First off, I feel I should maybe apologise for taking so long in posting -- a few interesting things have happened, but I have been sick basically for the last 3 weeks. Over the last week this has taken a serious toll on me to the point that I only managed to goto classes one day last week. This is a direct influence on this post and the current of my thoughts.
Basically, I find myself standing at a crossroads of my Waseda experience. Wednesday is the last day I can choose to end early and still get my tuition for the Spring back, which for me means that it is the last day I could reasonably turn around and go home. I do not really like that I am viewing this experience in terms of ending it, and was sincere in my optimism with my last post, but I cannot escape the simple reality of the situation. Every few weeks I find myself confronted with a disturbing thought: I should be home. Sometimes I took this as fact, sometimes I rejected it, typically I ignored it as impractical. I was not willing to leave mid-semester, and knew I could not pick up spring-classes at AU, so I could not find the utility in going home early. Yet, the thought still persists and if I do not confront it now I will have little choice but to suffer through the next 4 months, wondering if I should have left.
I hope my post on Waseda from the other week makes it a little more clear why the question keeps coming up, but I will sum up my major problems now; most of my time was spent in or preparing for Japanese courses, which I found awful and irrelevant to my academic interests, I had essentially no extra-curricular activities, the dormitory I live in is rather terrible, I have rather limited/non-existent money making prospects, causing my money to pretty consistently go directly into my food budget, and really all of my friends here are international students - mainly in this dorm or people I knew before I got here.
A lot of these issues look like they are being improved, either by my own actions or things beyond my control. The Japanese course system has been changed, replacing an hour and a half one day with another elective, which themselves now look more interesting. I also find myself on track for a Japanese minor if I choose to stay. I find myself involved with an extra-curricular organization, possbly two, even if the future of these prospects are not the most certain. My room has been converted into a single, and parts have been renovated, making it slightly more bearable (though it should be telling that turning a room into a single only manages to make it "slightly" more bearable). There is not much I can do about my food situation that I didn't try first semester, so I won't really consider this too much. As for friends, extracurriculars help this, so basically if I can keep my optimistic awareness and positive energy it should work out alright - though there's no guarantee of that happening.
Of course, the situation is a bit more complicated than all of this. I have had some guilt about leaving the country at the same time my little brother was heading out to school, I have wanted a break from school for a while, and it would make finding a place to live a tad easier. On the other hand, my little brother might be able to take a trip out here if I stay, going home now would really be going home in a month, giving me only a few weeks on a normal summer break, and I have started reaching out in ways that tie me a bit more to Waseda this semester than last. I mean, bigger than all of that, I've only seen two of my classes so far. I have no idea how this semester is tilted to go, just that last semester (which I entered in a bad mood) wasn't as good as I'd have liked.
Really, I don't know what I'll do with either decision, and I am torn basically 50-50. In terms of my experiences in Japan, as in more general adventures, I can guess this: if I stay adventures will be on hold much like first semester. I will likely go somewhere for Golden Week (last thursday or friday of april ~ end of first week of may), but it would have to be a cheap trip. A week after that my little brother would *possibly* come visit, for who knows how long. He would stay in my dorm too, so I'm not 100% how it would work out, but it would be cool to see him. After that it'll be more or less a straight shot of classes, with maybe a short trip before heading home the last week of July. On the other side, if I choose to go, I will probably stay in the dorm for the next month due to issues with rent (if I don't give a month warning I get charged, and I am basically paid through early may anyway). I would probably end up using my spending money, that is supposed to last 4 months, all in that one month, likely on day trips and gifts and potentially cut into my rent money (my rent money = money from loans, so I'd potentially just give it back). If I could time it right, I would try to stay long enough to host my brother for about a week and go home with him, but I'm not certain that would be possible. Afterwards, well, I would likely stay at home and try to work through the summer, or perhaps do something down at AU - it is hard to say. Either way, I will probably keep this blog going until I am legitimately back in the US (actually, if I go home early I will probably travel around NA a bit. If that's the case I might post throughout the summer - thank my love of the road trip and my step-dad's potential job with United!).
Anyway, it is a really tough decision, but I felt my readers should know it is happening. I have already spoke to my mom about it, later tonight I hope to speak to my dad. There is a deadline, though, so there really can only be a few days of suspense.