Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where to begin

Really... where to begin.

I've been wanting to continue with this blog for a long time... but I was kind of hesitant to just start it up with my current happenings without going back and talking about everything up to this point. By now.... it's probably impossible to sum up the last 6 months or so-- 9 months actually, if you go back to when I first got here :O

I can't believe my time here is almost up.

I have an idea.

It stems from both laziness and what I think is generally a good idea that will bring a lot of closure to this whole experience (not to mention emotional closure...). From the time I arrived here, I've been watching everyone upload all of their pictures on Facebook, remembering the experiences we've all shared as time goes on. It's really nice, and I'm so glad that I've got so many tangible memories living inside everyone's photos.

I, however, have not uploaded or shared mine with anyone since I've been here. In the beginning I admit it was pure laziness, but now I have a different feeling. Since I'm the only one who hasn't been uploading pictures, no one has seen them yet. So... what if at the end of the year, I uploaded them all at once, a bit like a big scrapbook? Then everyone could see them in the order they were taken, remembering all of our adventures one by one....

It sounded like a good idea to me, so I think that's what I'm gonna do :)

As for how that connects to my idea for this blog... why not kill two birds with one stone? As I collect and organize my photos, I'll pick out a few for each trip or whatever, and then write an entry for that trip here :D I know it won't be the same as if I had blogged right after the events had taken place, but I'll still be looking back and remembering.


That's what's most important to me.

The 9 months I have spent here in Tokyo have without a doubt been some of the best in my whole life. I came here with big dreams, great expectations, high hopes, and most of all a lot of passion. Passion for learning, making friends, traveling, tasting, feeling, experiencing-- soaking up all that is Japan.

I've always been a pretty relaxed, rational, mature(? the word I actually want to use is 大人しい, but it doesn't translate over so well) person, and oftentimes I'm the type that would hold back and not jump into anything crazy. I wouldn't let loose, enjoy the moment and just take things for what they are, even when I was just with my friends. In that sense, I feel like I might have missed out on a lot of things back then... always caught up in what's gonna happen next-- never just making the leap. It's not something I generally like about myself, but it's the truth.

Being here, and having all of these opportunities shoved in front of me... I think it's changed me a little in a good way.

I think I've learned a little about time, flow, pace, when to act and when not to, when it's ok to take that jump...

Sometimes there's no time to think and over-think things like I want to. Work and re-work. Sometimes you just have to jump. It's not worth waiting around and taking no action because you're simply content with the way things are, or too lazy to get up and actually change something. You just have to squeeze your eyes shut, take a deep breath and JUMP.

Even if I had a time machine, I wouldn't want to go back and forward, looking at how each decision I made effected the rest... where each jump has taken me. I think that looking back in the past only leads to a lot of regret. Isn't there a saying like that? Like... "if your head is always in the past looking back, you'll lose sight of what's ahead of you" or something along those lines.

I feel like life is always in motion. You can't let yourself be hindered by the circumstances or sometimes even the people around you. You always have to be honest with yourself, know what you want, where you wanna go, and always be thinking and making goals that will help you move in that positive direction. Stagnating... not giving a fuck... regretting... none of that helps anyone.

I used to be like that. Stagnating.

I don't think I even realized it.

Different places have different paces, I think. Where I grew up in San Diego, California, the pace is pretty slow... chill. Maybe because it's near the beach... I don't know. But even though it's a pretty big city, you can feel that the overall pace of it is much slower than, say, Los Angeles. I moved there for University, and chose it for a lot of different reasons... but one of the main reasons was because I felt like somehow I had more of a chance to become someone there. Not the "Hollywood dream" or whatever bullshit, just simply that there are a lot more opportunities, different people with different opinions, new places and new experiences to be had... that type of thing.

Being a huge city, LA's pace was definitely different... faster. I think that living there on my own really helped start to shape me into the person I am today.

It also ultimately led to me to realize my goal of studying broad in Japan. If I hadn't moved out after high school and really thought about my life and who I am... I definitely don't think I would be here right now.

My friend John told me he thinks that rather than having these ideals about what I want to become, instead, I have really strong feelings about what I don't want to become... how I don't want to live.

I think he's right.

San Diego... LA... high school friends... acquaintances... Mom's house... Dad's house... dorm... I don't think I ever really had a place where I felt totally at home. A place where I could give my all, try my hardest, have people around me who could teach me things, give me support and the push I need...

I think I'm the type of person who really needs that push sometimes-- that good environment. I've got inertia-- once I start rolling, I keep on going. But that initial motivation is what holds me back and screws me up 90% of the time.

I think that's one of the things I realized this year... one of the lessons I've learned from Tokyo.

Tokyo. Tokyo... is unlike any other place I've been to. It's got this flow. I mentioned earlier about every place having its own flow... its own rhythm. For me... it probably sounds really cheesy, but I think that in Tokyo I've finally found a rhythm that matches mine. A beat that keeps me moving...

I think the difference here is that people are literally always moving. Tokyo itself, as a city, is always moving. Buildings pulled down and new ones built withing weeks... fashion trends starting one week, and spreading throughout the whole city before the month is out... and then there's just the simple act of walking. That's what gave me my little epiphany, I think. In busy Tokyo, people are walking everywhere around you, minding their own business, following the flow with everyone else they're sharing the sidewalk with. Always moving.

I guess it's not something I can express in words, really... But for me at least, there's this flow, this pace in Tokyo that pushes people forward... something tangible.

Here, I feel like I've finally found my place. My pace. マイペース.

I've grown accustomed to it, gotten used to it to the point where I honestly can't believe that I'm going home in less than 2 months.

Denial can be a really fickle thing.

I know that leaving here is gonna be really hard.

I know that when I go back, it's gonna be hard to adjust my rhythm. Maybe I won't be able to. Maybe, like so many others before me, I'll find it too hard to relate to other people and my old lifestyle anymore.

There's so much swimming in my head right now it's making me feel nauseous.

All I can do is trust in myself, believe that I can make things happen, and know that if my flow really does lead me back to Tokyo, that I'll follow it here again without a second look back.

I'm gonna jump when it's the right time to jump

and follow my gut more than I'd like to allow myself to

and everything is gonna work out in the end.

Because I know it will.

And I'm gonna make it happen