Good morning! In Japan, it’s already a new year. I am challenging myself this year to use language more: writing, speaking, reading, and actively listening.
2020 was quite the rollercoaster for everyone, and I think 2021 will present us with even more opportunities for growth. I will continue working on self-improvement, especially in building overall stability. I hope you will also continue your journeys.
I have chosen two kanji for this year: 言語 (language) and 自由 (freedom). They aptly represent my overall goal for this year. How about you? What words or kanji have you chosen for this year?
My journey to Japan began with an article about a spiritual journey in Buddhist monastery and a simple thought, “I would like to go there one day.” That moment was more than a decade ago.
I imagined undertaking a spiritual journey, one filled with lots of meditation and healing. You know the kind of thing: walking barefooted, kneeling, praying, and contemplating nature–all to a soundtrack of singing bowls, bird calls,
wand chanting. That sort of idealized version of a contemplative and peaceful existence.
Suffice to say that that hasn’t been quite the experience.
Certainly, I am a regular visitor to local shrines. I wander the wooded areas near me, sometimes I hike mountains. I contemplate the beauty of nature and the tranquility it gives me. Still, I have yet to sequester myself in a monastery, although I yearn to do so.
How I got here and what I am doing to remain here doesn’t really matter. The why of being here is something that is evolving. The point is… I am here.
I am here in a place where difference is suspect, being exactly who I am can lead to repercussions, and I am learning that I desire, above all else, that I yearn for stability.
However, living in Japan has influenced me to become more pragmatic.
My idealized version of living in a monastery in the mountains of Japan morphed into one of learning about the people, culture, language, and the importance of practical and sustainable living.
So, it’s been almost four years… I have no idea what will come next. However, I am open to who I will become.
This year, I finally realized (perhaps owned) that the journey that matters the most to me is learning to be a better human being. Specific place or profession matters only to inform my larger goal: understanding that I, too, can be good and do good in the world around me.
How about you? Where has your journey taken you? Where do you want to go next?
It’s been ages…well, almost a year. During that time, I’ve been working on my clearing through the clutter of my mind, redefining my path, discovering love in multiple forms, finding community, and learning to cherish each moment.
I’ve laughed a great deal, cried a heck of a lot, and worked hard to nurture my child-self. I suppose that will always be a part of what it means for me to be living.
Speaking of living: I’m still living in Japan, finishing up my second year. I’m still teaching English, and I truly love my work. I love being around children, and I especially love sharing knowledge.
I’m learning Japanese (it’s a process), and I wish I had the chance to speak Italian and German more regularly–now, I’m just reading books and doing some personal writing in those two languages. I’m learning how challenging it is to keep language skills when you aren’t able to use them. So, I’m sorting through how I’d like to resolve this particular issue.
Well, this has been quite the ramble. Still, I wanted to write something, and so I have.
She’s looking at me again. I don’t know what she’s thinking, nor do I want to know. It’s too early in morning, and I’ve already got a laundry list of stuff I need to take care of–she’s not on that list.
I never look at her long enough to feel her fatigue, just enough to know that she’s not going to break…yet. She doesn’t deserve my empathy or compassion–at least, not now.
I know she won’t say anything. That’s the way she is. She just stares. Maybe later, if I bother to ask, she might say that she “feels tired,” and “wishes that this could all stop.” She complains a lot. That’s why I never ask.
I meet my partner, and we talk about how difficult things are between us. They always are. We complain that we’re tired and that we wish that this could all stop between us. We complain a lot. That’s why I decided to ask her.
I get home. I look at her. She’s still staring at me. I can tell she’s breaking now. She’s been broken so many times–I’m not sure how I’ll fix her this time. I’m starting to think that it’s too late now. That’s why I decided to ask her about her thoughts, her feelings, her needs, and her wants. She says…
“There’s nothing to fix. Just recognize me. Be with me. Own me. I am you. You are me. How long will you deny your fragility?”
I’ve started this at least 4 times. I’m struggling to capture the experience of being back at work this week. In between the news of one disaster compounded by another disaster, whether natural or man-made, I found comfort in the smiling faces of the children I teach. We sing songs, laugh about strange English words, and do our best to communicate.
With laughing and smiling faces, the children shared with me one of the new English words they learned over the summer: missile. They played games that depicted missiles be launched and then landing…and my heart broke.
Just a heads-up about a new essay writing competition. It started back in July, but it does not close until the end of December! Not only are there cash prizes (listed below), but contest winners will also be given the opportunity to author blogs on the ExpertAssignmentHelp.com website. Below are some of the details of which I have been informed. Please, visit the website for complete information about the competition and how to enter.
Name: Essay Writing Competition 2017
Task: Write essay in fluent English and with depth on the topic
Another grey summer day in Japan and life continues on. I wake up to a wall of clouds outside my window, the sounds of money being earned with each passing car, and the hazy whispers of my partner. It’s barely 6 AM.
I consider 24 hours earlier: I was standing in her apartment, face unwashed, clothes disheveled, emergency backpack straddling one shoulder, and wondering if this was our last moment together–North Korea had launched a missile towards the north of Japan.
A few months earlier, I arrived in Japan with a baseline plan of refocusing myself, laying the groundwork for accomplishing future goals, surviving earthquakes, and embracing the unknown.
I am moving forward with writing, with loving, with being loved, with enjoying the simplest aspects of life while appreciating how complex life can be. For now, I’ll return to daily blogging, sharing my thoughts about life in Japan, how I’m managing my fibromyalgia, and whatever else that comes my way.