Reading, you say? But, aren't we writing this month..?
Okay... So I joined the club. The "Oh, bugger, was it my turn to write a blog post today?"-club. I could give you a million reasons why I forgot - many of which also explains why I've "forgotten" to post at my own blog for a while (and the last time I did, it was a pretty sorry excuse for a post). I could mention the distraction of Tokyo (I'm back in love with this city). The slight discomfort I still feel whenever there is an earthquake (but they are fewer and smaller now, so it isn't much of an excuse, really). The fact that I've been working 12 hour days more often than I care to mention lately. The "aren't we writing"-comment above...
Since today is Reading Monday, however, the most appropriate excuse of all is this one: I haven't been reading all that much lately.
Well, that's only partially true. I've been reading lots about the UN Millennium Development Goals, from which I've been reminded that there are a lot of people out there who are worse off than me. Their problem isn't that they don't have the time to read, it is that they cannot read. MDG #2 - universal education (including girls, which shouldn't have to be specified, but in fact has to) - still has a long way ahead before the target is reached. As with the other MDGs, many countries are making great efforts and great results are achieved, but there still is a lot left to do globally. "Scaling up" was a recurring topic for the conference I attended on this before the weekend. In order to reach the goals by 2015 - which at the moment isn't looking too likely - we need to work harder, better, more united. Perhaps there isn't all that much you can do as an individual, but at least you can take ten minutes out of your day and read the fact sheet where you at least can educate yourself about what has been, and what remains to be done. Universal education, y'all.
I have also been reading about international trade restrictions, national (both Norwegian and Japanese) hunting legislation, Japanese energy policies, financial targets and domestic politics (which is a bit of a thriller - or perhaps soap opera).
I've been reading a lot into things. Like emotions. If you have never been an ex-pat, you might not know the feeling of the relationships that develop in a community where everyone has different cultural backgrounds, a general open mind for new things (hence the living abroad-part..), and they are there on a limited time basis. I've met some of the greatest people I know in the world this way. Many of which I have not been in contact with for years. You see, in the bubble that is ex-pat-ness you form strong, amazing, temporary relationships. A very limited amount of them last beyond the bubble - in these days facilitated by Facebook, email, and Skype. But many of these relationships are so tied to the specific situation when they are formed that they cannot exist outside of that, and that is fine. I don't value them any less. But it does make for some confusing human interaction. Trying to read my own and everybody else's mind in all of this is (un)surprisingly difficult.
Finally, I have actually been reading fiction. Barely. My Kindle (which needs to be charged, come to think of it) is a good travel buddy, and when I do have the time to sit down and read some, I'm grateful I have a library at my hands through a few clicks. My latest buy was Game of Thrones, which I quite like so far, even if I realize it is absolutely pointless to read it. After all, I've been watching the HBO series, and it sticks very close to the book. Apart from changing the age of certain characters (to make it less controversial, I would assume), they haven't changed much. And the series have some truly gorgeous costumes, scenery and actors.
So these are the very good reasons why writing about reading wasn't on my mind today. I hope you forgive me...