On the train to Nagoya

I am currently on a train to Nagoya. Not the fast one. I could have been to Nagoya by now. But whenever I take these trips to play Magic for a weekend, I like taking the slow route Thursday after work. I sit on trains for a bit longer, but I get to play games, listen to podcasts and exiast in a different way than I do most days.

There’s something about being in a public place yet still being private that is oddly... Relaxing? Freeing? Focusing? I translate faster on a train, that’s for sure. Less distractions. Well, more distractions, actually, but I have to conciously tune them out which means I focus more. I don’t know. There’s probably some science behind it all.

I am a bit sad that I don’t have a team for this Grand Prix. I’m not playing in the main event, instead I signed up for the “Constructed Fanatic” package, which if I play my cards right, will save me nearly ¥7000 and let me play a lot of Magic. Which is the point of the weekend.

But I’m sad that I don’t have a team because it makes me think. Am I not friendly enough with the people I spend lots of hours playing Magic with? Am I too bad of a Magic player for them to want me on their team? Am I a shitty person?

That’s Depression talking. I hate that fucker. Shut the fuck up, would you?

Who knows. I didn’t ask anyone. Well, I did ask a group chat but it either wasn’t seen, was ignored, or was a bad time. Or some other reason. Point is, I didn’t get a team. But that isn’t going to stop me from going out and trying to have fun.

I worry something like Magic might not be the best for someone like me. There’s a reason I’ve never smoked nor gambled. They have these raffle like things at the store booths at Grand Prixs in Japan and I’m ashamed to say I’ve “gambled” on them. I always say I won’t next time, but then I do again. Although I manage to cut back a bit. I guess? But there’s a thrill there. At least I’m not spending money I don’t have. I’m not putting myself into (further) debt. Is that a piss-poor excuse?

I get frustrated, but I do have fun. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this. I am sitting on this train to Nagoya, a literal train on a literal path to Nagoya Station, and I wonder if I’m off my rocker for traveling for a weekend, spending a bit on a cheap AirBNB, just to play a card game. I could do it at home on my computer.

But there’s something about getting out. Something about doing it in person. Even if I’m too shy to talk with many people, too concerned about sounding like a fool when I speak Japanese or English, that I become a bit of a recluse even in public. But I’m trying to work on it. I guess? It’s hard. Magic’s hard. Life’s hard.

But we all keep on going, right?

What do I get at the end of my life for having spent these weekends going to play Magic? Stories, I suppose. Those of bad luck, scrubbing out, but also those of good luck and triumphs. Small and “pointless” as they may be. And I get to look back and smile.

I don’t like traveling. But here I am on a train to Nagoya. The AirBNB guy messaged me to say there’s a festival going on this weekend. He hopes I get the chance to check it out. I hope it doesn’t interfere with me getting to the tournament site on time.

Maybe I just want someone with me. I kind of feel stupid for wanting a significant other who shares a hobby with me. I’m not going to “hit on” anyone I play the game with or at a place where I frequent. That feels gross. Although I don’t tend to “hit on” people in general. My last few relationships just grew out of circumstance, so perhaps I’m just waiting for circumstance to happen again.

My youngest brother just got engaged. The story, as my father told me, was that on their first date my brother asked his now fiance what one thing people would find surpsing to find out she has interest in and one hobby she has as a guilty pleasure. Or something like that. She answered, and the ordering of these answers is both unimportant and a bit lost to repeated tellings of the storty, WWE and Magic. My brother and his fiance seem to get along quite fine.

That’s not to say I’d be in a perfect relationship if I found someone who liked Magic. Maybe it’s someone who likes RPGs with overly complicated battle systems, books that are too long for their own good or someone who just has a deep and intense passion for something beyond their day to day job. Just an intense passion to do something. Wanting to do it all the time. Someone with a love for a part of life that doesn’t matter but doesn’t care that it doesn’t matter.

Maybe I need to love myself first. That’s hard. Like life and Magic.

Train’s about to stop in Nagoya. This is my first time in the city. I’m going to go play some Magic. You all have a nice weekend.

The Panic

I went to a gaming “industry” meet up last night. I put that in scare-quotes not to diminish it but because it's not like the event is limited to gaming industry people only. I mean I’m allowed to go.

(Is it fucked up that I have released five games and I still don't consider myself part of the gaming industry?)

While I was waiting for people to show up, I was doing Shadowverse’s equivalent of drafting. People started coming in and I chatted with them, but I wanted to finish the Arena best-of-five that I had started.

Plus there were people there.

While I know it was rude to keep playing the game while chatting, my panic was starting to hit in hard. I don't get it. I knew at least half of the people there, and the new folk were friendly enough. But I just started to fear for my life.

I tried to calm my nerves with pizza and booze. It didn't help. I just remember sitting at one point, conversations to the left of me, conversations to the right, and here I am in the middle just paralyzed without a thing to say. I eventually interjected a bit into a conversation about localization, but after that I just slowly looked at the clock and decided to head out.

I was a bit early for my train, but that was okay. I played some Shadowverse on the train. I got home, exercised a bit and went to bed.

I could have stayed home and played games but I don't think I would have done that either. I was exhausted from work - and it wasn't even a hard work day! But I went out and didn't feel it either.

I’m feeling lost right now. Not sure where I am heading in life or with any of my hobbies or interests. Which is funny because this morning I recorded my daily video and was pretty pumped for Guilds of Ravnica. I guess I still am? I’m just scared of life all of a sudden and not making any moves.

Who am I waiting for permission from?

Setting up

I’m writing this on my new iPhone XS while my shitty internet chugs away at downloading apps.

This was my first time updating entirely from iCloud. I’ve always used hard backups before. I’m surprised how well this is going other than my internet sucking ass.

1Password’s integration is amazing. Logging into apps is stupid easy now. After all the hubbub I heard about FaceID, I’m surprised how easily it gets my mug as I lay on my bed translating and slowly checking all my apps.

My Series 4 Watch is also blowing my mind with how much of an upgrade it is to the original Watch. I somehow botched the backup of my watch, but it seems all the data I wanted was saved in iCloud anyway, so setting it up as a new watch has caused me no problems.

So far so good. I’m surprised how quickly I forgot the home button was even a thing. Picking up my iPhone 7 and it already feels extremely old.

We'll see how I feel in a week. But first impressions are great.

In which I talk about butts

I’m constipated.

I believe this is one of the side effects of the depression medicine I’m taking. Another one of those potential side effects is depression, so we know we're dealing with the, as the kids say, “good shit”.

So I tried the things. Stomach massages. Lots and lots of water. Fiber. So much fiber.

I gave in and bought some laxatives today. Here's where it gets gross, people.

Oh wait, it doesn’t. Because nothing fucking happened.

I spent a whole ¥700 on medicine people on the Internet said made for good poops. If I can't trust the Internet when it comes to shit, who can I trust?

I was planning on talking about Guilds of Ravnica tonight, but all I can think about is my gut. And how Guilds of Ravnica is probably going to change Standard so radically that I am just completely confused and will probably just focus on Modern and Legacy until someone else does well with a deck I find interesting.

Looking forward to those pre-releases and maybe a Sealed PPTQ or two, though.

If that's movin' up, then I'm passin' out

Ugh. Health check.

Lucky to have health insurance, but I always dreaded this because I knew that once I hit a certain age, blood tests would become necessary.

Last year was bad. As soon as I found out that I was going to have a blood test I found myself sweating profusely an barely able to stand. I am pretty sure I passed out for at bit after the blood was drawn.

Today I don't think I passed out, but it was such a bizarre moment. They lie me down, all these other teachers are going around with their vials of piss and getting weighed, and here I am with a blanket put over me (I don't get why they put the blanket over me) and then of course the blood taker is alternating between arms trying to find a place to take blood and at this point I am sweating. Pure heat radiating from my forehead and then there's that sting.

And the draining. I can just feel the blood being sucked out of me. A few minutes pass and they ask if I can stand up. Time to be done. Apparently I have one more thing to do where someone sticks a bunch of stuff to my chest and check out my heart? The woman administering the test(?) asks me to relax and I can't quite get it across that the blood taking got to me bad.

All done. Wobble out to my car. See my boss. “You okay?” Not really, no. “You look bad. Be careful.” I sit in my car and drink half a liter of water and drive to work. Teach my classes. I made it.

Goodness, I hate having my blood taken.

The Anxious Moment

I turned in translation work on Monday. I didn't have any more lined up. I panicked. What would I do?

Work came in Tuesday while I was teaching.

How much time can we spend worrying about things? If I didn't get that job I would have to cut back on some frivalries. I've already cut back on snacking and that has made an impact on my wallet and my waistline.

But the worry can't be good either.

In fact, due to some worry about things I cannot control I lost a few hours tonight. I'll never get them back. It's 1:30 in the morning and I can't sleep because I am worried about something that ultimately shouldn't matter in my life. But here I am. And I have to live with that.

Never clean

Heavy rain cancelled classes today. I'm lucky.

So I streamed. Exercised. Got my translation work done. Did laundry. Did a huge overhaul of my Magic collection for the upcoming Standard rotation.

I got a lot done today, but I still feel like I failed. What could I have done that would have made the day a success? Made a million dollars? That's unrealistic. Make a dollar? Well, I translated about $200 worth of stuff. So that's something.

I was also approved for a Japanese credit card. That's awesome considering how hard they can be to get. It arrived in the mail today.

I started learning Modern Storm. I went 3-2 in a casual league. I beat Humans, Grixis Death Shadow and then lost to Burn twice but beat Burn once. Burn is hard. But it was good practice. And I'm enjoying the deck a lot. Not sure if I am ready to take it to a PPTQ, but it's the most fun I've had with Magic in a while.

Today was good. So why do I feel sad?

Audible

Can you hear me? Hahaha. Hrm. Not funny.

It makes me laugh a bit that I know this American football term even though I pay little mind to sports. But that's culture for you! Things just seep in no matter what.

So yesterday I decided to not hit up the Standard Showdown I usually go to on Thursdays in Osaka. Instead of trying to compete for a pack of potentially four very bad cards (My Standard Showdown pulls this cycle have been hilariously bad.) I decided to practice online.

But, oh no! I only have my Standard decks on Arena. That can't be good practice, right?

Well, reps are reps and as long as I think about the plays I'm making that's a good thing. I'm sure people who are playing in Nationals this weekend aren't picking decks because they think they're fun but rather because they think they are good and/or the player themselves is good with the deck. Still, I don't want to spend money on Standard on Magic Online with Arena around. I'd rather practice Sealed/Draft/Modern.

Anyway, I realized I needed to do laundry, so an even better excuse to not leave the house! Plus I'm traveling this weekend so cutting down on costs is smart, right? Right.

So I did laundry. While I waited for it to try at the laundromat I had some Indian curry for dinner. Mistake. I felt so tired after that. It was tasty though. So, so tasty. Worth the 0.8 kg I’m up today - which I’ll blame on water weight! And the carbs. The tasty, tasty carbs.

Anyway. I got home, relaxed for a bit and then decided to go on Arena. But as soon as I looked at my Red Black deck I just felt some dread. I don't like the deck. I don't like playing it. I played Turbo Fog to a 5-0 win in the “Competitive Constructed” on Arena. Which, I know, Arena isn't the true testing grounds but it felt so good.

So do I go with my gut feeling of wanting to play with fun or my gut feeling of wanting to play with proven success?

This is a “grow up” moment (admitted, not an important one in the grand scheme of things), and I don't know which path to choose.

Three days in

I'm trying something new over at https://www.youtube.com/user/revenantkioku.

I'm not expecting anything out of this. I am just going to talk to my computer for five minutes every morning. I might start getting onto topics. I might just ramble about my life. But I need to be making something again and if writing has become hard and programming has become hard and streaming has become hard, sitting down in front of a web cam and pressing recoard for five minute is something I can do.

And if I am going to get out of this depression I have to start doing things.

I call it "An Honest Five" and I'm sure you can figure out where that comes from. You know. Comedians are said to be working on their "tight five". So yeah, five honest minutes of feelings. That's all. We'll see where it goes.

What I would do

Sometimes I think about being "independently wealthy".

Honestly, I am not entirely sure what that means or how it is obtainable other than birth. That last part has missed the boat, though.

But I think about what I like doing. Playing Magic. Making and playing video games. Having sex. Well, I’m probably not going to make money off of that last one. At least not and be happy. Yeah, I need a loving partner. What a strange request.

Anyway.

You know, I could be streaming. I don’t as much as I could because of... anxiety? What if I stream and gasp no one watches?! Well, that happens right now because I'm an unknown quantity and why would you watch me? I don't get viewers just because I want them.

And I don't get to win at Magic just because I want to. That doesn't mean I practice as much as I should. No. Instead I waste time on things because wasting time is easier than doing hard things.

At least I’m getting all of my real work done and not in any risk of losing my job(s) outside of the normal market conditions which thinking about is enough to send my anxiety flaring.

But what do I want? I want to play Magic, stream and make games. So I should start doing those things, shouldn't I?

Drama distraction

When I translate I like to take breaks and read the news. I say “like” when it tends to bring me down.

There has been lots in politics. Let’s nof go there. There has been lots in the world of Magic. That kind of takes away the fun.

Standard Showdown tonight. 1-1-1. Lost to Blue storm splashing Jhoira. Neat Esper Control and drew with Esper Control.

As much as I was not excited about pre-rotation Standard, I have been finding Turbo Fog has been fun. But getting out and actually playing thr game was fun and a good reminder of why I do this even with all the negativity going on.

Overworking

So damn hot.

But who cares, who wants to hear about that?

I got a metric fuckton, which I believe is the technical term, of translation work to do that somehow lined up right before I go back to America. And it will help pay for the trip. I mean help. But I am pulling a big duty on translating and in order to have everything done in time I'm going to have to not stream, not play my FF5 Fiesta run and ignore some other things.

But then I should be able to have a good "vacation". I'll probably get translation work then, but that's fine. I want to get better at this to increase potential jobs. You know, the future. Which I guess I still have some of.

I heard the new teacher coming to our town this year is twenty-two. Born in Nineteen Hundred and Nintey Six. I was already getting into arguments about video games on the Internet by then. Goodness. I mean, this person was in fifth grade when I started teaching in Japan!

It doesn't matter. I'm not judging this person so much as I am using it as a way to put my current life into perspective. Am I doing what I want?

Well, no.

So that's the problem. It's been the problem, and it feels like I have just been spinning wheels. I worry that Magic has been me delaying my life in some ways, but in others it is me actually enjoying life, except for the times where my depression gets the best of me and I let my results in a game drag me down. But I let my results from job applications drag me down. I let results from everything drag me down. So I can't blame Magic. Or companies that don't find me a current fit. I can only blame how I let myself feel.

Which in and of itself might not be the right way to go about it, but I do have to acknowledge it, right?

I also have a lot of translation to do.

Ninety-Nine Bottles of Water on the Wall

So thirsty. I've been trying to stay hydrated with mostly water, because I am trying to be conscious of my weight, but I wonder if I am doing something wrong.

I’m taking a multivitamin in the morning. Yes, I know I probably pee out cents a day. Might as well fill in the holes that are being missed by accident, right? Unless I totally misunderstand how the body works.

I've been eating a fairly varied diet. Quite hungry at night once it cools down. Cannot fathom eating during most of the day, though. It's just been so hot.

Ugh. I’d hate to go look at what I was blogging last year (Was I blogging last year?) and see that I wrote practically the same thing.

I finished up a Standard league on Magic Online yesterday. 4-1. I was 4-0 going into the end and... I don't want to waste times with sob stories, but seriously? Can't I 5-0 once in my lifetime? Do I have to mulligan down to... Oh, never mind. 4-1 isn't bad.

But then I sold everything rotating and put it towards a Modern deck. PPTQ season is upon us. Plus I’m going to be practicing sealed for GP Chiba, and summer doesn't have many events anyway so I might as well put Standard on the back burner for the time being.

M19 is interesting but I dunno. Looking at my notes, so many of my rounds of the past few PPTQs were against Chainwhirler decks, the lack of a ban has me kind of shrugging my shoulders at Standard. M19 isn't going to change much. It was kind of funny listening to a set review and Chainwhirler came up every other card. Especially funny when it would be a goblin card and it's like “Okay, we are borderline ready for a goblin deck in Standard... except Goblin Chainwhirler probably hurts it too much.”

Depending what I pull from my pre-release events, I might either put together Esper Control with a Chromium in the side or a Grixis Deck if I mange to grab a Nicol Bolas or... four? Three? I wonder how many that deck wants. He will die and you will want to recast him. Hm. It's going to be interesting. But I know most of the FNMs around me are Standard so having a deck together is worth it. But I’m not too excited to play.

That said, a trip to America is coming up in less than three weeks. I’ll of course be doing stuff with my son, but also scheduling time to go to Magic tournaments with my brother and friends. (Hey, my son needs no-Japanese at all, immersive English Experience, right?)

Still thirsty though. And my water bottle is empty. Too tired to get up.

Gold Bond and clichés

One of the first things you'll hear new JETs in Japan complain about is the abundance of teachers frequently saying "さむい" (cold) during winter and "あつい" (hot) during summer.

To be fair to these teachers, it's fucking true. As the son of a teacher, I'm used to public education lacking in terms of budget and Japan is no different. Tack on some cultural stuff (even though most teacher rooms have air conditioning, they don't turn it on during the hours when the students are in school out of "respect" for the students, since there is no AC in classrooms) and you are left being a sweaty mess in the summer or heavily layered and somehow still cold to the core in winter.

I am a sweaty mess right now. Gold Bond was applied thoroughly.

It's just gross, though. The humidity is through the roof. And we have another month to go before summer vacation kicks into effect.

I kind of hate writing this because it's cliché as fuck. I have probably written about it before and probably will write about it again as long as I am a teacher. But when you're a sweaty pile of mush it just becomes hard to think about anything else.

M19 is coming up? That might be exciting. Grand Prix Chiba is sealed so, I’m going to have to practice for that.

If I could move my body.

;debra

Somehow this happened.

Of course thsi worried me at first because this means something was likely wrong with the Fiesta bot.

Then it hit me.

I use my own account for lots of testing. I probably should use another account, but it doesn't really matter until the event is live. Unfortunately it was live when I ran into something to fix, but I hadn't started playing that much yet so I just used my account to fix it.

But since I revealed my jobs and wanted to be surprised, I closed my eyes and typed in some commands.

Thanks to TextExpander I can randomly type out any FF5 job. Ninja. Boom. That was from me typing ;fjob. I can also do it speifically for Wind, Water, Fire and Earth jobs. I also added one for the GBA jobs. ;fgba. I must have fat-fingered the typing, macOS autocorrected to "debra" and the semicolon was there because that is what I use to start off all these commands.

Boom. Mystery solved. And I figured it out while trying to sleep.

Thanks brain.

Breakdown

Another 1-4 PPTQ.

I got frustrated. I said some things to some people I shouldn't have said.

Back in 2016 when I went to America, my plans were to pick up one an NES that was sitting in my parents' attic, and get heavy into speedrunning that winter. Then along came Magic.

I do have a bit of an addictive personality. When I get into things I often get into them hard. I did it with kanji when I came to Japan, I the got into Yugioh at quite the intensity, really got into translating when I started that and then had a fliration with speedrunning after I left my wife.

Now we have the Magic situation.

I'm not spending money I don't have - that's good! My "addiction" is not taking away from my work or my obligations to my son. Now yes, there are weeks where I will play in up to five tournaments, but there are others where I just get to one.

So what's the problem?

I'm not a good loser.

I'm a negative thinker and this carries out into many of my daily things. The medication is supposed to help me with my anxiety and depression but I think I might be misdiagnosed or simply not taking effective medication.

My plans were to come home and stream after the tournament today, but I didn't even want to interact with other people on that level. I just sat and did some grinding in my Four Job Fiesta run and the daily quests in Magic Arena. I'm a few days ahead on my translation work.

But see, there's another thing. I'm ahead of schedule on my translation work and yet I am anxious about getting it done on time. Or if it is actually right. But I have been doing this work for years now and have never gotten submitted work rejected. So why do I worry?

The world of possibilities.

Let's not even get into my game dev, whcih I haven't touched in over a month because... more failure?

I recognize that Magic is a game of variance and skill, and I have skills to learn, but I feel stuck. And while I enjoy going to tournaments, the losses - not really the losses but just the feeling that I'm not good enough to even have good matches just frustrates me. Then I go do it again the next week, and I am excited to play, but I fail and these strings of failures are weighing on top of the other things. Finding a new job. Dealing with life as a divorced father. Still paying my college debt. Having been a teacher for 12 years when I thought it would be five. I feel like I fucked up my life and I try to get enjoyment out of something else, but I can't because the problem isn't Magic or video games or translation.

It's that I hate myself. I hate my every being. I don't know how to "love" myself. That doesn't make sense. All I know is to hate and be negative to myself. And it's bad. It's not healthy. And I'm addicted to it.

Tickets

Bought tickets for me and the boy to go to America for a few weeks over the summer.

Primarily for his English skills. And to see my parents. They're cool. Mostly I just want to jam some games of Magic and not worry about work and shit for a while. But I'm sure I'll have translation work. That's okay. These tickets are expensive.

I'm worried about traveling with him post-divorce, since his name has been changed since the last time we went to America. There's paperwork I can get, but instead of offical forms to fill out, I just craft a leter, sign it with my ex-wife in front of a notary, pay way too much money for that service and then hope no one arrests me or takes my son away from me because they think I'm kidnapping him.

I know, I worry too much. But there is so much fucked up stuff going on in America right now that even though I know my whiteness and his American passport should get us through with no problems, I just have my doubts. Because of all the fucked up shit going on. It's scary, even though I've got good reason (i.e. privilege) to not worry about it. But hey, anxiety!

Oh yeah. I hope they let my medicine go through. Maybe I should just talk to my doctor about weaning myself off of it. Hasn't exactly felt like it's been helping lately. Or maybe I just reached a different level of anxiety and it was worse before and it's just less worse now?

Anyway. I'm looking forward to a few weeks with my family even though I have to fly for over twenty hours two times. Ugh. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it sure isn't fun.

Exhaustion

I love the Four Job Fiesta.

Working on it sure is exhausting, though. I mean, it's a 24/7 thing. But I "signed up" for this. I like doing it. Plus it keeps me on my toes with stuff like PHP and Twitter APIs and all that sorts of fun stuff.

Well, not PHP. That's not fun.

I had a bug because of a switch statment that ended in a ; instead of a :. Why this is valid PHP, I don't know. But it is and it caused some problems, but they are mostly fixed.

I have a few more things to work on the Fiesta page but I've also been translating a buttton of stuff as well as doing a bit of streaming because, hey, it's the Fiesta! Let's have fun!

Magic Standard Showdowns are done for Dominaria, which kind of sucks because they were a nice reason to get out of the house? But decent timing since that means I can stay home and stream FF5 this week. I should get in some Magic practice but, eh. This Standard is pretty much done. Core Set 19 comes out soon enough.

Anyway, woof. Tired. Bed time.

Sticking with it

I had good results with Esper Control last week during smaller tournaments, bombed during a big one. Had an on night and an off night this week. I changed my deck. Then I thought more and changed it back. Maybe it is not the best deck in the format, but it is not a bad deck and I have much to learn about it. I have much to learn about the game of Magic in general.

Shouldn’t I just be playing Black-Red then?

While the numbers show it’s on the top, I have played with it and I didn’t have fun. Now, am I handicapping myself by playing a deck that is “worse”? Well, even though my record this past week hasn’t been entirely impressive, I always beat Black-Red. So what does that tell me?

I have different matchups to work on. Differnt things to consider. But hopping around to different decks didn’t do well for me last Standard and maybe this won’t work for me. But I’ll try it. Something to stress out a little less about.

Excitement

E3 is happening. This used to be something for me. Now I play Magic instead.

I still like video games, but the news cycle about them is just completely uninteresting to me anymore.

I never would have predicted this. Hell, I swore off Magic all those years ago and now I’m in it more intensely than I’ve ever been.

Life is weird.