And only too soon the holidays were over.

I sort of got done what I set out to achieve. 2 out of 3 essays-type things written. The last one isn’t due for a couple of weeks, so there’s still plenty of time to panic.

And in 7 weeks, it will all be over. I’m almost in the mood for printing out a countdown calender (minus Richard Whitely), but I shall resist. I’m really looking forward to reading all the books I’ve had on my shelf for the past two years but up until now have only had time to dip into for essay purposes. Then there’s the books for next semester at Rikkyo Uni – I managed to obtain a rather lame reading list for my core modules, and will attempt to get hold of second-hand copies so I don’t end up spending all my time (and money) over there on sorting all that out.

That’s one thing that concerns me – getting all my stuff to Japan. It’s mounting up. This week it will increase by another 2 kilos when my 2nd external hard drive arrives. My existing 160GB external drive is nearly full of ‘stuff’, whilst the 60GB drive in my laptop is packed full of photos, and 34,000 emails. Well, 34,473 to be precise.

Crikey, I wonder how many months of my life they have robbed me of?! Still, when you are as desperate for a girlfriend as I was you’d do anything…

I remember when I bought my first PC. I asked the man in the shop if I’d be able to add more hard-drives in the event that the one it came with got full up.

“Full up? Good heavens no! It’s a 10GB drive you know – you’ll never have that much data!”

I guess he wasn’t accounting for the 17,059 photos I’d take in the 7 years following that conversation (TGW visitors only get to see the ones that are (a) any good (b) not pornographic, oh, except for the ones featuring horse cocks of course.)

In other (non-boring) news, *cough* and I have been getting dead excited about the future. Not that we’re not excited about the present, coz we are, but anyway. The other night we went round to our friend’s house, the very same friend that is about to receive a Centenary Achievement Award for services to students, and had a jolly good time.

I must say, I really do find him a true inspiration. He’s the kind of person who really believes in dreams, and his own ability to turn them into reality. His success is down to a few things in my mind:

(i) The ability to dream. Now most of us can do this, but only following copious amounts of cheese-eating and 8 hours kip. This fella dreams in his waking hours too, but not in a wishy-washy way, more in an energised “we could do this, and this, and this…!” type way.
(ii) He ACTS upon his dreams, no matter how far-flung they seem. This is where most ppl fall down in my mind (myself included).
(iii) Infectious enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm, and the ability to motivate others. Teamwork is the key behind many of his projects, and he has the necessary leadership qualities.
(iv) Lots of hard work. I swear he never sleeps. The number of projects that he’s involved in at any one time, plus the fact that he is in his final year of an architecture degree, well, it just makes one wonder where he gets the extra hours from. Perhaps he’s an alien…
(v) A girlfriend who is extremely supportive, and as hardworking as he is.

Anyway, the four of us had a really great night the other night, talking about everything from buying bits of the moon to planting sakura trees all over the university grounds. We talked of the future plans for one of his enterprises, and the success of Japan Soc – at midnight tonight, in addition to getting my student loan (hurray!) I stand down as Secretary of Japan Soc, a post I’ve had for 18 months. On that subject, I’m looking forward to The Golden Gnomes Union Awards, I understand Japan Soc has been shortlisted for several awards following its entry (by my own fair hand) into 10 different categories.

Anyway anyway, upon leaving our friend’s house, *cough* and I felt thoroughly energised re. our plans for the future, which we started working on a few months back. They ultimately end up with us not having to work for money, and having lots of free time to shag.

Basically, it all starts in September when we both return to Japan. I’m determined not to waste a cost-free year there hanging out in bars all the time (just 6 days a week)… oh no, no sireeeeeeee. Not only will there be the minor matter of uni, there will also be study needed for the Level one Japanese Language Proficiency Test which I’m planning to take in Dec 2007, the Speech contest in Feb 2008, the Podcast, and more importantly, a lot of groundwork for our enterprise which we want to get going as soon as possible after I graduate. No doubt this will mean having to hold down a regular job whilst getting the business going for the first six months / year maybe. *Cough* will also be working as of late this year to raise sufficient capital to get it all going.

Thing is, it’s all very well thinking “I will set up my own business one day” – but that day will never come unless one acts upon it – and there’s no time like the present.

It will all be made a lot easier due to a change in Japanese law that’s coming into effect on May 1st 2006 which makes it much cheaper to start a business.

Another good thing is that I will leave uni without any debts that require immidiate repayment. The law states that I only need repay my student loan (which will amount to about 20,000 pounds) once I’m earning a certain amount – and when living abroad it’s up to you to inform the loan company when you have reached that threshold. Naturally, it’s in your interests to repay the loan as soon as possible, as the interest, even at the low rate that it is, is horrendous. I’m so glad they only send a statement once a year – it’s scary! I won’t have any overdraft to repay either – the benefits of a Baked Beans and spaghetti diet.

We are also fortunate in that we have numorous contacts in Japan who can advise us on setup stuff, and provide us with introductions to prospective (rich) clients – one of whom is my brother-in-law-to-be, who owns a very successful Tokyo based business which he set up only a couple of years ago.

*Cough* and I also believe we’ll make a great business partnership šŸ™‚

So yeah, this is all really great stuff, because it puts a whole new perspective on uni, it makes me feel like all the effort really is going towards something tangible. Up until now I have felt rather dissilusioned with one aspect of this course, that being what support is given to you once you graduate. The number of Japanese Studies graduates I see around Sheffield is in a way, rather depressing. It seems that people struggle so hard, and then go on to… teaching English? What a waste of talent. Of course I may be wrong, but this is the impression that I get, and come to think of it is a problem that was acknowledged by my department during a staff/student committee meeting. It’s not actually the department’s fault – the university has a dedicated careers service that is responsible for this very thing. However, due to factors like language and distance, they don’t tend to be very hot on the Asian scene.

So yeah, my whole impression of next year is shifting away from being university-centered, and more like a ‘normal year in Japan’, where I get on and do what I really want to do, whilst also attending uni.

Of course, things may turn out completely differently, uni may be just as hard as it is here, but for the time being, this is damn exciting, and we can’t wait.

ooh, 12 minutes past midnight. Best check my bank account…!

[edit] Woopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I’m RICH!!!!