Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last days in Japan, Hibernation & Afterthoughts

Last days 
My last stop in Japan was Fukuoka.  It’s located next to Nagasaki on the northern part of Kyushu.  I didn’t get to see much of Fukuoka except the main city but I was able to spend a lot of time with my host and in the end, that’s all that really mattered. 

I couldn’t wish for a better ending for my first half of the trip.  My stay was with a wonderful Japanese woman, Sumire, her two sons, 12 year old Souma and 2 year old Hikaru, a dog Colin and a cat Ninja.  Writing about Sumire, doesn’t give justice to my feelings towards her.  She is sunlight, strength, wonder, curiosity, mess, cook, mother, friend, teacher, adventure, optimism, smile, laughter, and so much more.  We stayed most days at home. We talked, cooked, taught lessons, chased kids and animals in the garden, bonded, felt connection grow with every passing second. 

Sumire drove me to the airport.  We embraced tightly and couldn’t let go.  She waited until I walked inside before leaving.  We will see each other again.  Soon.  
Hikaru & Colin

Kids hanging out in the garden

Sumire, Hikaru & Colin
Autumn in Fukuoka

Holiday Lights in the city

I left Japan on November 30th.  3 months flew by faster than I could have imagined.  But I have a very comforting thought.  I will be back soon. 
The plan is: hibernate in Taiwan in December (my sister is teaching English in Taichung city) then go to Thailand in January (meeting my two girlfriends from New York there).  And finally in February I will return to Japan.  I still haven’t seen Okinawa, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Tokyo and so many more  cities and places.  I will be patient.

May be some of you might wonder why my blogs are usually filled with so much enthusiasm and positivity.  Is it possible for a person continuously experience so much luck and wonderment?  But in reality what I encounter are regular places and normal people.  It just I am able to see magic in the most ordinary things and people.  I live every day in wonder.  I appreciate every nod and smile from a stranger, every field and mountain of the nature, every custom and quirk of the culture.  Some might look at a rice field and see grass sticking out of the ground and never give it a second look but I look at it and see stocks swollen with nourishing rice grains swaying gently in the wind and bathing in sunlight glow.  And tomorrow they will feed a young child who has an unsurpassable curiosity for the world.   
Some might look at this child and shudder at her blunt stare towards this person's direction and feel uncomfortable and annoyed.  But I look back and smile, study her just as carefully as she’s studying me and wonder what kind of person she’ll grow up, how much love she receives at home and whether her parents hug her every day and tell her how much they love her and how important she is to them.  Some might see a stranger hiding his curious look and following at distance pace and think he is a stocker with bad intentions.  I will come up to the stranger, start a conversation and find out that fate has brought us together through the most remarkable circumstances to spend an incredible day together and teach each other lessons we needed to learn at that specific point of our lives.   

Never underestimate each day given to you.  Today is the day you will be greeted by your wife with the most loving smile you’ve seen in years because you believed it would happen.  Today is the day you’ll walk outside and the sun will shine so brightly on you, you will close your eyes, turn your face towards this incredible source of warmth, energy and light and think how incredible our universe is and how lucky you are to be alive and feel the sunshine on your face and it will lift you from your deepest sorrows and you will feel the wings growing and remember the dream you had years ago and will become determined to fulfill this dream no matter what.  Because no one else has the power to change your world except you.  “Happiness, health and extravagant abundance are all inside jobs!”

I am living my dream because I always knew I would.  I knew I can from the moment the thought came into my head so many years ago.  It was the most difficult decision I had to make in my life.  Leave a steady job during economic downturn, leave my mother who just saw her two younger children leave for other countries and relied so much on my physical, financial and emotional support.  Leave a steady life of abundant opportunities of warm vacations, good restaurants, great nightlife.  Leave the man who has finally made a journey across the ocean to be with me.  Leave my older brother in his toughest moment of his life: lost business, broken heart and very low spirits and belief in tomorrow.  Leave my Godson who brings me so much joy and leave his mother, my best friend, who has been by my side for 13 years. 

But I made the right decision.  I know, with my heart, my soul, my whole being that this trip was meant to be.  There are a lot more discoveries to come but for now I want to thank every single person who has crossed my path on this journey.  There are hundreds!  Hosts, strangers on the street, drivers who picked me up on the side of a road.  And some shine brightly in my mind.  Yacchi of Sapporo, Toby, Stephanie & John of Higashikawa, Yufuko of Abashiri, Adam of Kushiro, Yukiko of Sapporo, Charlotte of Kazuno, Scott & Masako of Kamo Aosa, Adrian of Sakata, Kevin & Yamato of Fukushima, Ryota of Matsuyama, Bahti of Beppu, Alexa and Sandra of Saiki, Victoria and her children of Takachiho, Prerna of Miyazaki, Keyu of Beijing, Asuka of Nagasaki and Sumire of Fukuoka.  

Thank you for coming into my life.


  1. First image reminded me of The Sound of Music :)

  2. No. Thank you!!! Enjoy your hibernation. It's warming up a bit here in Hokkaido, but I think (hoping?) it's just a tease. Square One looks forward to opening her doors to you. Just like the owls out front, you bring happiness into our home and lives. Arigato!!