Dear Blog,

Today you turn 16 years old. Happy 16th birthday.

Dear Me,

Hi, it’s me. I mean you. Anyway, it’s nice and a little awkward that we are talking again.

Remember the blog post I wrote for you wrote exactly a year ago?

Nothing much has happened here that it felt like you wrote it just last week. Corona stopped the entire world leaving just the clock ticking. What a bastard.

But so much has happened inside your head that you don’t even remember why I wrote what I wrote. Or you simply do not want to remember why I wrote what I wrote. Or maybe because your head is too layered like an onion. Each layer you peel you end up sniffling.

Regardless, I had a peek in it (and also totally used up a whole box of your tissue, sorry about it) and I still think that you are doing fine and better than you thought. So I just want to say this out loud to you in case you pretend not to have heard it. (We probably still have 5 witnesses over here at this blog. Cheers to that!)

Stop asking yourself why you cannot do more. You have done what you can and whatever more is a bonus extra. Stop yelling at yourself that you are not enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are. You are so enough that just one serving satiates. Sorry that came out wrong. Let’s start again. You are so enough that people can’t get enough of you. Okay now I’m confused. Never mind.

You have been unsure, you have been insecure. You have blamed yourself for not being able to feel grateful. But realize that the invisible hedonic treadmill exists under our feet. All of us. Remind yourself of little things we enjoy.

The crisp autumn air. The soft water. Tiny rocks. Big rocks. The passing of seasons. The coming of seasons. The announcement on the subway platform. The 5 o’clock chime. The hypnotizing red obstacle lights blinking into the dark. The warm embrace of the tiny tub. The random flower pots in the neighborhood. The trash that was swept away before it was seen. The bizarre gap between buzz and stillness. The calm, sparkly sea. The sacred grounds. The whispering winds. The trees that hug you back. The surprise rainbows. The scent of osmanthus. The ninja blossoms.

They are all still here. We are all still here. Fine, fine, if you insist I’ll add daikon into the list.

You will want to follow your heart, as I know you have never regretted any decisions you have made in your life, including purposely dropping into a “behind class” in high school despite first class grades, chasing a career that did not exist back then, unfollowing what did not seem right to you, and dating someone who later stole your passport. Regret not because you eventually turn out better than you expected. And this time you will too.

And also, because you have already figured out exactly what you want. And you are already living it here. In Japan.

If you are still unsure, here I am to utter it back to you as you so doubtlessly whispered to me the other day.

All you want in this life is for Japan to be happy and well. With us in it.

And I think that’s amazing. It’s 100% raw, true, furious love that keeps the both of us going.