Finished NaNoWriMo

I managed to write the required 50,000 words to complete NaNoWriMo.  I didn’t find this easy to do but I did do it in 17 days.  The story may have been better if I had taken more time but I knew that once I started travelling that there was no way that I would find time to write.

I found writing strangely addictive.  There were parts of the story that unfolded as quickly as I could type.  I also started to dream about the characters. I hadn’t expected writing to feel so like reading.  (I’m not sure if that sentence makes a lot of sense but whilst I was writing I stopped reading fiction, as if the writing I was doing removed my need to do this.)

The story isn’t finished yet but I’m going to wait until the New Year and then go back to it.

Gym Membership

Marty convinced me to join the local gym.  We signed up on Sunday and now I need to work up the nerve to actually go.  This is not because I think people will laugh at my dreadful fitness level but because there are 75 rules of conduct for using it.  It took my Japanese teacher an hour to translate these and then another hour to go through the additional instructions I had been given.

Marty broke a rule while entering the gym on Sunday as he didn’t remove his shoes at the entrance.  I was dawdling along behind him and saw a couple of other people remove their shoes, so didn’t make the same mistake.  (My enthusiasm for signing up was evident in my reluctance to enter.)

I know that there are rules for using gyms in the U.K. but I can’t remember being explicitly told that it was forbidden to drink alcohol inside the gym.  Here there are lots of rules about shoes, but then wearing appropriate foot wear is an important part of the culture.  I find it odd that tattoos are forbidden but this also seems to be a cultural issue.

There are some rules that amused me:

  • Don’t dye your hair in the shower room
  • Don’t do your laundry in the shower room
  • Don’t read newspapers or magazines in the sauna or steam room
  • Don’t scrub or exfoliate your skin in the sauna
  • No gargling is allowed at the water fountain
  • Don’t wear jeans or skirts during aerobic classes

I find it odd to provide such explicit rules.  Why say that you can’t do your laundry in the shower room?  Is it O.K. to do this in the swimming pool or in the spa?  I imagine not, but when I see rules like this I start to wonder if I can do anything I want as long as there is no rule against it.

There was a a whole separate page on how to use the swimming pools.  I’m not sure I want to actually try swimming.  Before you enter the pool you have to sign some sort of health-check sheet and have your blood pressure taken (and it seems you do this every time you go).  You also must wear a swimming cap – something about hair clogging up filters.  I don’t own a swimming cap and my Japanese teacher thinks I’m going to need to buy one for a child as my head is small.  She said I would look cute.

Then there are the instructions on how to use the lanes.  There are one-way lanes, u-turn lanes, beginner lanes, and  lanes that you can only front-crawl in.  There are directions on the proper way to overtake a slow swimmer.  Seriously it tells me that I can only overtake on the right.  There are also the expected rules about noise, splashing, diving, walking…  I wasn’t actually expecting there to be rules about how to stop and walk in the swimming pool but it seems that the madness is endless.  And then there is the mysterious rule that states it’s O.K. to wear gloves in the pool.  Neither my teacher or I could come up with any explanation for that.

Given how horrified I am with the whole thing I have rang a Japanese friend who is going to go with me to the gym tomorrow.  I’m hoping that if the staff start to yell at us for our stupidity that she can at least translate for me.

7 Responses to “Gym Membership”

  1. Hails Says:

    I used to go swimming in Estonia, where they also had the various confusing lanes and rules about overtaking, although I didn’t bother to translate most of them. Japan really takes it to a whole new level! I love the laundry one. And I suggest you go to an aerobics class dressed in biking leathers or a clown suit. Or just naked. 🙂 There’s no rule against it…

  2. Jessica Marie Says:

    This made me laugh. You are a brave woman, Karen.

  3. karen Says:

    Hails, I think I will keep my clothes on – at least in the areas where other people are dressed 🙂 There are rules about taking off your swim wear before going to the shower area.

    Jessica, I don’t feel very brave. I hope that forcing myself to go with someone else will at least make me pretend that I am.

  4. Alan in Belfast Says:

    Sounds like a private club that needs a membership exam. You’ve been given the “Highway Code” but now need lessons in order to pass the “Driving Test”.

    Do keep us up to date on the next chapter of this adventure – we’ll be expecting a “cute” photo as evidence!

  5. karen Says:

    Just because Ohata-san thinks I would look cute in a pink bathing cap complete with flowers doesn’t mean that I will actually buy one!

  6. steve Says:

    My understanding – which is based largely on Beat Takeshi movies, so I could be wrong – is that there’s an assumed association between “showing tattoos in public” and “being a member of the Yakuza”, so the no tattoos rule is probably designed as an anti-gang measure.

  7. karen Says:

    I suppose I did know that tattoos were related to gangs. And it’s probably much simpler to say “No Tattoos” than “No Gangsters”.

NaNoWriMo Day 4

Writing fiction is hard.  So far I have managed to write the target amount of words but I fear that I am writing myself in circles.  I think I’ve made a mistake.  I started writing in the first person.  This wasn’t planned, it just happened.  Now, I am trying to find ways to tell the story when I can only provide information seen through the eyes of one person, or at least one person at a time.

It also seems to be forcing me to write as if the story is unfolding in real time.  Now I know why so many people put headings in their novels like “one month later”.  Whatever happens it’s certainly going to be an interesting learning experience.

3 Responses to “NaNoWriMo Day 4”

  1. Hails Says:

    I tried it last year. My problem with it was lack of direction. I couldn’t come up with a beginning, middle, and end for my novel, and when I followed their “just keep writing anyway and see what happens” approach I got lost. I kept scrapping it and starting a completely different story instead of just persevering, so ended up getting nowhere. Hope you have more success than me! I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on the experience…

  2. karen Says:

    I hope I manage to complete it. So far I’ve managed to keep writing but I am finding it difficult to progress the story. Last night I added in a portal – just because I couldn’t work out how to get my main character to another place. Today I took that out and added in a walk between the two places. Who knows what madness I’ll write next!

  3. Khaos » Blog Archive » Finished NaNoWriMo Says:

    […] managed to write the required 50,000 words to complete NaNoWriMo.  I didn’t find this easy to do but I did do it in 17 days.  The story may have been better if I had taken more time but I […]

NaNoWriMo Day 2

I feel exhausted today.  I had mostly given up on the day by 3 o’clock when I hadn’t managed to do anything constructive.  At that point I decided to sit down and try to write.  I had sent a message to one of my writing buddies last night to congratulate them on their word count.  They had managed to write more than 5,000 words in one day.  I did try to write yesterday but my mind was a bit like a blank page.  She wrote back and suggested I start with “it was a dark and stormy night” and twist it a little.

Not having much luck with just looking at the screen I decided to give it a try.  I started with “It was a beautiful day” and then went on to rant about how it should have been dark and stormy to match my feelings.  And somehow I have ended up with 1,975 words, two main characters, and a whole new world.  I didn’t want to write fantasy but it seems to be writing itself.  Since this appears to be an exercise in producing 50,000 words of fiction I’m not going to fight the fantasy thing.  I’m having enough trouble writing without throwing obstacles like “I’d rather write horror” in my way.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

At some point in October I signed up for the NaNoWriMo writing challenge.   Today, to help me get into the right frame of mind, I went to the Tokyo Meet-up.  I met four other people who are also trying to write a novel in a month.

The afternoon started off with an adventure.  We were supposed to be meeting at Tokyo Hacker Space but either we didn’t manage to find it or we did find it and it wasn’t open.  We eventually gave up and went and found a coffee shop.

I have no idea how to write a novel and it was interesting listening to the others talk about their ideas.  I was also amused by their combined hatred of Twilight.  I don’t really understand why people feel the need to mock popular fiction.  When I suggested that the story was interesting I was told that people shouldn’t sacrifice their integrity to write popular fiction.  Ah, to be young and idealistic.  To think that success is a sure sign that you aren’t enough of a tortured genius for your work to be any good.

I’m not convinced that I’ll be able to write anything that’s close to any definition of good.  But it will amuse me trying.