I'm 18 (I've avoided telling any students my real age as I don't think it will do me any favours!), the more I'm inclined to keep it to myself.
There are a lot of negative age-related stereotypes, but I don't feel like I fit into any of them. And other people have told me exactly the same. I ask them to guess my age and I've heard everything from 20-25.
Perhaps it's true that people aren't allowed to have a childhood anymore. Children the world over are forced into studying extremely hard for exam after exam, pressured by everything around them, coerced into achieving their very best, and more.
Last night I was prematurely thinking about my life's achievements so far.
With any luck, the novel I wrote with my youngest brother will be sent to publishers in the UK later this month or next month, and we'll see what people think of it later this year. I've started writing the second in the series now.
I'm not making as much progress with Japanese as I would have hoped, but I use my spare time to study kanji and grammar, working from my Random House Living House Japanese course and with any hope I'll improve over the four months I have left here.
I got into the University and the course I was praying for, and I'm really looking forward to it as I think it will be perfect for me.
Maybe because the last five years have been geared towards getting me to Japan, now I'm nearly halfway through the trip, I'm wondering what my motivation will be when I get home. Succeeding in University isn't enough for me, so maybe I'll focus on my writing too.
Sorry, now I'm just thinking "out loud"!
Wow. That was a little negative for a birthday!! But, don't worry, I'm not feeling negative at all, just philosophical. I feel old! And also very young! Hmmm... Mid-life crisis already? Doesn't bode well for life past 40 does it?!
Earlier the housemate who moved out two weeks ago came back for a visit, and gave me a present! It was a Japanese version of the 'Golden Compass', and if you haven't read the original Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman then you absolutely must! I'm really looking forward to giving the Japanese copy a go.
It was great to see him again, and tonight some friends and I are going to go to Karaoke up the road at the Big Echo (Japanese link only, sorry) in Ningyocho.
It will be lots of fun to give karaoke another go. And it's exactly a week since I did it for the first time in my life in Kyoto! Very fitting I think!
I'm about to have a beer (sshh, don't tell anybody), and read a book for a little while before housemates arrive, and then we'll gather ourselves, and leave for a bit of singing action! Know any good vocal exercises?