Virginia McClain: Writer

Author of Blade's Edge and Rain on a Summer's Afternoon

Virginia's Pre-2011 Blog

Web-redesign, Hokkaido, and the General Awesomeness that is Living in Japan

Posted on September 20, 2010 at 3:23 AM


So, first things first, you've probably noticed by now that the site looks a little (or a lot) different. I recently upgraded the template I've been using and I rearranged somethings in an attempt to make things more user friendly. If you're wondering where everything went, make sure that you scroll over the headers on the home page and wait for the drop down menus (namely the one under 'writing') and then if you're looking for photos and videos be sure to scroll over the heading for blog (the one that's under writing) and they'll pop up. For the technologically capable, I'm sure this explanation is hardly necessary, but for my tech challenged readers it might be necessary. If you have any questions just send me an e-mail at help@mcclainvirginia.com.

Also, if you have any comments about the new site set up please let me know. I'm curious to know if it's actually the improvement I think it is, or if I've gone and made things irreparably worse.

Now then, it's time to get down to business. That being the business of my latest disappearance. This one was actually not my fault.

It started with a trip to Hokkaido. Which was epic and amazing and will require another 3 blog posts at least to fully relate. We hitch-hiked, we spoke Japanese the whole time, we saw ALL of Hokkaido. It was truly epic. But upon our return we found our internet not working. We did all manner of things to try to fix this but ultimately discovered that without substantially higher skills in Japanese we would be unable to fix the problem ourselves. Which meant that we had to rely on the help of other. Which meant that it took FOREVER. 6 weeks later, we now have internet again. Sigh...

So, I'm back! And I'm excited to relate my latest adventures. But, the thing is, Hokkaido is going to take a series of posts to relate. The first of which will immediately follow this post. The other two will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, here's what I've been up to since I got back.

  • I decided to take the JLPT N4 which means I will need to study a ton between now and December in order to pass. (This is a test that measures your Japanese proficiency in the categories of grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening.)
  • Before I lost internet I was in the process of completing a TEFL course for my job here in Japan. It was put on hold (as it was an online course) for the last 6 weeks but will be restarted immediately.
  • I had a birthday! I am now uncomfortably close to the age of 30.
  • I have been writing a LOT! I am now very close to finishing last years NaNoWriMo novel, which will be a great accomplishment (remember I wrote 100,000 words last November? Well, finishing off what I estimate to be the last 30,000 is taking a REALLY long time).
  • I have been reading a lot. Thanks to my kindle and some in the flesh books. Which is giving me lots of motivation to stay writing. Yay!
  • I have been hiking a fair bit! Now that it's finally cooling off in our area the weather is getting good for attacking all the local mountains. I will post some pictures from one of our most recent hikes when I post this.
  • I MISSED International Talk Like a Pirate Day! DOH!! I had a post all written out in word to put up a week in advance to do the Piratey Essay writing contest this year, but we didn't get internet back until it was TOO LATE! (Next year!!) Don't worry, I still spent the day talking like a pirate.
  • I've been working and I will be starting 2 new business classes in October. This is exciting for many reasons, not least of which is that it will keep me from having to work Saturdays in a city 2 hours away from me.
  • We are in the process of figuring out what the heck we're going to do when we leave Japan. We've decided that we'll be leaving at the end of our 2nd year contracts, but we have yet to decide to where we shall return or what we'll be doing when we get there. We'll let you know as soon as we do.
  • I've also been enjoying the general awesomeness that is Japan. At the end of July/beginning of August a whole new group of foreigners showed up coming to teach English here. Showing them around and explaining why Japan is so great has renewed the excitement of being here and encouraged all of us old timers to spend more time exploring. It also made me realize how freaking fast time is going while we're here. I still feel like I showed up here a couple of weeks ago, maybe a couple of months ago, max. But, I have in fact been here over a year and indeed have lots to show for it. But that's why we're thinking about next years plans already. We know how fast the first year went and we don't want the second one to slip by without us noticing.
  • I got a Japanese driver's license! It was a SERIOUS pain in the ass. It probably warrants it's own post, and I may someday write it up, but for now just let me say that the Japanese bureaucracy knows no bounds.
  • My mom is coming to visit!!!! I am EXTREMELY excited to say that my mother is coming to visit for 9 days in October. It will be the first time I've seen her since I left and I am seriously looking forward to showing her around our home here. 

Ok. That's it for the list. I'm off to add photos and write the first Hokkaido post. Catch you over there.

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