Tuesday, November 30, 2010

★25 恋愛って何?

What is love?
What does it mean to love?

I'm 26 years old and I've realized that I'm not even sure what love is. It should be the easiest thing in the world... to love. And yet it's not.

Where does love start? What defines it? How is it different?


Is that where it starts? Not physical attraction, but that desire to know more about someone, to know everything about them; to want to be part of their inner world. Usually physical attraction stems from there. At least for me. Well, it's a combination, but I can find someone good looking and not find them attractive, per say.


There has to be a connection, doesn't there? That feeling that there is something unseen between you... That feeling that the other person understands you and identifies with you on a level that feels deeper than other people. There's usually something inexplicable that draws you to someone.


It's important to share certain values, I think. There can be respect, there has to be respect, but if one person thinks cheating is ok (for example) and one person doesn't then that obviously will never work. Personally, I need someone who compliments me. Similar in enough ways, in the ways that matter, but different to the point that we can challenge each other. If I hold back I want the other person to push me forward when necessary and vice versa. If the other person is strong where I am weak we can work together.


More and more I think that love is about being open. The people you love are different because they're the people that you can share yourself with. Somehow they make you open up and trust, or at least they make you want to.

And that's why I think love is so difficult. Because it's not easy to let people in sometimes. It's not easy to expose yourself, to put it all out there. Love is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. And that's why love is also about support and acceptance. Because it's hard to let yourself be vulnerable if there isn't support and acceptance in the relationship. But to have those things you need trust. And for trust you need faith and risk.


If the other person doesn't consider your feelings, if they don't think about you and what you need or what your relationship needs then there can be no trust. Without trust you can't be fully open with each other and without that there can be no fulfillment.

Someone who considers you. Who doesn't rush you or pressure you but supports you and nurtures you... that's love.


This ties in with honesty, but love is not being afraid to say what needs to be said. It's not about pleasing the other person all of the time, not if it's not good for the person. Love is about telling someone the painful truth if it will help them. It's not about worrying if the person will stop liking you, but thinking about how you can help them instead. In that way love is about challenge because it challenges your perceptions and your ideas about yourself, about life, about others.

Love makes you want to be a better person. It inspires you to reach new heights. It's the feeling that you are fine the way you are, that you are loved and accepted, but that there are always things you can work on and more ways to grow.

Love helps you grow. Even if it changes and even if it ends, if it helped you grow then it was real, I think.

Love is maybe impossible to describe, to tie down. I'm 26 and I've realized I'm only beginning to understand maybe.

I don't know anything about love. But I do know one thing, and that's that I have a lot of love left to receive and give and experience.

I look forward to it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

★24 手紙

Dear Subaru,

I listened to your song just now and I wondered how it felt to write it. When I want to write the words don't seem to come out. Well, they come out sometimes – something always does; but I still feel alone.

You see, I have nowhere to go right now. I have nowhere to go and I'm afraid.

I've been trying really hard to be someone that can succeed, someone that finishes what she starts, someone that can be happy.....But I've failed. I couldn't do it. And now I'm afraid. I'm afraid because I don't know how to get better. I don't know how to make myself better. I don't know how to deal with my pain so that it won't interfere with my life. Every time I've tried I end up back here, in this dark pit (which seems to only get deeper and deeper every time). I've always been able to take that step forward. But this time – this time I think I'm stuck. Because this time I know where I'll end up after it all crashes down again and I can't keep coming back here. I can't keep going in circles. I've tired myself out. I've driven myself to the ground. Everything hurts now. My eternal well of hope, the one that has always sustained me until now is running dangerously low. And I'm afraid. Is this what it means to die inside? I don't want to die inside. I don't want to run dry. I don't want to be a void of nothing.

You always sing about flowers and blooming and I believed in your words. I still do. I think your words are beautiful. I think – if he did it then I can too. I definitely will. But I haven't. It's been three years since I came to Japan and I haven't. I've learned so much and yet nothing at all. Everything has changed and yet nothing has. I'm not the same person I was when I came and yet I'm completely the same. And I've realized, I'm broken. Japan has been like a cast, a wonderful treatment, but the cast is starting to fall off and I'm still broken. Because casts don't work. So if I put on a new one, what's the point? And if casts don't work.... what does? What can?

You always sing about flowers and blooming and I believed in your words.

I wanted to be one of those flowers.

Somewhere deep down there's a seed somewhere. But the landscape is wet and muddy and when I manage to find that seed of (light and life and meaning) it slips from my grasp before I can nurture it properly.

Today someone asked me what color my soul was. I said sky blue because I picture my soul to be like the sky. It's endless and clear and many things can pass through it. Right now my sky is gray, maybe black. But, even if it's black, under it the blue still exists, right? So really, it's still blue. There's something under all of this, right?

He also asked me what I thought I was in a past life. I said a sunflower. They're my favorite flowers. They're bright and big and chase the dark away. I thought, surely at some point I've been able to give that light. And if someone saw me in a field, or in a vase on a table somewhere, and if they smiled... then I meant something. For the season I bloomed I meant something.

You always sing about flowers and blooming and starting over and letting things go.

I thought that's what I was doing. I thought I was blooming. I thought I could be beautiful and bring something bright into this world. I wanted it more than anything.

But I'm not bright. And I'm not blooming.

I'm withering.


Slowly withering.

Sadly withering.

Did my time come and go?

Will I see the blue of my soul?

Is my seed lost forever?

Will these broken parts ever heal?

If I can't bloom, if I can't do do anything at all, is it ok to just wither away?

Should I just wither away with the seasons....


Some people are flowers.

And then maybe others are just weeds.

I thought I was a flower.

Now I'm not so sure.

I'm sorry I couldn't bloom like you.

I'm sorry I can't be strong anymore.

I'm sorry because I know I could've been better than this.

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I couldn't do it alone.

You always sing about flowers and blooming and I believed in your words.

I still do.

But I don't know how to bloom.

I've tried but I wither and I don't know how.

Will you tell me how you did it?

Do you think I can?

I wanted to be a flower too.

I'm sorry.


A Fallen Petal

A Dark Sky

A Lost Seed

A Broken Shell.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

★23 A la Dr. House

I just finished watching the latest episode of House.

The ending shocked me and yet it didn't. It made me happy but it also made me cry harder.
Like House, I thought, could it possibly be real?

Do good things really come to those who try and wait? Or did it only happen to House because it's a television show?

I'd like to think so. That good things happen to good people. Bad things too of course, but that if you sincerely make an effort to deal with yourself and improve your life that things will work out and in the end you'll be rewarded somehow. Maybe things won't be perfect, and maybe all of your dreams won't come true, but I'd like to think there will be enough good things to keep you going. If not all you could wish for, at least a taste to keep your motivation going strong.

But sometimes I just don't know. Sometimes it's just one thing after another and you think you're getting a break when BAM. Slap in the face. Another hurdle. Not yet, baby, you're not quite done.

Then what is there but


What does it mean to hope?

I always have hope. I can't let it go. I won't let it go.

Like Caroline says in 'Caroline or Change.'

"Don't let my sorrow make evil of me."

But sometimes.

Sometimes, damn.

What's the point?
I'm sick of trying.
I'm getting nowhere.
This is bullshit.
Fuck it.
What's the use?

It's an assault from the brain.
Comes at you full force and from all sides. Like some kind of fucking cancer of the spirit. Except there's no chemo for this shit. It's all about strength of mind. Of stretching your limits. Of just marching forward.

And it's hard, man. This shit can be hard.

I'm no superman. I'm flawed live everyone else. I lack patience. I need to feel like I'm doing something right. I need to see that my efforts are paying off.

I'd like some confirmation. Some sign. Some relief.

But who doesn't right?

I don't expect anything or anyone to come save me at the last minute like Cuddy did for House in this last episode. It's a silly notion (though appealing, not gonna lie) and frankly, no one can save you or give you answers except yourself. That's crystal clear to me.

But when someone is sitting on that bathroom floor with two pills in their hand about to throw their life away a la House, and all that stands between them and their fate is one decision that, though simple, they're not sure they're strong enough to make. When that's the case but there's no Cuddy... Then what does one do?

That's the scary part isn't it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

★22 The Push

Lights up on SUMMER sorting through a pile of her belongings. She picks up a name tag and stares at it, lost in thought. DEAN enters, pauses to look at SUMMER, then sneaks up behind her.

DEAN. (Right next to her ear.) Almost done?

SUMMER. (Startled.) Dean!

DEAN. Summer!

SUMMER. (She takes a moment to calm down.) My heart’s going a mile a minute now. Thanks.

DEAN. I do tend to have that effect on you.

SUMMER. (She smiles.) Maybe, but you need to work on your methods. Scaring me half to death is not the best way to get my heart racing.

DEAN. (He laughs.) Noted. (Pause.) Don’t forget to turn the name tag in on your way out.

SUMMER. I won’t. Even though I sort of wish I could keep it.

DEAN. Why? It’s a piece of plastic.

SUMMER. I don’t know. Memories, I guess.

DEAN. You don’t need it for that. (Takes name tag from her and holds it in his hand with his own.) I need to give mine to the manager too. I’ll wait for you.

SUMMER. (She nods.) Did everyone else leave?

DEAN. Yeah, just now. We’re the last ones. They’re waiting for us at the bar. You’re coming, right?

SUMMER. Oh, I thought… Why are you still here? You could have left with all the others.

DEAN. (Jokingly.) I have to turn in my name tag. (Beat.) Are you almost done?

SUMMER. Yeah. (Pause.) It seems weird that we won’t be working here anymore, doesn’t it? It was only a temporary job for the holidays but I got so used to everyone. Funny how things just come and go so suddenly. Begin. End. Like life. It seems like forever when you’re in it, but then it’s over and you’re left disoriented and scared, like gasping for air after a dive.

DEAN. Don’t get all pessimistic on me. Things change, sure, but the end of one thing doesn’t have to equal the end of everything. Come out with us tonight.

SUMMER. I probably shouldn’t.

DEAN. And why not?

SUMMER. I just can’t.

DEAN. That’s not a reason, unfortunately.

SUMMER. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.

DEAN. Still not a reason. Try again.

SUMMER. I really can’t, okay? Drop it.

DEAN. No, I’m not going to. Tell me why.

SUMMER. I’m sorry, Dean. I just can’t go out.

DEAN. There was a ‘with you’ at the end there, wasn't there?

SUMMER. Ok, fine. I can’t go out with you. With any of you. Not under the circumstances.

DEAN. What circumstances?

SUMMER. These. It’s our last day of work. It’s over. That point where our lives intersect is going to be behind us after today. We’ll never see each other after this.

DEAN. Not with your attitude.


DEAN. You’re scared.

SUMMER. I’m only being reasonable.

DEAN. I find that the most reasonable people do the stupidest things. Come on, Summer. Don’t you want to see where this could go?

SUMMER. No. It’s better not to want.

DEAN. Bullshit! You’re full of excuses. You’re terrified. That’s why you’re saying no. Today’s it, the fork in the road, and you’re avoiding the path.

SUMMER. We should get going. I’m surprised someone hasn’t come looking for us. Did you clock out already?

DEAN. Oh no. We’re not done here yet. It’s finally getting good.

SUMMER. Dean, honestly. I’m not going to play around. Let’s just go. You have a bar you need to go to.

DEAN. So do you.

SUMMER. Look, I told you-

DEAN. I don’t care. You’re coming.

SUMMER. Oh so now you’re forcing me?

DEAN. If I have to.

SUMMER. Because that’s the way to a girl’s heart.

DEAN. We’re not leaving the staff room until you’ve agreed to come with me.

SUMMER. You can’t be serious.

DEAN. Cross my heart, hope to die.

SUMMER. Stick a needle in my eye. (Tries to push past him.) I’m not doing this. Let go.

DEAN. Someone has to make you do it.

SUMMER. Dean, I’m warning you…

DEAN. So what? What are you going to do about it?

SUMMER. (She kisses him quickly on the lips.) There. Satisfied? That’s ultimately what you wanted so now let me go.

DEAN. You think I’m looking to get laid?! Wow, you just keep ‘em coming.

SUMMER. Aren’t you? This is a fling, so what else can you want? You’ll go back to life at Columbia and I’ll go back to my life and that’s that.

DEAN. You go to NYU! It’s not like we’re a thousand miles apart. We can make this work.

SUMMER. That’s not the issue. Why can’t you see what’s going on here? This is circumstantial. You like me because there’s no one else around. You’ll go back to school, realize that there’s so much more out there, and then leave me behind. It's how these things go.

DEAN. So you’re leaving me behind first. I get it.

SUMMER. Think of it however you like. I need to go. (She tries to get past him.)

DEAN. Not so fast. I’m not the one who runs away. That’s you. Didn’t you say you wanted to leave after graduation? Where did you want to move again? California? Because God forbid you stay in one place long enough to develop any kind of lasting attachments. You’re always telling me how you keep moving on to the next thing; always searching for something: the right person, the right place… Well maybe you don’t give yourself enough time to find what you’re looking for. Stop looking ahead and look at what’s in front of you for once.

SUMMER. And what if I stop and find it and it’s still not enough? Or worse, if I stop and nothing happens. I don’t want to find that maybe what I’m looking for isn’t out there; that there’s no place for me and no right person... Because, then what?

DEAN. Then things would be pretty much the same as they are now. Don't you see that? You're the one getting in your own way!

SUMMER. (Beat.) I don’t think I’d be very good at this. You’ll find someone better.

DEAN. I don't want to find someone better. Stop thinking you’re not good enough to stick around for.

SUMMER. You say that now but later...

DEAN. (He holds her face in his hands.) Why worry now about later?

SUMMER. You’ll hurt me.

DEAN. Maybe. I won’t lie and make promises I can’t keep. But I want this. (Pause.) And so do you.

SUMMER. I’ll try to run again.

DEAN. I know.

SUMMER. And don’t think you need to save me or something.

DEAN. I don’t.

SUMMER. I don’t even like bars.

DEAN. (He smiles.) I’ll buy you a drink.

DEAN. Give me your hand.

DEAN reaches out. SUMMER looks at the hand and after some deliberation finally takes it.

DEAN. Shall we?



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

★21 Want

I actually wrote this a year or two ago.

People don't really change all that much, do we?


I am not subtle. I don’t want to be, anyway. I don’t have the patience. There is too much already left unsaid as it is. When I feel something I want to yell it out to the world. I don’t want to keep it all in. I want to tell it like it is so there is no confusion, no doubt, no mistaking of intention. I want to yell and laugh and rip things apart and come really loudly and cry until my throat is dry and my eyes red as cherries. I want to never let go and never hold on and wrestle in mud and pass out from hunger or exhaustion or both. I want to be literally green with envy and high on life. I want to feel the pain of childbirth as muscles push and tear and the joy of holding new life in my hands. I want to beg and be begged and get on my knees and throw a tantrum. I want to stand up and start dancing at the most inappropriate time. I want to tell every fucking hot guy I see all the things I’d do to him if I could and if he’d let me. I want to kill myself but then I don’t and I want to stand on stage and bare it all. I want to be split open. I want to be blown away and shaken up and scared to fucking death. Then I want to be held in strong arms and lulled back into comfort. I want to stop giving a shit and to tell people to fuck off and take me seriously. I want to eat all three pieces of cake in one sitting. I want to get in a row boat and row for miles until I can’t see the shore. I’ll lay there floating with the sun in my eyes and on my skin –burning- the waves the only accompaniment to my silent monologue; the clouds my only witness. I want to get lost in oblivion. I want to forget, but not really. I want to get it all back and live it all again and turn up the volume really loud and put it in slow motion or is that fast forward? I don’t know. But that’s okay. I don’t need to know what I don’t know I just need to know how to deal with not knowing. Who knows and wants to tell me? Sharing is caring but also an obligation. Do we share because we care or because it’s the “right thing to do?” I want to be a kid again but then not really. Yet I miss the security blanket. It’s cold without it. I still have goose bumps. I want to wake up from a dream and realize I was never dreaming in the first place. I want to drown in tears of happiness. I want to feel dirty and sacred and desperate with want. I want to feel pure and calm and serene like a garden in one of Monet’s paintings. I want to be the first to know and the last one to leave. I want to disappear –fall off the face of the earth, be invisible- and look on to see who cares. I want to walk down streets –never looking back- just going and going until I reach the horizon and can kiss the sun and there’s no where to go but down, down, down. I want to giggle and bat my eyelashes and lose track of time.

I want……

I want this list to end.

It doesn’t.

★20 As May Kasahara

Hi, again, Mr. Wind-up Bird.

Last time,I got as far as telling you about how I'm working in this wig factory in the mountains far away with a lot of local girls. This is the continuation of that letter.

Lately, it's been really bothering me that, I don't know, the way people work like this every day from morning to night is kind of weird. Hasn't it ever struck you as strange? I mean, all I do here is the work that my bosses tell me to do the way they want me to do it. I don't have to think at all. I spend seven hours a day at a workbench, planting hairs into wig bases, then I eat dinner, take a bath, and of course I have to sleep, like everybody else, so out of a twenty four hour day, the amount of free time I have is nothing. And because I'm so tired from work, the 'free time' I have I mostly spend lying around in a fog. I don't have any time to sit and think about anything. Of course, I don't have to work on weekends, but then I have to catch up on laundry and cleaning, and sometimes I go into town, and before I know it the weekend is over.

But still - but still - it does not bother me at all that I'm now just part of the work I do. If anything, I feel that by concentrating on my work like this, with all the mindless determination of an ant, I'm getting closer to the "real me." I don't know how to put it, but it's as if by not thinking about myself I can get closer to the core of my self. That's what I mean by "kind of weird."

So strictly speaking, I am not enjoying the work here. All I'm doing is trying to accept the work in every possible way. When I'm making a wig, I don't think about anything but making that wig.

"The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami.
Book Three: Chapter 15 This Could Be the End of the Line (May Kasahara's Point of View: 3)

My work in the classroom isn't quite as mindless as May Kasahara's wig making, but doing a job that you're not thrilled about for hours on end five days a week you have to adopt a kind of 'mindless state' in order to get through the week. In that sense, it really is living in the moment. You take things hour by hour, class by class. Now I prepare, now I teach a lesson, now I get on the train, now I walk home, etc... I don't dislike my job. But I think I've realized once and for all that I don't want to be a teacher. I don't want to settle for this. But for certain reasons I need to do this right now and as far as jobs go it could be worse. So I'm trying to accept each day as best I can. And I feel, like May Kasahara, that there's something in the discipline and mindlessness of routine and work that really allows you to get closer to that "core self." No time for fruitless throughts and too tired for frivolities, the mind becomes empty in such way that, if I continue to dwell in this state, will eventually bring clarity and self-realization. For that reason, and for the simple fact that I've made a commitment, I won't leave my job. Even though recently every day feels more like a chore than anything else.

So in this coming year I will do my best to cultivate this emptiness (because something has to arise out of it) and I will make the best I can of this experience. So that hopefully by the time I'm done and am able to move on to what's next for me I will do so having developed a stronger sense of dedication and discipline. Of perseverance.

So here we go, Golden Week is almost over and soon it's back to more of the same.



Friday, April 16, 2010

★18 桜

The cherry blossoms have all but fallen now.

They came and they went, and while they were here they took my breath away and reminded me that I love the world I live in. I could miss them now that they're gone, but I don't. I don't because even without those little pink and white blossoms the world can be beautiful and bright. They came, they bloomed, they showed us all what they had to offer and then they were gone. Very much like every other living thing. Very much like all of us. You and me. That's their gift to us, I think. That reminder. That infusion of power.


Don't you feel you can do anything?

Don't you feel you can be grateful for everything?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

★17 絵

I painted pictures again. This time I had a bit of green paint so I used that as well. Though it was thicker than I really wanted. Rather than paint, I find that I prefer working with ink because the color just bleeds onto the paper; which feels appropriate somehow, like an extension of me. But all black is sometimes too dark. There are moments that require splashes of color. If I could find colored ink... Or perhaps I'll try watercolors. Something soft.

Anyway, I think I might have found a new hobby. Pretty exciting, right?!

Recently, I've been thinking that maybe for a while there I was trying too hard to be what I wanted to be rather than what I actually am. So now I'm going through old things and discovering what still fits and what doesn't, and at the same time giving new things a go.

And I love taking pictures.

My step-dad likes photography as well. Someday I'd like to go with him somewhere and spend the day taking pictures.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

★16 New kink?

M-chan's sayonara party was duly themed, 'Salarymen & Schoolgirls.' I adhered to this theme and dressed up as a schoolgirl.

It was fun XD
Maybe too much fun.

So much fun in fact that I might have discovered a hidden kink for schoolgirl uniforms.

Naughty schoolgirl cosplay, anyone?

Haha, ;P

Saturday, March 27, 2010

★15 アートで自己表現

Got the sudden urge to paint today and before I knew it I'd done five different pieces! I really like working with caligraphy ink. I think I'll experiment with it more.

Now I'll go hang these on my wall.

★14 空

These days I don't want to think.

It feels like every time I do my mind becomes a mess. What used to be up is suddenly down, left is right, good is bad - until I can't be sure of anything anymore.

I don't trust my mind. I don't trust the mind's need to rationalize, to categorize, to judge. I'm tired of questions with contradicting answers. Everything is right and yet Everything is wrong. It makes no sense and yet it makes perfect sense. So no more questions and no more answers. I'm tired of answers. There might not even be answers. Not in the way we're used to; no absolute answers.

So I don't want to think.

I just want to Feel. Live. Experience. Be my heart.

I want a divorce from my mind, or at least a separation.

Look mind, I'm not saying we're over but I need some space....

I want a tattoo.

Crazy, isn't it? Me, someone who never liked them and vowed never to get one.

For the first time in my life I want a tattoo.

And I find myself considering and condoning things I never have before.

I can be so many things. We are all so many things. We are complex. We are everything.

Right now I'm floating. I'm floating in possibility.

With hopes of someday settling, of doing that thing people call, 'coming into her own.'

But see even now I can't trust these words. When I write there ends up being some kind of conclusion expressed, a rationalization of some kind, and that's what I want to get away from.

Get away.
Come home.
Stop thinking.

Nothing but Air.

Just Breathe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

★13 Kit-Kat

Found a new Kit-Kat flavor when I was in Gunma this past weekend. Check it out:

Baked Sweet Potato.

Friday, March 19, 2010

★11 火

Fires are fucking scary.

That pretty much sums up my day yesterday.

Luckily, we were able to extinguish the fire in time to prevent it from spreading but the whole ordeal was still pretty scary.

In the end it was only what you'd classify as a, 'small grease fire', but I'd never been in that kind of situation before so it was quite a shock. We were heating up oil to fry up some egg rolls when the pan started smoking. I turned off the stove and waited for the smoke to clear but instead a couple minutes later a fire flared up out of nowhere. I was alone in the kitchen and panicked (knowing only that I couldn't use water since that would make it worse) but thankfully my housemate was nearby in the shower room and I got him to come help. He didn't know what to do either so at first we threw a towel over the pot (in lieu of a fire blanket) but when that didn't work we finally remembered the fire extinguisher. We used one and thought we were in the clear, but soon after the fire flared up again and we had to use a second fire extinguisher. By the grace of God, one of the building managers who was scheduled to come check M-chan's room (since she was moving out) came early and was there to call the fire department and help with the fire. The firefighters came and then the police, and later the heads of the company who owns the building. I was pretty shaken up and feeling pretty sick from the smoke/fire extinguisher fumes to begin with, so being interviewed and photographed by the firefighters and police (my Japanese vocabulary does not include 'What to say in case of Fire') and having to say goodbye to M-chan (my best friend in Japan and closest thing I've ever had to a big sister) in the middle of all of this was pretty nerve-wracking.

I tried helping with the cleaning but due to my asthma I had to step out of the kitchen almost every other minute because I couldn't breathe. Even once I left to run the errands I couldn't postpone, my chest continued to feel tight and my eyes and face were itchy. I was also feeling light headed and, in general, not well. Last night my eyes were even a little swollen (I'd tried cleaning again) and this morning when I woke up they were really swollen. They're still bothering me a bit now. I also have a headache. At least the tightness in my chest is gone, though. But I also haven't tried to do more cleaning.... Actually, we've decided to call in someone to clean. I don't know yet if the housing company will cover the cost, but I rather pay than risk my health.

And as it often happens, when it rains it pours.

I've been going through a lot of changes recently. Mostly self-induced, as I try to face myself and my life and make changes for the better that will make me healthier and happier. It's not always easy, and being far from home it gets lonely, so it's been tough. I feel like I've done (am doing) my best to be really strong recently so I'm entitled to a moment of weakness and the need to lean on others every once in a while. So in the middle of all of this - my best friend leaving Japan, trying my best at overcoming certain personal issues, being left to deal with the consequences of a fire, not feeling well - the few friends I was counting on couldn't (though it felt at the time like they wouldn't be there), and other friends without fully knowing what I was going through were getting mad at me over totally unrelated issues. Well, it was a bit much.

I don't know.

For a long time I was someone who counted on her friends a lot but was always hurt and disappointed. Now I try to help myself and be strong on my own which makes me forget I can lean on others sometimes.

When is it ok to ask for help?
When should I deal with things all by myself?

I guess that's something I'm still figuring out.

I'm always trying to be considerate of other people's feelings. I'm always trying no to let people down.... But I'm also trying to stand up for myself more and trying to think that yes, it is allowed to expect certain things from the people that really matter. I want to be able to do it all on my own, but sometimes I need support. It's that balance between independence and community.

In the end I have a lot to learn.

But that's ok.

Yesterday was kind of a meltdown, but those happen.

Today I'm still stressed but back on my feet again and doing what I have to do.

Maybe I don't have to do it all alone, but I do have to take responsibility for myself.

So that's what I'm trying to do.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

★10 高円寺

A week or so ago I explored Koenji. A trendy little area with a kind of Bohemian feel. The streets are lined with secondhand clothing stores, record shops, and cafes that are either quaint or quirky. Koenji is known to be the home of 'alternative culture' in Tokyo. Think the Village in New York or Haight/Ashbury in San Francisco.

I don't know that it's still all that revolutionary, but it's my kind of place.

Facades in Koenji

Monday, March 15, 2010

★9 T.R.Y.

T.R.Y. まだ見ぬ未来 何があったって信じて進めば

絶対 明るい未来 それだけを信じて。

T.R.Y Mada minu mirai Nani ga attatte shinjite susumeba

Zettai Akarui mirai Sore dake wo shinjite.

T.R.Y The future is still unclear But if you go forward believing something was bound to happen (then)

Most definitely A bright future Just believe that.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

★8 Kit-Kat

Something that amuses me to no end here is the incredible variety of Kit-Kat flavors. In the US we have chocolate and that's about it. In Japan, however, it's a whole other ballgame. Chocolate Kit-Kat?


Strawberry Cheesecake flavored Kit-Kat?
Ramune Soda flavor?
Pudding (Flan)?

That's more like it!
According to Japan, anyway.

Honestly, I've tried a lot of the different flavors for the mere sake of novelty and found I don't really like them so I don't eat them. (Guess I'm a classic Kit-Kat fan.) Still, every time I'm in a convenience store I can't help but check to see if there's a new flavor out. It's like a game! I want to see how many different Kit-Kat flavors I can find!

The flavors change with the seasons so there's always a new one out.

These are some of the flavors I've encountered recently....

How about Ginger Ale flavor?

Passion Fruit and Raspberry.
(This one was exciting because I love passion fruit but sadly it wasn't good.)

Soy Sauce
(Just wrong, right? >__<)
(Not much better, right? >___<)
Sakura Matcha
(Cherry Blossom Matcha Green Tea)

I don't think it can get much worse than Wasabi and Soy Sauce flavored Kit-Kats but this is Japan so who knows!

I wonder what flavor I'll find next.....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

★7 私の花

There's a flower that stands tall and strong, conviction rooting her to the ground.
Come hail or drought or snow, she stands there, tall and strong.
When the sun is high,
When the skies are clear,
I miss the rain, she says.
I miss the breeze, she says.

My clouds are gray and violent, thunderous and looming.
A rain shower of tears.
Wind that blows fierce with fear.

And she takes it.
Welcomes it.
Asks for it.

She sees the beauty of the darkest darkness; purifies the sky.

Until the rain trickles down gently, only tiny drops of dew.
Until the wind dies down to a breeze, a soft whisper that tickles through the trees.
Until soon my skies are clear again.
And my light, my sun, shines high.

Then if her petals stand withered, if her leaves sag or droop; I'll still think she's the most beautiful flower I've ever seen, give her all the warmth she needs.


Navigating with precarious balance.
Losing it and getting it back.

We'll move forward with the seasons.
We'll face the day and Fight.

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

★6 疵物

There are times I feel so flawed.

When the weight of my imperfections seem to crush me like an anvil.

And I think....

Will I ever get out from under here?

I want to be beautiful.
I want to feel beautiful.

Monday, March 8, 2010

★5 曲

"In Other Words"
Ben Kweller

Another night slips away
In other words i should say
There are no words he should say
There are no words

In his eyes i see the fear
That only time could disappear
If only time could re-appear
Now's the time

Somethin' to take it away to take it away to take it
Don't let it stay don't let it stay don't let it

The butterflies are passive aggressive and put their problems on the shelf but they're beautiful
He'll realize the only thing thats real are the kids that kid themselves and the demise of the beautiful
What is beautiful?

The multi-life is better than
The one we're in the one we knew
Cause everyone is seein' through everyone

They're steppin' on
His gold terrain
He's movin' on with bold refrain
His blatantly old campaign
Is movin' on

Somethin' to take it away to take it away to take it
Don't let it stay don't let it stay don't let it

The butterflies are passive aggressive and put their problems on the shelf but they're beautiful
He'll realize the only thing thats real are the kids that kid themselves and the demise of the beautiful
What is beautiful?

What can't stay goes away

It starts stopping when it stops stopping

Saturday, March 6, 2010

★4 顔

Today's Faces

A myriad of expressions.

Friday, March 5, 2010

★3 春


One of the things I love most about living in Japan and Japanese culture is the emphasis that's placed on the Four Seasons. Everything changes according to the season. The way you eat Soba changes. As do blends of tea. There's a time for Nabe and a time for Soumen. Summer is for うな丼 but Mikan are for Winter. 春、夏、秋、冬。Seasons changing is the flow of Nature and Japan goes with that flow. Here, I feel in tune with Nature, with the seasons, in a way I never did before. I like it.

Now it's Spring.
I like Spring.
I can feel Spring.

Today I saw my first Cherry Blossoms of the year.

桜 - Sakura

The icon of Spring in Japan.

I stumbled across a shrine near my work today. I'd arrived with some time to spare and, finding the weather as nice as it was, decided to take a little stroll down the street. To my surprise and pleasure a few feet up ahead I was greeted with patches of pink just beyond a stone torii gate.

I love Spring, I thought. As a wave of peace washed over me.

There's something about Spring. They say 'Love is in the Air', and it is.

Love of Life.

Spring is about Life; about Living.
About rebirth and renewal. New beginnings.
The buds are sprouting, trying their very best to push their way out of the darkness, to grow into the light. They're trying so hard to live! To poke their little selves out where they can feel the breeze and touch the warm sun.
Everything is life.
After the death of Winter there is life again.
After our death there is life again.

I think, It's never truly over. Not forever, anyway. For us, all of us living things, there's always another chance. Our chances never end. Because just as life takes away it gives back. Things coil, then they spring back. We coil, then we spring back. That's the cycle of life and death. It's what we are. Who we are.

It's beautiful.

I look at the flowers and I think, I want to try my best as well.
All is not lost.

It never is.

Awaken with the flowers.
Blow free in the Sky.