Getting ready to time-travel

And so one thing ends, and, with anxiety, something new begins.  Tonight, I complete my life here in Japan, and dream one last dream before I move forward to my next step.  I felt like I was in “What About Bob?” today, taking my mother’s guidance to do whatever needs to be done next – aka baby steps.  I took my baby steps all day long today, and finally got it all finished.  I even accomplished a few things I expected not to be able to do.

One of those things being seeing the guitarist I’d seen a couple weeks ago at the nearby train station, who had greeted me in English one night as I was moving my stuff to my friend’s place.  He greeted me and asked how I was doing tonight, as I was walking in Shibuya, and ended up accompanying me, with my comfortable acquiescence, to the phone shop to disconnect my phone (It was closed.), and then buying me a Japan-only Yuzu frappucino from Starbucks, and sitting with me as I finally watched the Shibuya Crossing from the Starbucks window (It wasn’t actually very impressive, but I think I never really expected it to be, anyway.), at which point, we finally discovered that we had, in fact, seen one another those two or three weeks back.  He was a nice guy, Ryo.

I ended my evening with my last gaiten zushi (conveyor belt sushi), on which I spent ¥680 (just over $6 US), and which I didn’t even finish eating.  I’ll miss such affordable sushi, but I’ll survive quite well back in Houston, I do believe.  Green smoothies and colorful veggie-based juices are calling me.

And now, at long last, I shall sleep.  Rest, anyway.  We’ll see if it really is sleep tomorrow morning, when my alarm wakes me just before 5am.  I hope I wake rested well.

Anyway, this is it, I guess.  Tomorrow morning, I say goodbye to Japan, and then I time-travel (departing 11:10am on Saturday, 12 August, and arriving 9:30am on Saturday, 12 August).

Goodnight!

Post-a-day 2017

But… those are mine – the things we do for love <3

Girls and bracelets.  Seems like a rather simple topic, right?  Just girls and bracelets.  Nothing special.  Today, however, they were both special.

It was my last day going by the school where I have been based this past year.  A student had been in touch to find out this information, and so knew that I was going to be there today in the morning.  When I arrived at my (well, it’s not my former desk, but I guess it must have still been mine, since the stuff all on it was for me) desk, I was surprised by a small and adorable (because Japan) pile of wrapped gifts.  Each one had a different note and was from someone different, both teachers and students.  They all surprised me, but the one that got me ready for tears was the one on a beautiful piece of Rapunzel Disney (C) paper, with “Love” tape to attach it to the pink bag.  It read:

Dear Hannah
Present for you.

From Nono, Yuna

These were the two main trumpet players in the band at school, the two with whom I had spent bits of time here and there, just listening to them play, chatting with them, having lunch with them, taking photos with and of them, letting them paint me (yes, they painted my arms one day), giving them fun jazz (which they had never heard!) music to play, and also playing trumpet with them.  Of course, I am going to miss these two dearly.

However, I never quite expected a present from them.  Let alone the nice little Japanese mirror, charm, and coin purse (or maybe it’s for makeup, even).  They’re designed to go with the whole yukata/kimono getup, and I had never found ones to go with mine.  So it was essentially a perfect going-away present for me!  And they had no idea.  They were just being sweet and giving me something Japanese.

So, a short time later, they show up to the teachers’ room and ask for me.  I rush over to them and shove them out of the teachers’ room in a hurry – no one else needs to be part of this little celebration-slash-goodbye ordeal that’s about to go down.

With the two are a handful of other girls from the band, too.  I thank them eagerly (Is that right?  Let me check… “eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest. eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint,” says merriam-webster.com, so I accept it as appropriate in this case.), and give hugs all around.  Some embrace the american social norm, and others delight in it hesitantly, but they all hug me with joy and enthusiasm.  I will miss these guys, runs through my head as we’re all chatting and being silly together, and I know my thought is right.  I will miss them desperately, and I know they will miss me, too.  The simple fact that my successor is not even musically inclined shows the unlikelihood of their finding a replacement-ish for me, and the fact that I am leaving Japan almost guarantees that I couldn’t even begin to find a sort of replacement for all of them.

As we are wrapping things up, so that they can go eat before they have to be back at band rehearsal (to which I had been listening earlier on in the morning, secretly), I notice yet again a comment directed at my shins-ankles-feet region.  i couldn’t hear what was said, as it wasn’t said to me.  Each time it happened, the comment was almost whispered to another girl, just quietly enough that I couldn’t quite hear.  But I could see.

I wondered if they were finally noticing how I don’t shave my legs – I kind of gave up shaving… not sure where I’m going with that in life, but it seems to be the current situation.  I am always happy to talk about almost anything with the girls, despite their often being incredibly shy about most things.  So, as I usually do, I encourage the comment to come to the open.

Finally, someone gets the nerve enough to say it aloud, and I am surprised.  It was not, as I thought, anything to do with my hairy legs (it is dirty blonde, after all, so it isn’t all too noticeable in the first place, but I imagine they’re all accustomed to mine already anyway, plus they seem to love the colors in all my various hairs (since they’re not just black, like Japanese people’s)).  What was the comment regarding?  My anklet.

“She… want… it,” was the oh-so-embarrasing phrase.  And oh, what self-searching consideration I had to make all of a sudden – I was amazed at myself at my success in the matter.

And so, as we all hug once more (or twice more) and say our goodbyes, I watch with a huge smile and a chuckle, as three of the girls bounce off wearing my anklet and two bracelets, all of which I had made for myself a couple or few years ago, and all of which I absolutely love wearing.  But, hey, as I told the girls, I made those myself, so I can get some more Mookaite and Jasper stones when I get back to Houston (I might even still have some, actually), and make myself some new versions of those same bracelets and the matching anklet.  Plus, as much as those meant to me, it pales in comparison to how much each now (and likely for the rest of their lives) means to those girls.  As they say in Japanese, one of them told me that it is her “precious treasure”.  I’m not sure they could have been more grateful, even if I had made the bracelets for them specifically.

I still kind of can’t believe those girls got my bracelets and anklet off of me.  But I also love how wonderful it felt to give away a part of myself to those who so greatly longed for a bit of it.  It was more than just giving away something I had with me, because it was 1)something I valued and 2)something I made myself, for myself.  It really was giving away a part of me.  It kind of feels like I’ll be able to take care of them forever, in some small way.  I like that.

Anyway, that was about ten minutes of today.  A really, really good ten minutes.  🙂


 

Post-a-day 2017

Sing-a-longs for school?

Yesterday, I brought my ukulele to class.  It was my final day of teaching, and I only had one class.  Seeing as it was with the students who are in the music course program at the school (think of it as being like a college major, but in high school), and they were the only class of the day for me, the teacher asked me to do something relating to music, if I could.

For the longest while, I had nothing. I was just too exhausted and mentally worn out even to think about ideas, let alone come up with some (let alone good ones).  But, as I found myself fiddling at long last with my ukulele on Wednesday night, – this was after having decided just to do a non-music-related activity – I wondered if I couldn’t pull off just singing songs the whole class period.

Sure enough, my brain decided to work for me as I played some songs for myself.  Kids could sit where they wanted, and look up lyrics on their phones (Yay! for phones in class.).  We could start with the ABCs, since some of us had specifically discussed in that class a few weeks ago that Japan seems to have learned only the first half of the alphabet song, and then made up the rest, making the whole thing weird, and having everyone always mumble out somewhere along the second half.  From there, we could “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, and then move to some real songs.

I was nervous about my uke playing, and the fact that I’m really just a beginner on the instrument, having come as a lazy-esque mid-level guitar player, and simply become a lazy-esque ukulele player.  However, I practiced several songs, and the chords really came back to me rather well, and I even learned some new ones quite easily as I went along.

Once in class, I offered for a student to play the uke.  Two kids in the front happily took over tuning it for me (I have a decent ear, but I knew theirs would be better.) when I asked, and one even pre-guessed the notes, singing them aloud for tuning (think of perfect pitch folks).  So, I thought they might have had experience with ukuleles.  This is Japan, after all.  However, the only kid who said he possibly could play a little – usually Japanese for ‘I’m rather decent, but just don’t play too often these days,’ – tried out the uke, and discovered that the chords were different from any instrument he knew.  This means that he strummed some odd-sounding chords, and then I reclaimed my ukulele with a bit more confidence and determination.

I taught them the alphabet song, and we had a wonderful time of it all, moving from that to the stars to “Under the Sea” to “Let it go”, and finally “The Lazy Song”.  There might have been another in there, but I’m not recalling it right now.

All-in-all, the kids had a blast and didn’t seem to stop smiling, I had a blast, and the teacher was utterly pleased with the lesson and class (she even kept saying so over and over again afterward).  I wish I had been able to do more things like that before, but the schedule never really allowed for it.  So it goes – it made for a wonderful final class, though, a magical send-off for me.  And that is beautiful.

Post-a-day 2017

While everything is perfect

In this book I’m currently reading – okay, it’s an audiobook, and I’m listening to it, but you get the point – was a comment by the narrating character that rather struck me the other day.  She was talking about some date she’d had (or something like a date, anyway), and, though it seemed there was potential for another activity of some sort next, she had decided to leave.  She said, “I wanted to leave while everything was perfect.”

At first, I felt as though she was simply setting herself up for missing out by not going and for delusion by thinking that dates (or more of whatever it was) needed to be always perfect.  And then I considered my immediate responses, and discovered that I disagreed with both of them.

When I really began to consider her comment, it gave way to what felt like brilliance.  Yesterday, I was at a goodbye beach party.  There had been an option to rsvp for an overnight stay after the official party, and I had initially declined this option.  I wanted to sleep in my own bed, and several other factors helped me pick that easily.  However, once at the party, I found that I didn’t want to leave so soon.  I began exploring the logistics of staying the night, and found that there was possibility of enough space for my joining the party.

As I recalled my book’s character’s words, however, I began to think in a different manner.  Yes, I am loving spending time with everyone right now.  If I left now, I would be leaving while everything is perfect.  If I stay the night, what will happen?  And I instantly saw the probable, almost certain future of the situation.  I would stay, thinking I’d have enough energy to manage the night, and then eventually would hit a wall, want to sleep, not be able to get to sleep because of the partying people, get annoyed at the overly drunk partiers, and have a miserable end to the party.  Whom was I kidding here?  I would rather leave while everything is perfect, than stay until I’m furiously agitated and starting to hate the people I was currently loving.

And so I left a short while later, had a wonderful time riding home-ish (same train, different stops) with the group of girls who were leaving at that time, chatting and joking and having an overall wonderful time together (as I already mentioned).

And the party as a whole ended perfectly for me.  It was just plain cool to have had the party go so well.
Tonight, after another beach day with a different friend, we had planned to go to this awesome salsa party, with this Grammy-winning DJ and various salsa performances and live music for social dancing – it’s a big deal party celebrating the anniversary of some club, essentially.  And it was only like 20 bucks to attend, which is way cheap for such a thing here in Tokyo.

When we arrived back to my friend’s place, and I had showered from the beach, I began to consider that line again.  Could I “leave” while everything is perfect?  Could I just go to bed now and not go, and be happy with that?  The answer was a resounding “Yes.”  I had been exhausted all day already, and am far behind on sleep for this past week – I want sleep.  I love dancing, and I love cool opportunities like this, especially to attend with friends.  And the risk was incredibly high that I would grow to exhausted, smoking would be too intense for me in the club, music would be too loud for my already existent headache, and I would be crying (possibly literally) to go home and drink a bunch of cool water and just go to sleep.

So, I stayed home, and it was perfect.  Now, I am off to some much-needed and much-wanted sleep.  Goodnight, World.  I’ll see you when my head feels great again in the late AM.

Long story-ish short: I think it is a very valuable phrase, “I wanted to leave while everything was perfect.”

Post-a-day 2017

Trumpet and Sex(?!)

This conversation happened between students and me this afternoon.  

Student: “We have to go to practice.”

Hannah: “Oh, really? What practice?”

Student: “We must practice trumpet and sex!”

After a stutter in the conversation, the second student, who wasn’t speaking, noticed the blunder, and she aimed to correct it.  As we all laughed almost hysterically, they did their best to practice the difference in pronunciation between the two words.  

Sex…sax…sex…sax…sax…sax…Sax… Back and forth we went, my pronouncing it, and their aiming to copy the sounds correctly and then reproduce it over and over again.  It was adorable and wonderful.  I love those two girls, and I will miss them loads after I leave here.
Post-a-day 2017

A free association?

Money is hard.  In the middle of the boondocks is where to find I my life friend vest. Vestitude in the inn, bridgestone in the brimm.  Grimm Reaper, till the soil, seap what you sow, sew a new crow, home a new phone.

Alas, my money comes to you, my sweet, not bitter, blessed, beloved fluttering sister-bye.  My, oh, hi, lovely.  Lovely my, yes.  Thank you.  Goodbye, why.

——————-

My cousin told me about an artist (singer) who had a journal, in which she wrote words that sounded good together, sentences and phrases that sounded nice and felt right, but hat didn’t necessarily make any real sense as sentences and such.  She then made a CD out of the words in this notebook.  I’m not sure who this is, though I have wanted to hear this album ever since he first explained about it to me – I find the idea bountifully beautiful.  Or something positive like that, anyway – I like the idea.  This was my own sort of exercise in that same sort of writing.  It wasn’t about making sense, but about telling a story through the sounds, without the assigned meanings of the words.  I’m guessing my effort to be a mediocre outcome, however I am nonetheless proud of my accomplishing it.

Thank you for reading.  😉 

Post-a-day 2017

In my head…

A blank page awaits me, and yet I have nothing to say… Rather, I have so much to say, that I cannot seem to make any of it organize itself out into something sensical.  I know that I have much to say, but all that is coming to mind is a sort of doo-too-doo hoo-hoom, boom ba-doom…di-doh-doo… doo-too-doo hoo-hoom, boom ba-doom… some unidentifiable song that my mind seems to be humming passively.  It almost feels like an obsessive relaxation technique at play, as though my subconscience were taking steps to keep me as near to sanity as possible, when it sees me edging toward a sort of breakdown.  Right now, if I focus on this nothing, this song, I am okay.  I am breathing.  If I were to focus on one of the many somethings that are rolling around in my head, I might just freak out and go a little nuts (in a different way than my typical demeanor displays my general oddness and weirdities).

So, instead of going insane, I hum-drum in my head, unable to find words or any clear thoughts.  I am breathing shallowly somewhat, but I am breathing.  And that, in itself, is something worth appreciating.

My life is a blessing, no matter how much I may be terrified of what it may hold next.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017