Monday, January 30, 2012

Heartbeats and the Sound of Taiko

I really should change the description of this blog. It's definitely not a daily thing, is it?

A while back I was going to write about the death of one of the exchange students. Around January 20th, one of the SKP exchange students, Alex, passed away. The exact cause of her death is unknown, but it was very sudden. While I was not close friends with her, I enjoyed her presence every time I spoke with her. I laughed with her, and even told her I would show her around Austin when she traveled to Texas. While I want to cry while remembering her, I know that she would laugh and tell me to smile. Instead of crying, I'd like to remember her as the girl I always saw smiling. She laughed life away and enjoyed herself.

We all miss you, Alex. And while it's sad that you're not with us in person, we'll carry your spirit with us as we continue our journey in Japan.

Alex's death made me ponder my own lifestyle in Japan. I feel as though I don't appreciate my time here like I should. What if I were to pass away tomorrow? What if I were to disappear today? Would my life have meaning?

Better yet, what parts of my life would be memorable?

I've decided to do a few things differently for the next semester. I feel as though my life has always been something that I can improve. I am never satisfied with anything I do, and this is especially true with school. I want to learn to accept the things I can't change. And this means accepting myself first, the good and the bad.

I want to do my best in Japanese. But instead of just hating my time here and locking myself in my room to study, I'm going to talk to more Japanese people. I'm going to make time for the friends I have made and learn to do things on my own. I'm not going to rely on the friends I have or wait for them to do something I want to do. If I want to go shopping, I'm going to. I can do it on my own.

For this, I'm going to tell myself that doing things I enjoy is not necessarily something that is selfish. It's not selfish for me to do things on my own or enjoy time by myself. I'm going to explore things I enjoy and not waste my time doing something that i hate or dislike. Sure, the things you dislike make you stronger sometimes, but this doesn't mean you have to torture yourself. You don't have to be the strongest, most beautiful, talented, or even the smartest person in the world. If I'm not me, then who else will be me?

I never realized how important music was to me. Well, I can't limit the importance to music, but sound. I'm terrified of losing my hearing. My left ear is the weaker of my ears, and I'm scared of losing hearing in that ear permanently. I want to enjoy sound while it's still possible. I'm not going to try to act cool anymore. I enjoy the crappy music of Korean boy bands and I love the distraught chords within metal and rock. No one has to agree with what I like or dislike. It's my choice. If you respect my choices, I'll respect yours as well.

We don't have to agree with the same things. We all just need to respect each other.

In order to respect each other, we need to know ourselves.

I struggle with loving myself every day in Japan. I don't say this to fish responses of pity or empathy. I'm writing it because I feel like I need to say it. I don't like myself on a daily basis. I love myself on a temporary basis. I don't know who I am, but I know what parts of me I dislike, and I want to work on those.

A goal for the new year is to devote myself to something. While I want to do Aikido, I don't feel it's right for me to pursue that while I'm in Japan. I want to pursue music while I'm here. I want to dedicate myself to Taiko. I want to experience the physical release of stress and self-hate. I want to find my spirit in the sound of drums as the sun rises.

I miss dedicating myself to something.