Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Set Your Soul On Fire

 

What do your passions and interests mean to you?

For me, they are a way to fulfill the yearning in my soul, 
and also to connect to similar souls out there. 

 

 I've always been on the quiet and reserved side. As a child, I always had one or two close friends, but I wasn't one to join in the crowd - I much preferred an isolated spot where I could devour book after book, or make up imaginary stories and act them out with my best friend. Even though I've moved so many times and I'm not exactly the outgoing type, I have been lucky enough to make some friends and meet wonderful people at each place. And I owe that luck in part to my interests and passions.

 

 Once you leave behind everything you once knew to start all over, 
what else do you have left to hold on to?

Your passions - what's in your heart, and what helps define you.
It's what you get excited about, what motivates you, what keeps running through your head.

 

As a teen, I had several different interest phases that I enjoyed alone, such as drawing and writing. But I started to hit a turning point when I discovered my love for singing and Japanese language, nearly simultaneously - because these two really ultimately began to draw me out toward people. 

Learning a new language is all about communication; it just doesn't work all that well if you study it alone. Thanks to my strong interest in Japanese language and culture starting from my high school days and continuing into college, I crossed paths with fellow Japanese learners and marveled in improving together. Just having this shared goal with another student, to be able to speak Japanese, drew us closer automatically, no matter how reserved I was usually. 

 

And then...

Music.


 

 I have met some of the most amazing people, and made some of my closest friends so far through music. In the last two "move' stages of my life, the move to college and the move to Japan, music and Japanese language have created many of the windows for me to build relationships with people who have moved, influenced, and helped me a great deal. On the huge UC Berkeley campus, I was initially quite lost as to where I could possibly find my place. But there is nothing more liberating than giving yourself up to the things you love to do, and finding in amazement that those things are exactly what unfurl your true colors to the world. 
Now, some of my best memories from college remain as sunlit images of being with fellow Japanese learners and study abroad students from Japan, talking and laughing together, wandering the campus and San Francisco, playing guitar on campus and singing together. 

 

Coming to Japan, I was once again starting anew. Especially in a completely different country and culture, I felt extremely reserved about going out there and just talking to people. But little by little, thanks to the shows I played, the videos I shared, my blog, the people I connected with through music even before arriving in Tokyo - I was able to meet some of the most amazing people. These experiences have really helped me to grow, and continue to grow and change. 

I haven't always been kind to my passions. There have been times when I was too tired, too lacking in motivation or inspiration, too busy, too distracted by other things... and I just let those same interests that brought me here lay on the side like some forgotten old shoes.
 But right now, I really want to thank those passions. 
For I am truly grateful to them for bringing me people. For bringing me strength. And for bringing me myself.


 

And here is an amazingly cute kitty on the street. I hope I see it again.

 

Food! Just because!

So what are some of your passions and interests that have lead to you meeting wonderful people, saved you in times of difficulty and transition, or just feeling more fulfilled in life?


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