Friday, January 02, 2004
sayonnara 2003, hello 2004
It's a brand new year, and already I'm off to a fresh start, living in a new place with a Japanese host family. The tone of new year here in Japan is definitely more festive than back home in the States, but at the same time, it's a different sort of party atmosphere - more like a Christmas / Thanksgiving-esque sort of happiness. Celebrating the new year is definitely a family affair here in Japan - not the Western-style, wile-out, get krunk (AKA crazy drunk), and pass out somewhere with your friends and co-workers. Nope, it's different.
The host fam and I eating special soba noodles on New Year's Eve... same thing as Chinese pretty much. Eating long noodles is symbolic of (hopefully) living a long life. I ate a lot of noodles.
On the left is Junko, the oldest, who came back home to visit... I think she lives in Osaka now. Closest is the youngest child, Koji, who's 22. Mrs. Wajima, my host mom, is behind me.
Same scene, except I'm taking the pic, and Junko and Mr. Wajima are showing off the long soba noodles. Also note: my cellie and Japanese dictionary are on the corner of the table. Important stuff, yo!
First day of the first month of the new year meal... very special. On the lefthand side is the middle child and oldest son, Masashi, and his wife Mai. They came over to visit New Year's day. Also in the pic is the family dog, Love, who answers only to the Japanese pronunciation of his name: Ruubu or Ruubu-chan. Haha.
The special traditional dishes for the New Year, or in Japanese, o-sechi ryori. The food varies by region in Japan, but some items are pretty common to all.
OK, this is not a New Year's picture, but I just thought I'd throw a pic of Amy Nish and I, especially since she made the trip out to Kobe to visit me. Being able to speak English, especially with somebody from back home who has a similar background (the hell of Kent schools, UW, AsianAm Christian, etc.) was good. Any English conversation you can have in Japan without the aid of a dictionary is big to me... haha.
And yeah, sorry Amy for spoiling the picture... life in Japan really has driven me a bit nuts at times.
So somebody wrote to me and asked what it's like being 25. Well, to tell you the truth, it's not that much different from 24... but as a service to those younger than me, I'll pass down the wisdom I've acquired over my quarter century of life into the following random bits:
1. God is always at work; whether or not you acknowledge it is a different matter. Sorta like gravity.
2. Faith is more than belief; it's trust.
3. Just when you think you know everything about something or somebody, including yourself, you'll find you don't.
4. Things change. Love and the Truth do not.
5. Love is a conscious choice. Not just a feeling.
6. You can't choose your family, but friends are the family you choose. Choose wisely.
7. If you want respect, you have to give it first.
8. Develop 3rd eye vision AKA spiritual eyesight... learn to see beneath the surface of all things.
9. Cherish the innocence of children. They understand things in a way that all adults have lost.
10. Worst comes to worst, my people come first. If you don't share/look out for your friends and fam, don't expect them to share/look out for you.
11. Corollary of 10: If I have bread, my friends and fam have bread. If I eat, my friends and fam eat. A real man shares his good fortune with others.
12. Nothing makes a long trip pass faster than a good CD.
13. Learn something new.
14. Corollary of 13: Never stop learning.
15. Savor the small moments. And if you have a bad memory like me, take a picture or write it down.
16. Make plans, but be prepared to change them... in cases where our plans and God's plan diverge, you can count on some divine correction.
17. Corollary of 16: Be flexible... because if you don't bend, you'll break.
18. Never underestimate the power of a little bit kindness and courtesy.
19. Corollary of 5: Anticipate the needs of those you love. Don't wait to be asked.
20. Word is bond. To quote Tony Montana, "I only have two things in life... my balls and my word. I don't break either fer nobody!"
21. Corollary of 8: Learn to read people. It'll help you play cards better and save you a lot of grief.
22. Corollary of 4: Everything and everyone belongs to God. Steward it/them while you have it/them; be prepared to give it all back someday.
23. Selfish people suck. Avoid them.
24. You can be stripped of everything you have in life except 3 things: your faith, your pride, and your memories. Value them.
25. Separate the temporal from the eternal, and prioritize things accordingly. Example: the souls of people are eternal. Your Louis Vuitton handbag is not.
Bonus. Don't take the random sayings of some Chinese guy with a shaved head celebrating his birthday in Japan as gospel truth. Always check everything in life, including this list, against the true source of wisdom.
On a rather random note, it's kinda weird and strange to see what I was doing on my other birthdays...
I've forgotten that my blog has been around that long...
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