Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
So this Sunday at my church (the one I’ve been going for nearly 17 years) Pastor Phil preached about the Important Things In Life. Summarized, he challenged us to think of what’s really important in our lives: a grudge, or a relationship? A TV show, or a child? The answer should be fairly obvious.
No matter what you believe, you can’t deny that this has got to be right. I mean, really. If your favorite TV show is more important than the life of your child, there’s something seriously wrong with. Whether you believe in God and what the Bible says or not, you should know that everything in life has different levels of importance. Shouldn’t people be more important than media? I tend to think YES.
I struggle with it too though, really. I get soooo frustrated at people when they interrupt me while I’m doing something. What this “something” usually is, is reading a good book, writing something-or-other, watching something online, etc. I’m in my room, my recluse, but someone (usually my father) dares to knock on my door and disturb my solitariness, and I get bothered. Frustrated. Short-tempered. Why? Because I had to pause what I was doing for less than 5 minutes and answer a simple question or two. Really? How stupid is that? How can the newest episode of whatever show be more important than my family? Or the next chapter of a book? What harm would it do for me to be polite anyway? Even if whoever is wasting my time, it’ll only be a few minutes; whatever I was doing will still be there when I get back. Is it really necessary for me to strain my relationships by being curt?
So I know some habits I have are problematic. Then what?
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” -Matthew 7:24-27
Yeah. Cool guy named Jesus said that (if you don’t know who Jesus is, hit me up; we’ll talk). And guess what? HE’S RIGHT. I am the house. You are the house. What’s the foundation? Good question. I’d like to think it’s the rock and not the sand, but is it? Am I really doing what God wants me to? I dunno. I’m not perfect, I know that, and God knows that, of course, that’s why He’s there to help. I can’t do what He wants of me on my own, but I do have to take the first step. I have to take the initiative to do the right thing. To pay more attention to the Important Things In Life and less to the unimportant/less important. NOT saying that fun stuff like books and moves are bad. Nope. Not bad. I like them bunches. They just shouldn’t rule my life.
Tough stuff. I like my JDramas. I like my books. I like my alone time. BUT Faith is important. People are important. Relationships are important. I like those things too, and I need to remember just HOW incredibly important they are more often. I challenge you, dear reader, to do the same.
Song on this general theme (sort of): “Brat Pack” by The Rocket Summer
And no, cherries have nothing to do with anything. That's an inside joke with... myself. Haha I'm lame.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Childhood memories. They’re fantastic, right? I mean, I don’t, personally, think about my childhood much until something actually comes up. But really, they’re some of the most precious things in the world, and they should be treasured much more.
Think of your favorite childhood movie. Not memory, movie. Mine, personally, is Aladdin. I LOVE Aladdin. Amazingly so, it’s kindof ridiculous. I don’t think about it very much though- there’s always so many new movies coming out that I don’t even remember Aladdin most of the time. When someone brings it up though, I can immediately bring to mind watching it on VHS with my sisters on the living room floor with a bowl of popcorn; I remember the time my mom said that the Cave of Wonders had indigestion after Abu touched the forbidden treasure. I can still recite most of the lines and sing nearly all the songs in the entire thing, even though I hardly watch it anymore.
It’s amazing to me how clear memories like that can be, how I can remember a single time watching a movie when I was a kid but sometimes not what I had for lunch yesterday. But how often do I actually think about my childhood? Not very.
Memories are kindof fantastic, if you think about it. I mean, not only can we store information that’s happened long in the past, we can file it away and pull it up at any moment (in theory, of course, I realize memory banks are not perfect). I mean, how awesome is that? WAY cooler than, say, a goldfish, which has a memory of approximately 2 seconds, on average, and I’m pretty sure they can’t bring to mind their “childhood” memories.
I tend to think that we, as people, should treasure our memories a bit more. They’re precious- each person’s memories, even ones from the same events, and completely unique. Each person views each and every situation and everyone else in the world subjectively. No two people think exactly the same way, no matter how similar they may seem. So there’s well over 6 billion people in the world, and each person has how many memories? A ton. So out of all the infinite number of memories in the world, the ones you have are completely and utterly unique.
It’s amazing, though, how much we take our memories for granted. It makes me a bit sad, when I think about it. Just being here in Japan makes me realize that, even in another first world country, how different my memories are from people who grew up here in Japan, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.
My point here (sorry for the attempt at putting it into words at 1am after a week of approximately 2 hours of sleep per night) being that I think memories are much more important than we give them credit for. I am, from now on, going to make a conscious effort to remember more stuff more often. When I came to Japan was the first time I ever kept a journal for an extended period of time, and it’s really helped- I can recall memories much easier now, at least the ones I have written down. I’m going to try to continue that even after I get back- even if I don’t do anything ostensibly interesting for an entire day, I’m still going to try to write down at least one memory, no matter how small, each day. I challenge you to do the same.
One more blog from Japan from me. I’ll be back home in the US at the end of May. It’ll be back to normal, whatever that means. So until then… hugs and kisses! おやすみ！
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Congratulations. You’ve found my place.
Everyone’s got one, that particular spot where you feel safe no matter what. Sometime’s it’s secret, sometimes publicly known. Anything from a mall, to a coffee shop, to a park, to the corner of the couch in your living room will do. Everyone’s got a place, and that place reveals something ostensible about his or her temperament. It’s personal, and someone rarely feels the same way about another person’s place.
Welcome. I’ll show you mine.
First you see the gate. It’s made of iron, nearly two stories high, see? Ivy likes to crawl up the verticals; it keeps them from rusting. There are words engraved in the crossbar with silver filigree, but I’m sure you can’t read them.
Oh, to watch you struggle. It’s not even a dead language. Here, I’ll take pity. It says, “My heart is living. Forever, I’ll sing.” Pretty, no? It’s a shame you don’t notice the rest… but we must move on.
Don’t tell me you’ve seen enough? Why, this is just the introduction, the prelude. The real piece has yet to begin. It frightens you, the way you can’t see past the front of trees, doesn’t it? They’re rather foreboding, even in the daylight, but they don’t mean you any harm. They’re only trees, after all. Now, just after twilight, the leaves are black instead of green, the trunks barely visible in the shadows. Don’t worry, though, I’ve always been safe here. Come along.
It’s a rather abrupt change, isn’t it? You can feel it in your very bones. As you pass through this gate you’re leaving the city, entering the patch of untamable land the earth demands. Don’t mind the rustling, it’s just a kitsune looking for it’s meal. It starts getting hungry about this time, you know.
Follow the path around here. See, it winds through the plum trees beautifully, don’t you think? Two weeks ago the attenuated branches would have been choking in pink and white blossoms, but you’re too late for that. Now they’re bare, little portals to let the moonlight through. The stars are obstructed by the wretched smog from the city, of course, but the moon is simply stunning. Look at how the fallen petals coruscate a haunting blue. I can’t look at it enough; it makes my soul hungry. When there are enough white flowers it almost looks like snow. It’s a shame it hardly ever snows here, or we could invite Yuki-Onna to a little tea party, provided we brought a child for supper. Who knows, maybe there’s a Hana-Onna instead. What’s that you say? Ghosts and witches are no laughing matter? Of course they’re not. This way, now.
This is my favorite part: the lake. You’ll see it in a moment, just keep following the stream. Be careful not to slip on the rocks. They look sturdy, but they’re really quite treacherous. Come now, along the boardwalk. It’s quite well built, I promise. There, see? This is the only spot in the whole damned prefecture you can see for more than fifty yards. You’re lucky, too; the full moon makes the murky water shine. Look, down into the tarn. Don’t lean over too far or you might fall. That would be a treat for the kappa though, wouldn’t it? That’s why they live here; you can’t see them through the water until it’s too late.
Wait, now, what’s the matter? Don’t throw yourself about like that, you might get hurt. A face in the water? Well, of course. Didn’t I just tell you this is where the kappa live? Either that or it was a ningyo. Of course they’re real, why would I lie to you? Come off the lake then, if they frighten you.
Please, don’t shriek so, I told you the kitsune were here not a moment ago. If you scream like that you’ll wake all my friends, and I still have more to show you. It may be too late for that now though. Running won’t get you anywhere; I’m sure the tengu are awake now. They’re much faster, and they like a chase.
There, see? Just kneel down; the grass is soft here. Don’t be afraid of my friends. I know they must look eldritch from here, gathered all around us, but they won’t torture you. They need to live, just like any other creature, but they do not delight in pain. Well, except the tengu.
Please don’t blame me, it’s not my fault. I never once lied to you. It is beautiful here, isn’t it? Can you hear the singing? The trees, the water, the yokai… even the rocks join in the chorus. It’s the most exquisite aria the world has ever heard, and with you as the soloist. How lucky you are, to have stumbled across my place on such a night! Tonight, you are the main act, with the moon as your limelight. Enjoy it. Revel in the glory. Then, morosely, you must say goodbye to everything else, for this is my place, and my place will keep you.
 Japanese legendary shape-shifting fox
 Snow Woman; cannibalistic figure of Japanese lore
 Flower Woman
 Japanese water goblin, known for capturing humans and eating their intestines before drowning them
 Japanese mermaid. Differs from the Western mermaid in that it is more like a monkey’s upper body with a fish tail rather than a human’s.
 Japanese monster, said to be corrupted monks with a body of dog, avian, and human characteristics
 Japanese word for monster, specifically of Japanese folklore
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Also, it has been exactly one year since I started posting on here- February 23, 2009 was my first blog. Happy anniversary!!! Haha has anyone actually been keeping up with the posts?
Anyway. Bloggins now.
I decided that time is something that I really, really do not understand.
Seriously, what is time, really? A minute, an hour, a year. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines time as, “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole,” but isn’t time just a human-made excuse for why we haven’t gotten something done?
I’ve half a mind to think that time does not really exist. The moon revolves around Earth, Earth revolves around the sun, the entire universe is moving and changing, blah blah blah… we just break it all down into little pieces to make our so-called ‘time.’
People are so concerned with getting things done by the deadline, being on time, being productive, making good use of their time, not wasting their time, all that business, me included. If you know me at all, you know that I get really stressed out if I’m going to be late or if I don’t have enough time to get something finished, and I get really loopy if I have too much extra free time. It’s something I’m still working on.
Time though… isn’t it just something we people use to measure the performance of other people? Don’t we just use it as an excuse to judge and control everyone else in our lives? I’m as guilty as anyone else. If someone is late, keeps me waiting, or wastes my time I tend to get really angry, or at frustrated at the very least. All of us use time to influence how other people do things. Take professors, for instance. We have deadlines for everything, from homework to papers to tests (the end of the period) and everything in between. Granted, if they didn’t give us deadlines probably nothing would get done, but they are still using time to control how we work, how we spend our free time.
(Notice how many times I’ve used the word “time” thus far?)
I’ve begun to wonder what the world would be like if we all decided to stop measuring time. I mean (correct me if I’m wrong), but no other living organism measures time like we do. Do you think cats and walruses and ants and daisies and lettuce measure how many minutes the sun was up today, or for how many seconds it was raining? I tend to think not. So if we humans stopped measuring time would everything fall into chaos? Probably. Would that be a bad thing? Maybe yes, maybe no. It would certainly be much easier to “live in the now” as bunches of people always say we should. I would kindof like to try it sometime, but I have a feeling I would fail miserably. We depend so much on being at work at 9, out of class by 3, home by 11… it makes me a bit sad to know that some invisible force such as time controls me so much.
Think for a second about a day that was a complete vacation. You planned nothing. You slept until you felt like it, ate when you felt like it, did whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, never had to worry about trains running, stores or restaurants being open, any of that. (If you’ve never had a day like this you are missing out.) Now think about how relaxed you probably were. It was probably one of the best days of your life, yes? What if every day could feel like that? I mean, obviously people have to work sometime, get stuff done, but maybe if we didn’t worry about time so much we’d be more productive. Maybe we have deadlines to be productive, but without deadlines we’d be more relaxed so we’d be more productive.
I may be crazy. It’s a nice thought though, yes?
It would be nice to live without a schedule dictating my life, without worrying that less than 10 seconds could determine whether I get on the right train or am able to pick up the right gift. There’s a good reason I wish there was a 24-hour coffee shop near where I live; I tend to keep very strange hours, and sometimes I’m wide awake at 3am, and there is no where to go. This sucks. But because of that silly time I’m stuck in my room, bouncing off the walls.
This is a lot of ramblings. I apologize for the crazy thought jumps and whatever else might not make sense to anyone but myself. What I’m trying to say is that, for multiple reasons, I don’t believe in time. I think people made up time because people are ridiculous (I’ll talk about that some other time).
I’m off to study for two exams that I have tomorrow morning. I’m running out of time. (Can you tell where I’m coming from on this blog?)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I’m going to start off by saying that I am leaving for Japan TOMORROW. And it’s terrifying. But exciting. I’ll be there for four months, which is the longest I’ve spent away from home ever. It’s also on the other side of the planet, which is a big deal. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to be doing over there besides taking classes and being a tourist, but I feel like God’s got a plan, so I’m just going to go with it. If it feels right that’s got to mean something, I think.
This last year I started seriously writing. I’ve always liked to write, tinkering around with short stories and novels that never got finished (or even really started), but in 2009 I really started doing stuff, this blog as proof. I’ve got a few short stories that I don’t think are terrible; a butt load of poems, some good, others not as wonderful; I started a book that I will finish and attempt to get published; I’ve even got a few songs. I’m writing, and I’m letting people read some of it (which never happened in the past). I’m getting serious about a career in writing, and I think this year is bringing big things.
These are two big issues in my life right now, but they’re not the only ones. There are other things that are also very prevalent at the present time. For the first time some things (which are going to remain unnamed on public internet for now) finally feel right. That’s never happened before, and if that’s not a God thing, what is? I feel like I know where I’m supposed to be going, and I’m determined to get there, no matter how hard it is. I’m not alone on this journey, so I know I’ll make it.
My point here is that I’m finally motivated to do things, to get stuff done. Most of my life I’ve just kind of drifted through. I mean, I always worked hard, getting good grades in school, doing my very best in whatever extracurricular activities I happened to be in at the time, but I never had an ultimate destination, a long-term goal to work towards. I do now, and I find myself wishing I had found it earlier.
I think what I’ve found is that motivation is really, really important. A person should always be working for something. It doesn’t matter if they change their mind once, twice, a hundred times; as long as they have a goal and are really trying for it, they’ll figure it out eventually. The worst thing someone can do to his- or herself is to be stagnant, to not try. If you keep doing the same thing you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same results you’ve always gotten. I don’t think that’s what anyone wants. Change is scary, but it’s inevitable; you might as well make it productive and what you want.
The ostensible goal in life is to have a great job, lots of money, spouse and 2.5 kids, blah blah blah. I say imagine your own utopia and work towards that. My ideal job likely does not have a lot of money in it, but I don’t care. If it makes me happy, that’s what counts, isn’t it?
God’s got a plan for me, and I’m determined to figure it out the best I can and make it happen. For the first time I’m motivated. It’s scarier than I ever would have thought, but in the end I know it’s going to be worth it.
P.S. Prayers for me are greatly appreciated. Safe travel, health, stress, the like. Thanks much. ^_^