Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Salon: Life without reading

It's been ages since I've joined in the Sunday Salon but what better time to get back into it, than to celebrate the fact that my earthquake-induced reading slump seems to definitely be over! After the earthquake hit on March 11th, it was hard to concentrate on much else. Wouldn't you know, but it seems that the triple disaster, of earthquake, tsunami, and damaged nuclear power plant, are a little bit distracting, to say the least!

For the first week or so, if I was awake, I was basically glued to the internet and the TV, watching updates and trying to get as much information as I could. I couldn't even think of picking up a book. Then even after things began to settle down here in Tokyo, there were still daily distractions: blackouts, empty shelves in the stores, occasional aftershocks. I would bring a book with me most of the time, but I just couldn't read. Actually that's not entirely true. I was reading constantly, but it consisted primarily of tweets and news stories.

After the first couple of weeks, I stopped watching the news quite as religiously. Especially the foreign (non-Japanese) media was just so sensational. I could feel my stress level rising whenever I heard some new exaggerated story. But I still couldn't seem to concentrate on reading. I did manage to read a couple of manga, but I think that was only because they were a) short, and b) filled with pictures. My brain just wouldn't let me absorb anything else.

Instead of reading, TV (non-news shows) became the escape. From Gilmore Girls and Merlin, to The Tudors, and Dexter. As well as movies. I spent a few enjoyable hours watching Jane Austen adaptations. I also played games on my iPhone. Words with Friends at least is a word game. (BTW, if you play, I'd love to have a game with you! I'm inspringthedawn there as well, just like on Twitter.) But I even succumbed and started playing Angry Birds! I've never been good at video games but it's quite addictive. Plus I still spent a lot of time on Twitter. I've said it before but Twitter was a real lifeline, especially during the first few hours and days after the quake, and has been a great source of up-to-date information. But it was also nice just to have a place online to chat with friends. Facebook too, to an extent, although I'm still not a fan. And the days passed. For a good 5 weeks, I barely opened a book. It was my longest stretch without reading for pleasure since, I'm not perhaps. But for those 5 weeks, I feel like I experienced what it was like to be a non-reader!

Thankfully though, about a week ago I finally began reading again. I've finished two books and am halfway through a third, but I'll tell you more about them tomorrow. And now hopefully blogging will resume as well. Things are getting back to normal in all aspects of our lives. Of course the recovery efforts in the north, the situation at the nuclear plant, the aftershocks and everything else are never far from my thoughts, but it's a little easier now to shut it out for a little while in the pages of a book. Now I just have to try and catch up on all the books I'd planned to read in March and April! I'm trying not to dwell on how many reviews and how far behind I am!

What do you do when you're not reading?

Oh and Happy Easter! Easter isn't celebrated in Japan so someone please have a Cadbury's Creme Egg for me, would you?

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  1. I am glad you can read again and that things are returning to normal a bit.

    When I am not reading I mostly make my homework, being otherwise creative or play video games ;) And I cook and make bento of course :)

  2. A lot of my time when not reading us spent tweeting, which I'm relatively new at, so still fascinated by or blogging, ,other computer stuff etc, oh & work. Glad to see the spells broken.

  3. I am happy to hear that you are back to reading. It is understandable that you needed a break with all of that going on. All the best and I hope things keep improving.

  4. I'm glad to hear that your reading mojo is back! The Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite tv shows ever though I don't care much for the last season. Happy reading.

  5. I've managed to avoid the lure of Angry Birds, but Words With Friends may have made up for it :-).

    I'm glad you've been able to start getting back into reading!

  6. I had a Creme Egg - was good, but one is always more than enough for me!
    When I'm not reading, I'm a) working, b) studying (although involves a lot of reading...just not always my topics of choice), c) on the computer, d) cooking or e) travelling. I read very little when I'm travelling.
    Glad your reading mojo has returned :)

  7. Glad to see you are feeling yourself again, Nat. Er, not in a "sick->better" kind of way, but I can imagine your mind being focused on everything else going in Japan, than on reading.
    Looking forward to seeing you post about books again :)
    Did you do a little something for Easter, or did you skip it entirely?
    As a small consolation, I did get to eat creme eggs either :(

  8. Hello, I only quite recently found your blog and have enjoyed reading some of the book reviews as I'm interested in learning more about Japanese literature and discovering some new authors.
    When I don't have the concentration to read, I like listening to music and sewing. They seem to require less brain power than reading! Happy Easter and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

  9. Glad to know that daily life is beginning to iron out for you a bit. A return to reading has to be a good sign. :)

  10. I play words with friends too! Let's play! I'm meexia there.

    I haven't read much at all recently as well. I'm in definite book slump :(


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