November 29, 2004

Bulk view


Just finished the last of my homework for the day. We’re going at
twice the speed of our previous classes, and my evening is juuust
enough for all the homework. I should figure out a better way to do my
chuukyuu homework.

Goodness. I’ve practiced the kanji, but haven’t actually filled in the
book exercises. I should do that soon. I copied interesting compounds
to the word cards and cycled through them. My short-term memory seems
to be pretty good. I pick readings up after one or two passes. Took a
while for me to get the hang of writing some characters, though.

I’ll try to do the kanji book before I go to sleep. At least one of
the chapters, I guess…

LifeHacks: Instant messaging

Along those lines, I will not respond to “Hi”, “Good evening”, or
similar messages over instant messaging. If you have a story to tell,
just tell it without any preamble or small talk. That way, I don’t
have to pretend I’m paying attention, and you won’t get offended if I
disappear in the middle of a conversation.

Lifehacks: Writing

I should interleave insight-finding with my studies so that my poor
brain can take a rest every so often. ;) I have a fairly boring life
at this point, anyway, so I don’t really have personal stories to
tell. I can still indulge in, say, 30 minutes of chatting. Now, if I
can get my mom and Dominique to work out a schedule so that that I can
sleep by 11 PM…

I liked tonight’s chat with my family. Just a few quick stories from
my dad, then back to studying. My mom will just have to get used to
the fact that my life is currently boring. <laugh>

Lifehacks: talking versus writing

I spend two hours every day talking to my mom and Dominique over . I’ve come to look forward to these daily
conversations. When I stayed at Ayase Kokusai Hotel, I went to a
cybercafe just to keep in touch. Voice chats provide an immediacy far
beyond instant messaging or e-mail. My blog entries have become fewer
and fewer because I’ve already told my stories to the people who ask
me for personal updates the most. If I write before I talk to them,
the half-conversation is unnerving. These conversations end late at
night, and I have no time to write afterwards.

However, talking has its disadvantages. I don’t have to think about
what happened. I just have to relate it. I can stutter. I can ramble.
I can say things of no real lasting value. I can be lazy.

Writing requires more effort. I have to structure my thoughts. I have
to figure out what useful tidbit I can extract from events so that my
blog isn’t just some self-centered personal journal that makes
everyone feel a bit like a voyeur. Writing is slow, and the extra time
forces me to think about what I’m writing, perhaps gaining more

Conversation seems to be personality-centered. I can get away with
unpolished thoughts and trivial stories because the point of
conversation is conversing. On the other hand, writing—at least in my
point of view—is more idea-centered. When I write, I have to make
sense not only to people who are already interested in my life, but
also people who read this entry as part of something else, like the
RSS aggregator at . When I write, I
have to make sense most of the time.

As much as I enjoy talking to Mom and Dominique, then, I think it’s
better if I refocus on the written word.

What will happen if I do so? My mother will probably write me letters,
but I think my father is more comfortable with the immediacy of voice
chat. I like hearing my dad’s stories. They’re the kind that should be
told as soon as possible. E-mail creates distance, and probably won’t
do the stories justice.

People might also interpret this as me trying to distance myself from
them. It really isn’t. I think of this as creating knowledge,
something that will reach more people, something I can reflect on

I write to find out how the words on my screen differ from the words
in my head. I write to discover questions and answers. Journal entries
give my day structure and keep me moving forward.