Tips to start afresh in the New Year: Love Asia! But don’t get too carried away.

A second tip post on how to not lose yourself in an obsession. Any obsession really, but my thoughts lean towards an obsession with Asia. *This post does not apply to everyone reading it. Many of you may not go through a phase of obsession at all, but some might and maybe are so here are my thoughts on how to get out of that rut*

Okay, so for those who are in this bubble of obsession over Asia read on my dears read on. ♥

You may not even realise you’re in this bubble, but you are (unless you’re really not and you’re reading this out of interest). The best thing right now, and this is probably going to turn into some online therapy session, is to admit it. Adddmiiittt itttt! ADMIT IT. You’ve promised yourself you’re never going to marry a Westerner, only a gorgeous tall kpop haired sexy sexy sexy Korean that looks like Lee Min Ho (or K Will in my case). You’ve asked your hairdresser to give you razored ends which does NOT suit your hair type at all (ahem not me at all) and a fringe that is impossible to style in because it  li-ter-ally defies gravity. And what about those times when, on occasion, you’ve excused yourself from a group outing in favour of being a couch potato with those episodes of Boys Over Flowers or Bleach. Tut tut m’dears.

Any obsession can be a little bit bad in a way. There’s no such thing as loving something too much but it can make you go a bit craycray sometimes. So I’ll tell you how I got out of this bubble and hopefully we can all love things in a nice hippie way and not go nuts!

So when I first got into Japanese anime and manga I went maybe a little bit over the top. But I’m sure we all do. It’s enough when you’re spending your whole summer inside watching anime! But when it gets to normal school days again…arhhhh. ‘Pftt one more episode I swear….kay one more…..two more then THAT’S IT…..fuck it.’

I think I probably dropped a whole grade because I spent my time watching anime rather than revising during years 9 and 10. *sigh* Don’t let this be you! At least have a bit of self-discipline! I made up for lost revision time and got my arse back in gear during years 11 and 12 so I’m getting there now. The trick is….not to get there in the first place.

Sometimes loving Asia can influence you physically, your appearance. It definitely did for me. Not really clothes wise and there’s nothing wrong with what you wear anyway, what you dress yourself in isn’t an issue here. But it was more my hair. I’ve naturally got dark brown curly hair, used to be ringlety when I was young but it’s more loose bouncy curls now, definitely not the type of hair that’s easily manipulated. I attempted numerous times to gain Mami Sazaki’s full fringe, I asked for Bubzbeauty’s razored ends and I drew an outline of K-On! Azusa’s bangs and gave it to my hairdresser …all on separate occasions of course not altogether! But I just loved how cute the Asian hairstyles were. It took me some time to realise that a thick, full fringe did not make the most of my features, razored ends did not suit my hair type and asking for an anime character’s hairstyle was not realistic. My hair is now cut into a short bob, yes influenced by Ella Chen’s style (that I blogged about here) but it’s tailored to me. I have blunt ends because it suits my hair, I’m growing my fringe out because it suits my face shape and the style allows me to wear my hair naturally curly as well as straight. I get the best of both worlds and it was even influenced by Asian culture!

Finally, sometimes loving a certain KPOP band too much can result in injuries. And not just to yourself either.  Sasaeng fans. That’s all I’m saying. Don’t become one. Or whatever western equivalent there is.

So if you feel like you’re getting a bit too obsessed, promise yourself you’ll watch those episodes AFTER you’ve done your homework. Look at that gorgeous Asian hair you so wish you had and then look at your own and think ‘I wonder what it’d look like at it’s best…’ and by all means be inspired by that hairstyle but tweak it just a little bit. Don’t neglect your friends for your lurve for Asia too much, get satisfaction from both! And don’t try and be something you’re not, work on who you are and try and be the best ‘you’ you can be. Sure, we’d all like to be like our idols, sometimes we really want to BE them but there’s always good and bad in everyone’s lives so EMBRACE yourself and be your own best friend.

AHOHOHOHOHHOOHOHHOOHOHOH! A little too serious here now. Need something funny. I know. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J9X9VvYQXU

AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAAHHAAHAH!

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Being on a language exchange site!

So I think this first post should be a helpful one especially to those who are not on language exchanges yet! As someone who loves Asia, but lives in England, I don’t get to interact much with any Japanese or Koreans, the only Asians I ever see are Chinese and there are very few in my area! Being on a language exchange has allowed me to break this norm and as a result I have many Japanese and Korean friends of all ages! I think in this post I’m going to just explain how I decided to get on a language exchange site and what it’s actually like, how helpful it is etc etc and I’ll make another post maybe on the DO’s and DON’T’s or how you should approach signing up to one and using it. So without further ado; here’s my shiz!

So how did I decide to sign up? Well! It was something I’d considered for a while (yes a few months is a while!) but I was too intimidated to try it. I thought maybe there was an age limit, maybe nobody would be interested, maybe it would be really difficult to find a language exchange partner. Let me just say that all these assumptions are WRONG. There’s no age limit, I have a Japanese friend who is 15! Nobody’s interested? SERIOSULY!? There are crap loads of people wanting to learn English, even just as many wanting to learn Spanish, French, German, Italian etc etc I even have a friend who’s learning Hawaiian! If you’re talking about people not being interested in you appearance-wise…GET ON PLENTYOFFISH.COM OR SOMETHING! It’s not a dating site, although some people do use it as one which I’ll address in another post. People who genuinely want to learn English or another language that’s not their own are not looking at how pretty or hot someone is. Is it hard to find a language exchange partner? Nope! If you’re inviting (not in a sexy way) and open to learn their language or are willing to help them with a language they’re studying they’ll come running. Trust me. There you go, all assumptions debunked by someone who knows their language exchanges oh yeah baby. BACK TO THE QUESTION AT HAND *ahem*! I just decided that if I was to ever talk to, in person, a Japanese or Korean then the only way for me was to get on a language exchange and get myself some Skype: ID’s.

Actually signing up? Like signing up to any other site it requires an email address and a password and blah blah blah but then it allows you to start personalizing your profile, so, picking a username, adding a description that people will see, usually your age and always your native language and what languages you’re studying. On most sites you can simply message someone or send a friends request but on some other sites they require payment (I’ll elaborate in the next post). I’ve actually signed up to numerous language exchange sites just to heighten my chances of meeting lots of different people, which has proved to be successful and I definitely recommend doing this! Some sites are more popular than others for one reason or another so if you’re not getting any attention in one place then move on to the next.

People will contact you! Now, you’re most likely going to have some people (who cannot speak the languages you’re studying) contact you because they want to learn your native language. Everyone gets this! English is the second most widely spoken language in the world, it’s a business language, everyone knows of it and most people can speak even a little bit of it, so of course I get requests all the time from people I just don’t have anything in common with. As harsh as it sounds, I have to either ignore or reject some request nowadays because in a nutshell – the longer you stay active on a lang exchange, the more people (regardless of what languages they speak) will contact you and keeping up with long paragraphs explaining why you can’t help them is way too much especially if you’re on more than one site. Of course! Helping somebody learn your native tongue who doesn’t speak the languages you’re studying is great! But, sometimes we start to think ‘..it’s called a language exchange for a reason…’  and if you’re not gaining any knowledge for your own studies then it’s not always as rewarding as it could be if they did speak what you want to learn. It depends on the person! I do have foreign friends who are Spanish and Turkish and Greek whom I’ve met on lang exchange sites and I help them with their English from time to time! Luckily, on a lot of sites there’s a option to search for someone who speaks:….. and is learning:… unluckily, a lot of people don’t use the and is learning:… option and just look for people who can speak what they’re studying.

What actually happens? Basically, contact request -> exchange info (Skype ID, facebook etc) -> text chat or talk online or possibly in person if you’re up for it -> help eachother with language and understanding of culture! I hear people worrying about how to actually teach someone a language. A lot of the time me and my Skype friends just talk in English about everything and anything! This is because since most of them are Japanese and they’ve learnt already a considerable amount of English, enough to hold a conversation, they just say to me ‘just talking normally is practice for me’ so we just talk and talk! You might wonder how this helps me with my Japanese or my Korean but I do ask a lot of questions about both language and culture so I like to think I’m okay in that field of understanding! I’m also still studying by myself and since Japanese people learn English in school and I’ve never learnt Japanese in school (only French and German) they can hold a conversation whilst I…can’t. I don’t know enough yet!

What you get out of it? Friendship! Satisfaction out of learning not only a new language and not only helping somebody learn your language, but learning about the culture! What people are really like over there!

So just remember, if you’re lost, there’s only one road and it’s easy! Just do it!

374424_10151623390912669_1398913931_nSo that’s my shiz as I said! It’s terribly long but my next post will be probably on the DO’s and DON’T’s on a lang exchange site. BOOM!

(blimey, need a cuppa after that one)