When feeling positively overwhelmed by the difficulty of the grammar I’m studying, I try to take comfort in the fact that it’s taken from the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (a test I once intended to take, but now I have little interest in).

Recently I’ve had a few emails from people saying, “Oooh, you’ll be going home soon, how does it feel?” etc.

Not all that good to be honest for reasons I explain below. I’m currently planning to leave in early-August, and spending 5 weeks traversing China, Mongolia and Russia. Last night I drew a huge map of the route (using Google Earth as a guide) so that I could get a better idea of where I’ll be stopping off etc. It’s a blooming long way, and is going to take a good deal of organising. For a start there’s the visas – for the Russian one I first have to obtain a letter of invitation (which costs) before I can even apply for the tourist visa.

It’s my intention to keep my blog updated as I travel along the route, and by the looks of things that should be possible. As is the possibility of being continuously drunk on Vodka, it sounds like it’s very difficult to avoid having it forced down your throat. I guess by the time I reach Hereford I’ll have got over my aversion to the stuff.

It’s pretty amazing really though, if you think about it, that it’s possible to go all the way from Shanghai to Hereford by train!

Drawing the map and buying a couple of guidebooks and three phrasebooks (I’m going to need to learn the Russian alphabet! As if Japanese wasn’t enough!), has made it all that more real. Thinking about it, I realised that it’s only about 10 weeks away, an incredibly short period of time. This fact really upsets me. I don’t really feel like a one-year exchange student, I feel more like someone who lives in Tokyo with their partner, and is being told they have to go work abroad for a year. I loathe long-distant relationships, and just with *Twinkle* being away in Kansai for a couple of days (as she is this weekend), well, it kind of leaves me feeling disabled and agitated.

Sometimes I feel that I just want to get on with my life, without the ‘interference’ of uni.

Of course, this is a rather daft point of view. I mean, come on, thanks to this course I am able to do what I do actually love doing – learning – AND I get paid to do it! This is bliss compared to those times when I’ve had to work to pay the bills – I’ve had all my bills paid for me now for 3 years now, and can enjoy the same next year (with a shortfall of about £500 due to an increase in the rent…). (What? Student loan repayments? What’s that…?)

So yes, I’m very fortunate to be in this position.

But I still don’t want to go back to the UK in 10 weeks!

…anyway, back to the grammar.