We were talking about irony in class today as a negative face strategy and how Japanese people generally aren’t sarcastic. One of the examples was something like: “What lovely weather!” (when it’s raining). I totally want to do this around my club members and see how they react. LOL
keep a box of mementos, souvenirs of your current world. in a couple of years you’ll look through it with the detached sentimentality of a stranger who has vaguely known your stories. you’ll read over the letters and skim through journals. you’ll mark the nights that have changed you. you’ll mark the nights that you just barely survived. collect the movie stubs, the small gifts, birthday cards. remember who is in your life. remember who has left. put on the one elephant earring that maria had given you at the barn when you were fourteen and needed a miracle. hold it in your palm. remember that drive home in the sunlight when rodney only smiled in the driver’s seat while you looked out the window and cried and laughed and cried and laughed. read through all of it and you will see how you’ve grown, how even your handwriting has changed, how you have become sloppier with language, how your priorities have toppled over each other and rebuilt into different homes. remember fondly the past selves that you have grown out of, shed, and found a new shell to call your own. remember the old haircuts, your favorite blouses. acknowledge it all. all the hurt and all the sadness, all of the love that you have received and all the love that you have given out. then, let go of all the things that keep you from moving forward. try to understand, from a far away perspective, why you hurt when you hurt. try to understand why that night in his bed you could not say let me be free. understand why your loneliness defined you for so long, and then let it go. there will be more nights. most memories blur with time. faces smudge, facts get misshapen, and sooner or later you realize that those nights that you depended on for solace are no longer what you need to survive. think of you at sixteen sitting in that dark room, cleaning the pink throw up off the wooden floors. think of her and understand that that moment was necessary, but no longer defines you. that night will be replaced with sneaking onto the roof of your elementary school with the boy that you will one day love, kicking basketballs off of the roof with one, no two shooting stars tailgating overhead. understand who you were and kiss that self on the cheek, say thank you, say goodbye. let go of all that is keeping you from moving forward, from climbing your way into the new stage of your life. it’s going to be so hard, shinji. it’s going to be so hard to peel all these selves back. it will be so hard to let go of the things that you no longer need. but you must, love. you must. you have so much to look forward to. let go of all the memories holding you by the tail end of your shirt. let go. it will be okay.
On days like today, you wake up exhausted— bags under your eyes, harboring heartbreak in the cracks in your skin, and it feels like everyone is asking if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but no one even thinks to ask if you wanted to wake up to begin with,
so this is a poem for the people who woke up one day Samsa-fied, transformed into the worst versions of yourself entirely, the embodiment of something you never wanted to be, with no control over thoughts that render you terrified to leave bed, remember, Kafka never promised his stories were all fiction no fact,
just mentioned that they might have been metaphors for losing yourself and dealing with the consequences creatively at most,
Remember: being at peace has nothing to do with always knowing what to do, it’s just the will to carry on when you wake up not knowing how to.
And growth is about how you treat life when it knocks you down, and not trying to bruise what leaves wounds on you, thinking that could ever heal your scars, it’s about remembering you can’t solve a problem the way you made it,
and it doesn’t matter how many times you wake up wishing you were buried six feet underneath the ground you’re walking on, because life is about pushing even when you feel yourself being pulled back like this is a game of tug-o-war and you’re just a target, like you are Cupid’s arrows,
shooting love at people and never seeing it returned, even when it feels like you are a store that keeps on being robbed and no one cares to install security cameras, so learn to use your lungs like the tools they really are:
breathe in each whiff of fresh air like a post-it note pep talk to yourself, a reminder that you are worth something, until you no longer feel as heavy with the weight of an unfamiliar identity, until you learn to mold yourself a million more times from the ashes of your previous personalities, you must burn yourself again and again like a phoenix, rising from the ashes perpetually,
and you can keep falling asleep at night thinking, maybe someday I’ll be pretty, maybe someday he will want me, maybe someday I won’t hurt myself, maybe someday I will be someone who feels more worthy of love and life and happiness, but the trick is:
Are you studying abroad in Japan as part of your degree or otherwise?
Are you writing a blog about your experiences
Is it useful and/or awesome?
Do you want some extra readers?
Do you like helping people?
If the answer to all of the above is yes, please like or reblog this post or just message me directly (via the message box on my home page) with the link to your blog. I’d like to compile a list of study-abroad blogs for those wishing to study abroad in Japan and to help people who are over there connect with each other.
PS. Feel free to inform me of any year-abroad blogs that you follow, too!
It never really quite turns out the way you think it will – growing up, you think. You had all these grand ideas of where you would be when you turned 21. Thought you’d be invincible with the world in the palm of your hands, like how they sold the images of growing up on all those TV shows you grew up watching. You would’ve traveled all over the world by now – worldly and cultured you imagined – that was how everyone would describe you at 21 – and you would have a friend, or two, on every country on every continent. And all the questions you ever had about life magically answered. 21 is an adult after all and so far away from where you were – you used to think.
So I went out with my some people from my club today, and when we were on the bus going to the station, I went forward because I thought we were getting off. I looked behind me and saw one of the guys get up, so I figured it was the stop we were getting off at. I had to get change (buses in Japan have a change machine at the front <3) and stuck in my ¥1000 bill. For some reason the machine wouldn’t accept it. I tried again, and the bus driver even stuck it in a few times, but the machine just kept spitting it back out. So I stood there for a while. The driver swapped my bill for one out of his own wallet, which worked. When I got my change, I heard my name being called, and when I looked up the other members were standing there. So I was like, oh I guess I wasn’t supposed to get off. Omg, I was totally going to get off. How lucky that the machine didn’t accept my money! :U
“I am not a graceful person. I am not a Sunday morning or a Friday sunset. I am a Tuesday 2am, I am gunshots muffled by a few city blocks, I am a broken window during February. My bones crack on a nightly basis. I fall from elegance with a dull thud, and I apologize for my awkward sadness. I sometimes believe that I don’t belong around people, that I belong to all the leap days that didn’t happen. The way light and darkness mix under my skin has become a storm. You don’t see the lightning, but you hear the echoes.”—Anna Peters
On Friday was our second Niji no Kai general meeting (they’re once a month), but unfortunately it was the last one being led by the third years before they retire from the club. Although the semester doesn’t end until January, it’s tradition for the oldest members to…
I didn’t realize third years would leave so soon. That makes me sad because I haven’t even gotten to know any of the the ones in my club. :<
“… [T]he difference between me and a more socially outgoing person is that (depending on the situation and whom I’m talking to) I tend to hold back and find a lot less reason to put streams of words out there, especially when meeting new people or those I don’t know well.”—Lisa
“One day, you’ll feel empty while pursuing your goals or your dreams. On those days, just remember the warmth of the people who encouraged you and believed in you. Surely, you’ll be able to keep pushing forward no matter what.”—
I was stressing out yesterday about the report I was pretty sure was due today. But nobody was talking about it, and I didn’t know what the teachers wanted us to write about exactly, or how long they wanted it to be. Stayed up late studying for a quiz I’d totally forgotten about, and then to start this essay. I was thinking I’d skip lunch to finish it. I asked around, and it seemed like no one had written this essay, so by lunchtime I just decided to stop worrying about it. There was no way I’d finish it in less than an hour anyway.
Went to class and was informed that the teachers are just going to select a few representatives to write reports instead of having everyone write one. My teacher said they’ll probably pick based on how much people wrote on their survey last week.（￣▽￣）I wrote one sentence because I really didn’t have anything else to say.
So, when I was in Japan (and I know, I am a terrible, terrible non-follower of my own rule where I was supposed to try not to start every other sentence with, ‘So when I was abroad…’) there were a lot of cultural things that really got to me, and most of them had to do with confidence, body image, self-esteem, that sort of thing. I found it really startling and disturbing to be told that self-love and confidence were not desirable ends. My American voice asks, “Why is it not considered good to be confident? How can anyone love a person who does not love themselves?” and I hear a Japanese response: “Well, no one wants to be around people who care about themselves, because they will think less about other people.” But as I sit here looking into a world of people who struggle with self-loathing far more than I do, I kind of have to wonder if the culture I grew up in which places so much value on being individualistic, on being happy in one’s own skin, is perhaps not just as unfortunate as I initially thought the other might be, that is, one in which the self is valued primarily through the eyes of others. When confidence, happiness, and worth are supposed to come from within, it seems like so many are sentenced to failure with no way to redeem themselves. I feel like as humans we are social creatures, and naturally seek acceptance/validation from the people around us, and yet somehow that is not considered enough. The sentence “It doesn’t matter what anybody says” has two opposing possible endings, you see?
Anyway. That was a long tangent. I will now attempt to return to divining the secrets of topology and expounding upon the significance of realism in 18th century imperial portraiture. Wish me luck.