Working on Vacation

I have a trip scheduled with some friends to go to the Yuki Matsuri in Hokkaido this week. It’s a yearly trip and I’ve never backed down. The trip runs from today until next Wednesday the 10th. I’m excited to go, but, with the game deadline approaching, a little nervous.

After all, 5 days away from the game, while potentially meditative, is a huge chunk of time to not be doing anything with. But should I bring my computer with me?

When I was young, my father would often come with his computer on vacations. I guess he does it even now. There was always a little dismay in the family at the fact that he was working instead of “spending time with the family”. I don’t really care now, but those thoughts have infiltrated my brain.

“Working while on vacation is bad,” they say. “Don’t waste your vacation time!” “Spend time with the people around you while you have the chance.” “Make memories.” “Live a little.”

And I don’t plan to use my computer much. But, if I have 5 minutes to spare, and I could be using it to make something, shouldn’t I? Especially with less than a month left to make things.

After all, this is my 3rd Yuki Matsuri. It’s not like I haven’t seen it all before.

I’ve been working at a breakneck speed recently, finally catching up to my schedule and attempting to surpass it. But 5 days off is a near death sentence. Steady wins the race. Thankfully, next Thursday is a holiday, so I’ll have that whole day. And yet, it’s little compensation.

I’m getting close to the end. But with each day comes a little more stress. Internal talks about what is important.

Monday night was a big milestone. Half of the students are in the game. 18 more to go. I mean, now, on Friday, only 13 left. Next milestone: Current section of the game complete. I set the finish date for the 10th, but it’s looking tough. Possible though. Then, main story complete by the 20th. Then, all the students in the game by the 25th. That will be enough to let friends test it. Then, all the side areas and bug testing done by the 1st. Then…

All I can think about is this game. Is it even possible to go to the Yuki Matsuri without thinking about the game?

I guess I’ll bring it. If only for the peace of mind. Work for 10 minutes will let me enjoy the rest of the day. Steady. Bit-by-bit.


And hey, having a whole group of potential testers to rope in isn’t a bad idea. I always learn a crazy amount watching someone play.

Idle Thoughts (2)

Summer is officially over. I guess that should be obvious by official dates (Summer technically lasts from June 21st-September 21st in the US; 秋分の日 was September 23rd in Japan). The air is cooling down and everyone is asking if I’m cold when I wear a t-shirt. Seems like some things never change, even though they definitely do.

This past Wednesday we had a へき地研究集会(へき研) where schools from the neighboring areas all came to my elementary school and watched some classes put on by our teachers, myself included. Another teacher and I taught the 5th graders some English while our tiny rural classroom was filled to the brim with other teachers from other rural schools. Normally, English is a relatively casual affair, and laid-back to facilitate learning. Not on Wednesday, however. All considered, it went pretty well, and I even got to talk in front of a group of 30 teachers or so about my thoughts on English education and why it’s important in an elementary school. I think just about every ALT has thoughts on the matter, but so few are allowed the opportunity to speak to a group of Japanese teachers that want you to speak. It’s a good feeling, even if I couldn’t be as eloquent as I’d like.

Thinking about my Japanese, I realize that I haven’t improved all that much recently. I am improving, definitely. But gradually. I wouldn’t mind a big boost in study sessions–say, 30 minutes more a day of dedicated study–but I don’t feel like I can act on that. Actual study is kind of hard, especially solo. With additional focuses, like game development, I’m not too displeased with my general lack of Japanese development. After all, I am making progress in other places.

Every day this past week I’ve been working on my little RPG, A Return Home. I set myself 3 months to finish it, and I have goals I want to stick to. However, about 15 days into the project, I started learning Unity. As a result, I haven’t given it the attention it deserves. Well, assuming it deserves much attention. The game is intended to be simple, but my biggest worry is that it’s both short and not worthy of time. Like a terrible short story or poem. It makes me doubt some of my writing skills while at the same time makes me want to convert it into a short story itself. I feel like that’s its proper format, and the only reason I made it into a game is something arbitrary like wanting to make a game.

The deadline for my next “update” to A Return Home is October 10th, and I’m only about 70% through the things I wanted to include. Unfortunately I won’t be able to complete everything I wanted to by that time. Why? There’s a big trip this weekend (and it’s a 3 day weekend here in Japan) to a lake near Bandai mountain in Japan. This is the 3rd time I’ve gone and it’s honestly in my top-2 trips every year. Looking forward to a weekend of hiking, kayaking, swimming in freezing water, and merriment with friends.

In 30 minutes we have a ceremony to end the first semester and then the students will be free to leave and the teachers have a nice relaxing afternoon ahead. At least I hope. I’m sure someone will come and make some busywork for us all. But if I’m lucky, I might be able to finish up some of the features I wanted to include in this update, bringing it from a eh 70% to a woo 90%. Things like finishing off the cutscene dialogue and implementing it in the game, even if I don’t polish the cutscene up.

May we all do our best.