You know what? Nevermind.
The kids are fine. They are happy. Tearing down the house as usual. Building spaceship stations and airports with sofa cushions and Champon in our bedroom. Stealing all the CNY snacks without asking me. Switching on Anpanman to watch by themselves (they know the remote control better than me now, Junya even taught me how to fastforward the programs). They also have not been sick (touch wood) since the change of new school for Junya.
They are happy and fine.
So, this month, this monthlyversary blog post, is about ME.
I have talked about my children without missing a single month for 56 months in a row, I guess it is ok to think about myself a little… just for this month? 🙂
So this post.
It is about me finding out who I want to be, finding small happiness in little things, and seeking healing powers.
I went back to Japan. Or rather, Japan beckoned me back home. Twice in January for work. I’m back again now, for work. Again by the end of the month.
I can’t get enough of it. Or Japan can’t get enough of me. Either one. Or better, both. We just can’t get enough of each other. I think I have found my true love.
Japan saved me, over and over again. Japan saved my soul. In the darkest days, Japan called out to me who was hiding in a tunnel and whispered gently, it’s okay, you have me. You can always come back. You will feel better.
I’m going to dedicate my entire body and soul to it. One day I’m going to die in this land, my body is going to return to the earth and fertilize its rich soil and help grow delicious daikon. I think that’s the meaning of my life. To turn into a delicious daikon, for Japan.
(If this cult is getting too overbearing, you may leave any time. It’s ok. Although I doubt you will. ^^)
I have said it before, in my blog post 7 years ago. That I realized the one biggest reason why I love Japan is that… it makes me a person I like.
I can be the person I like when I am in Japan.
I am emotionally stronger, I have better patience, I have unlimited gratitude. 我慢も強くなり、感謝もできるようになります。I wonder why I cannot feel the exact same anywhere else. I am still learning and trying to be the person who can always stay positive, strong, and thankful no matter where I am. But Japan makes it easy for me. No, Japan makes it natural for me.
These two trips, I feel like I am shining. Kira Kira. Like the sparkles on the back of trending iPhone cases. People noticed me, they showed a special fondness for me, they tell me I’m kawaii, amazing, kind.
I was shocked. Am I amazing? Am I kind? (Kawaii I know I am la. HAHAHHA joking. Just joking.)
Maybe I am!
It was a startling revelation. That I am amazing and kind. Haha. And a little bit kawaii, just maybe.
Am I really? I don’t care. I decided that I am. And I want to be that person. The more I work hard towards becoming that person, the more people notice me and tell me I am her.
It’s crazy. Japan is my positivity drug. I’m seeing everything in Sakura-tinted contact lenses.
I owe my next daikon life to Japan.
Speaking of daikon, I re-stock my Japanese vegetables to bring home at a very local grocery stores near the taiko dojo I went to, waaaay out of town. I thought instead of buying it from chain supermarket, it would be better to support the local ojiichan and obaachan running their own stores in the suburb Tokyo.
This is how cheap groceries are in Japan – a pack of beansprout for ¥19. That’s like SGD0.24.
Beautiful hakusai and radish for a fraction of the price you see in Shibuya/Roppongi.
That pack of Ichigo I bought was merely ¥289, and Eringi mushroom for ¥68. How crazy cheap is Japan getting??
Thank you, mother nature.
So I picked up wadaiko (Japanese drum) since December. After I tried hitting a taiko awkwardly for the first time in my life during my trip to Kojima, I wrote that my new resolution was to learn taiko. I really did. The ryokan staff would be so proud of me.
The first time I was charmed by Taiko was my trip to Uchiko. After seeing the junior highschool students perform, I was determine to get Sakura into a taiko club. Then after that I watched “Isle of Dogs” by Wes Anderson, which BGM is mostly made of taiko drumming (by Kaoru Watanabe, I took his online lessons too), so ever enchanting and haunting. Then I thought to myself, why can’t *I* learn it! Yes I’m not young anymore, but it’s never too late to learn something new. 活到老学到老。
And I was extremely lucky because a dear friend in the traditional Japanese martial art scene happened to know a super taiko master whom she introduced to me without any hesitation. I owe part of my daikon life to her too.
And then I am hooked ever since.
Taiko is so… de-stressing.
Spiritually soothing, soul-healing… I once had a 3-hour practice and it felt like 30 minutes. My arms almost fell off but I received so much healing power from it. The resounding percussion of each strike on the drum, has a special effect in calming my mind. I can let go of the hurt in me, and embrace nature’s healing. Time really does fly when you are doing something you love. Time is forgotten.
Taiko in ancient times is used in warfare to motivate troops and intimidate enemies, and it is also used in folk traditions to dispel bad spirits and demons.
Maybe that’s why I always feel awaken, confident and powerful after each taiko session. With also fuller biceps lol.
I never thought that I would ever pick up a new hobby other than… well, touring Japan – because I have no patience for nifty crafts, hate any sort of sports and am musically retarded (I used to play violin and could even read the score but 100% give back to teacher liao). But it must have been fate that I chanced upon taiko. Forever I’m grateful. People who made these beautiful drums. People who dedicate their whole life protecting traditional Japanese cultures and keeping them alive.
Anyway, I am as addicted to Japan as I was yearssss ago (since the start of this blog), if not more. But it’s also a little dangerous. It made me want to be alone again. I have way too many dreams and missions to settle for the life of a full time mother.
I want to complete my final 2 prefectures. Then I want to travel to the northern-most of Hokkaido, and then to each of all the small islands in Okinawa. I want to participate in various Omatsuri and perform taiko. And then I want to go to Tohoku and do volunteer work for a little while. And then I want to go see how daikon is grown and then back to Tokyo to eat the most expensive sushi in the world. (Anyway, the most expensive is sushi is probably not in Japan. Maybe Singapore lol. The most expensive course I’ve come across is only JPY50,000 in Ginza. I’ll amend – most delicious sushi in the world.)
I want to do all these before I die (and turn into daikon). I want to keep shining so bright you guys are gonna need freaking solar eclipse glasses.
These days I don’t leave Japan feeling heavy hearted anymore. Because I know it will summon me back.
Before I flew back home from Narita this time, a very pretty ground staff told me that the flight is full, so they will have to send me to business class.
Japan, really??? Are you sure it’s ok to love me so much?
Thank you, JAL, you are totally, absolutely worth the extra money I didn’t save taking LCC.
So this post is not about how much I love Japan, but how much Japan loves me. That it has to surprise me even the very last minute before I leave its precious land.
If you give your pure, honest love to Japan, it can love you back thousand times as fiercely.
End of sermon of the day.
And as per routine at the end of each session, here you are passed the offering bag – contribute a little back to this community by buying an air ticket, (and ¥19 bean sprouts) perhaps? 🙂 Keep this cult furiously alive. Have faith in what you believe. 🙂
Anyway, Junya turns 56 months today and Sakura is 33 months old. 🙂