Today I have brain ache, again! This is an increasing occurrence in my life! Part of it is the environment and part is the pressure I put on myself. This pressure Dan and I then around to each other like a hot potato!
The environment – for me, I am surrounded by sick kids again all day. They are pretty much all sick and in Japan they are very rarely absent from school. So I am now exposed to a range of bugs, which certainly adds to my aching brain.
Brain ache is hitting me as more than just a headache though. It also comes in the form of total incompetence, near breakdown, and inability to make a decision or act. A good example of this is when Dan and I attempted to go out for dinner on Sunday evening. We cycled up the coast to a recently discovered, and instant favourite, ramen restaurant. On arrival, we could see people queuing and the car park was full. Now, I cannot eat ramen at the speed most Japanese people enjoy it. So, we chickened out of option number one, but never fear, we had seen many restaurants on the way up and had a second in sight.
On arrival at number two, we were invited in and pleased to see space for us. We opened the menu and to our horror it was the most Kanji filled menu I have ever seen. Kanji is the third Japanese alphabet, which has developed from Chinese characters and looks a little like this: 私は漢字を恐れます. The Kanji are the bits with more lines than most.
Rather than having our breakdown then, we brought out our trusted google translate apps where you can photograph text and it will translate it for you. To our absolute horror, it would not work. There was rising hysteria at our table as we tried the app in various lights, positions and on different devices (I was sure Dan was just being useless). By this stage we had already ordered a cola (I don’t even drink cola, but it was the only thing we could read on the menu!) and had been brought chopsticks. It was clear we had to eat. After about 10 minutes of frantic whispering, we had reached no decision but our positive mood brought on by a nice cycle was dead. I was basically ready to run and leave Dan behind as collateral damage!
To our delight, the waiter was very kind and could clearly see the breakdown occurring. He came over and asked if we could read Japanese. I think it was pretty obvious to all that we could not, but it was sweet of him not to assume! We ended up with a cheese omelet for me, sushi for Dan, and two `salads` that were actually cream cheese, diced, with soya sauce. It was a bit of a mix, but, like a mini Sunday miracle, did not contain meat! (I am a vegetarian for context). Despite our full bellies, we both knew it has been a bit of a life fail, only saved by a few English words from our very kind waiter!
Pressure- the pressure one is a little harder to deal with, as it is entirely self-inflicted. Although, the first stage of curing an ailment is surely recognising it?! The pressure is that we cannot allow ourselves any peaceful time to just `be`. Dan and I were winners at `being` in Manchester. “What did you get up to this weekend?”, “Nothing, it was bliss”, was the story of our life. Here, no! Every spare moment I have I feel guilty if I am not exploring and or learning Japanese. I found myself walking and typing emails the other day as I had run out of all other day time. It is exhausting! And it leads to brain ache. We also spur each other on and as I said, pass the pressure round like a hot potato!
We do, however, have what I assume is the perfect cure. One week in Okinawa paradise starting on Saturday. Bring.It.On and take my achy achy brain away.