A new year, with hopes of progress.

[DarkHollow] Little Busters NCOP2 [BD][x264,720p,FLAC][10Bit][373AE286].mkv_snapshot_00.53_[2015.11.19_18.30.02]Hey there, those who are still lingering on my website. Good morning to some, evening to others. For me, it’s 2 AM (4 AM when I was done writing) which is more and more of a common theme in my daily life, though today it’s more or less due to a bug entering my room keeping me awake. And a bit of food poisoning. But for the most part, it’s the pent up feelings that are keeping me up right now. It seems to be habit of mine to reflect upon the year and write them down on this blog. Sadly, there’s not much of a change compared to last year, so be warned for lots of negativity emitting from this post. This will be a very personal post.

New Year’s Eve

Let’s talk about how this year started, shall we? It started off quite hectic right from the beginning. Me and my brother got back to our parents’ house for the holidays, because we don’t really see our parents that often during the year. I was actually looking forward to some kind of special activity with the family for New Year’s, but sadly this all got cancelled due to mom and dad both being very busy and all that. Bro got up and told mom and dad that he’d celebrate New Year’s with his best friends of uni who live literally next doors at his dorm, so that leaves me to make a painful decision. I either stay cozy with mom and dad but without my brother, or make fast arrangements to celebrate it with some of my best friends with whom I didn’t celebrate New Year’s last year.

Ultimately I ended up staying with my friends, which is the third year in a row where I didn’t celebrate it with my parents; I think this is why it felt more horrible than I had imagined. Moreover, one of my friends who’s not that well connected to the ones I went to was all left on his own as a result, which is also something I would’ve liked to evade, but it all comes down to the fact that… Not everybody can be satisfied. And that really tingles my mental mood of course.

So I ended up crashing at this place where there was a party with a lot of booze, and while I only entered around 8 PM, seemingly they had been taking shots every hour from 4 PM. Pretty hardcore if you ask me. In any case, I mingled with the crew and join the shots, and drank some OK red wine, at which point I probably should’ve drank some water or anything, since afterwards I experienced this thing called a “blackout”. And no, it’s not your typical “brownout” where you can’t remember everything clearly and it’s all bits and pieces. I’m talking about my brain totally turning off my memory allocation when I reach a critical point. For example: I called my parents at 2:30’ish to celebrate 2016, and called them later that day because I thought I didn’t do that at all. It seems I should not try to experiment with drinks no longer, since having no recollection is a scary thing, as if someone else moving your body instead.


For a lack of a better word to come up with at this time of day. Back at my dorm I revert to my so-called “gaming addiction”. Not that it’s really an addiction though, it’s more of an escapism. Followed by New Year comes Awesome Games Done Quick 2016, a speedrunning marathon that lasts for a few days, of course featuring games that I like as well. And I start watching. And keep watching. Consumerism. During break times or games I don’t like I take out my phone and play my usual Square Enix developed mobile games, Final Fantasy Record Keeper, Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Pop-up Story. By the time the stamina points of those games are depleted, there’s a good portion of the day gone by and I totally haven’t had any food yet.

I mentioned it last year on Twitter and I’ll sadly have to say it this year as well: Being a hikikomori sucks. It’s not just the fact that I’m pretty lonely due to socially seclusion, it has come forth from a depression that – I think – has developed through loss of motivation and being drowned in desire. While I’m watching gaming streams or Japanese streams, every now and then those thoughts pop into my mind: Everything I consume right now, will not affect anything in my daily life. The only thing I hope to get from the streams at least, is some social comfort with (Japanese) conversation with the streamer. This is also a factor why I started streaming too, since a few months ago. I will cover that part later though.

Loss of motivation?

So what “loss of motivation” am I talking about? Well, last year I recovered quite a bit from the depression due to getting a job which actually fits my dream work in the future but that dream didn’t last lost. When university started, it didn’t take long or I started to fall behind. When I look back, I always find it hard to understand why I didn’t do my best, but then again you can see that this blog is also dead all the time. Not only can I only just focus on one thing at a time, I need to like it and I also need to have a clear view of the objective in order to work on it. Pressure forced me to act before, and got me far into academics, but clearly I’m reaching a point where:

  • I couldn’t handle a part-time job and academics at the same time. I’m good at focusing on one part at a time with extreme concentration, but not at multi-tasking. This is probably why Twitter or blogging also don’t work out for me that well. (But on the other hand, I wrote this blog in 2 hours straight without a single break in the middle of the night. Strong dedication but only for a single activity in one go).
  • I couldn’t resist doing something I liked more over academics. This is where I wrote “gaming addiction” in between brackets. I’m bad at prioritizing academics before relaxation as I never had to switch gears in my life before.
  • My part-time handed me very unclear objectives to accomplish by the end of every week. While I learnt a lot about office work and the required social contact, I found it hard to report none to low progress during the week.

Therefore, I made the decision to quit my part-time job to fully concentrate my mind on academics, but I only fulfilled one of the aforementioned requirements, so in the end both ends failed, causing a lot of negative sanity points (I’d like to call it sanity points as a reference to the Call of Chtulhu game). But this is not the only cause of “demotivation”.

Another demotivational event was, ironically, going to Japan and getting the N1 certificate. This might sound baffling since it would be every Japanese studies student’s dream to study in Japan for a year and get good grades in Japanese afterwards. True, but there’s also a negative side to it that still lingers in my mindset, unfortunately. I’m talking about the fact that liking a thing too much can end up in disliking another.

See it like this: I’ve been to paradise for a year, and now I’m stuck in a culture that I don’t like, living in a dorm with people that I can’t handle very well. My only safe haven for me is my own room, but it’s too comfortable, with most space for relaxation and nearly space left for productivity. Another perspective is the fact that I have the capabilities to already work in an office, so there’s going to be this sidetracked thoughts going like “why am I still stuck on this university while I could get my dream realized already”. However, as you can see I’m more than 3 years delayed from graduation at this point, at which point my sanity is getting ridiculously low.

Drowned in desire?

The other part is that I currently have a terrible daily rhythm, and as a result I’m literally drowning in desire. And not in the positive definition. Since I normally don’t interact with anything that I don’t like, I basically sate my needs too much. A side effect of that is that I find the stuff that I like less and less satisfying because I’m still pressured and I keep escaping to these desires every single time. I did find a way to suppress this pressure by livestreaming my gaming activity. Through livestreaming, I can fix several things:

  • I need to build a rhythm where I keep steady sleeping schedules, so that I have more energy in the early mornings and go to bed earlier. I might have gotten too used to a dorm lifestyle and getting lazy is very dangerous in that situation.
  • I basically will be observed while gaming, so that gives me motivation to produce. Ie. gaming is now seen as productivity. Compare it to people working in an office and checking in how you’re doing. Some people hate it, but having this feedback gives me a lot of motivation.
  • To support the term “productivity”, I decided to create this “Steam Punked” to play through all of the Steam games I own. This number exceeds 500, so it’s going to take at least years to finish it but it is my social relief for the time being.

There’s only one problem to streaming: While it fix my daily habits, it must not be more than just a tool. However, what will become of academics if I focus all of my attention to gaming now? I am pretty sure I can’t adept to academics with a single flick of my fingers and stop this Steam Punked project when the time comes. Heck, I started this project before the beginning of the first semester of this school year and look at what happened. Exactly, nothing. However, there are some fantastic people that I’ve met through streaming and I don’t think I want to throw it away. I just find it too hard to crunch down on the streaming… and as a result, this pressure is currently preventing me from streaming as well. (Well for this week I can blame AGDQ for taking away my attention, but still, it seems I prefer consumerism over productivity.) I just feel like I’ve taken so many steps backwards, and since I’m a person who reflects on himself a bit too much, this is yet another factor of minus sanity points.

So what now?

Well, I need help. I need 2016 to be better than 2015 or my sanity will likely crumble. First of all, I need to regain my daily rhythm. This could be through anything. Due to not having a job and probably not enrolling into many available classes I can join, I will still try to have a streaming schedule going although I’ll need to crunch it down nonetheless. I noticed that while I’m streaming, I’m literally ignoring everything else on this world. So I need to educate myself into doing things that I might not like, or from the other perspective, stop doing some things that I like. I have to make myself notice that I’m pressuring myself by not doing specific tasks.

Just like last year, I really need to enforce the “yes-man” principle more often. I’m becoming more and more lonely crawling away in this small room of mine, and it would be a good New Year’s resolution to at least try and open up again. I was able to do it somewhat last year, although I have to repeat the process this time. Cause of depression might be slightly different, but the rehab should be similar.

Also, I should really focus on going for mental counseling. My inactivity is so bad that I still need to contact a psychologist to pretty much patch me up the coming months. So that’s something I need to do. Just writing it down here in hopes that I won’t keep delaying it.

But there’s one thing that I’m sure of. I can’t do this alone. Let’s just say my sanity points are pretty much reaching the nil right now, and I’m literally running out of options myself. Getting a job seemed to have been somewhat of a plus, losing it four months later obviously more of a minus. Right now my mind is thinking of looking for an internship in Japan to release myself for half a year. Haven’t put the thoughts into motion yet. Can I make it? Another thought I was having was simply backpacking in Japan for a good month (or two), as some sort of meditation and keeping me away from my daily habits long enough to acclimatize to a productive lifestyle.

What do?




Dutch student Japanologist, and founder of Mandoran. Likes everything about Modern Japan, including anime, manga, visual novels, bowling and gaming. Frequently found as translator or translation checker of fansub groups. His portfolio can be found on his dropbox website. Follow his actions on Twitter or send him a message at chrouya@gmail.com .

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