Since I've been in inaka-cho, I've been a pretty heavy internet user. Well, I rolled my suitcases into my apartment, stood in the middle, and all I could hear were crickets. Nobody seemed to care what I did or how I lived as long as I showed up to work every day. I already had decided that TV could become an addiction and a waste of time, so instead when I was at home, I created a sort of bridge to America by keeping up with numerous blogs and vlogs and having the iChat program running all the time 'just in case.'
Then it became something of an addiction. I needed my computer time to wind down from a day where the only conversations I had were short exchanges with an immensely unreadable boss who sometimes seemed to have something in for me. It might have been more productive if I had made an effort to connect with more people at work and in the JET network. But after work I was always tired, and I hated to bother people who seemed just as tired as I was.
Anyway, a few weeks ago it finally all came to a head, and I realized that far from relaxing me, the now pervasive internet was making me increasingly impatient and irritable. We all know what it's like to dredge multiple e-mail boxes and come up with just spam, for example. Furthermore, I had less and less to say to people on the occasions I did meet them. I wasn't studying Japanese. I was in a rut.
So I decided to cut myself off. I kept my computer shut down for a week, so when I came home after work, I had to find other things to do.
I put clear packing tape around all my sliding door and window screens to keep bugs from coming through their spacious gaps. I read books. I journaled. I worked out with Billy Blanks and Chalean Johnson. Spent time with some JETs. Slept more. Ate less. Started knitting.
All in all, it's been a most beneficial exercise. The internet is a great tool, but I think it can easily take over your life. People must have had longer attention spans, and been more interested in asking other people about things before Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia came along. (I know it's modern common sense, but nothing irks me like someone saying, "just Google it" in response to a question.)
So while my home is still a bit of a world apart from the rest of inaka-cho, it's no longer so sharply delineated. I like to hear the crickets and cicadas chirping while I read or journal. Even if nobody cares what I do outside of work, I try to keep everything in readiness in case someone should come to the door. And I mostly keep my computer shut off. Try it sometime, if you can!