My dearest Morgan,
WELCOME BACK FROM JAPAN! Well, I know you got back like a month ago but still. I’ve missed you terribly — AND I HOPE/KNOW IT WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. I can’t wait to hear all the things.
Me when I heard you were home.
Also, I realized we hadn’t posted to our blog in forever. Literally. So even though it’s reading days and I should be studying, I don’t care, I’m posting–because it was clearly ME who dropped the ball.
That said, I really don’t have much else to say besides I love you and hope your re-adjustment to MN life is going well.
BUT IT’S BEEN LIKE A YEAR SINCE MY LAST POST. HOW IS THERE NOT MUCH TO SAY?! True. But since I don’t have the time to be verbose — I’m just going to upload a fuck ton of photos and call it a day.
I’ve been lucky to have a lot of adventures this year. Here are some snazzy shots from them.
WINTER: AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
SPRING: JOSHUA TREE, CA
“A JOURNEY IS LIKE A MARRIAGE. THE CERTAIN WAY TO BE WRONG IS TO THINK YOU CONTROL IT.” — John Steinbeck
Now you’ve got to upload your adventure photos!!
If I remember correctly… you’ll be arriving back in the states soon…
So I wanted to say お帰りなさい! (WELCOME BACK/HOME)!!! I want to hear about everything!! Trips, people, food, CANADA, down time activities, dreams, reflections, the hoary marmots– everything!
How has time been passing? Have days gone by slowly, weeks quickly? That’s how it has been here. Mondays are always tiring because I always have a test or presentation (or both >.<) and when I think I can slack off for a few hours afterwards I remember that there’s a meeting with a teacher, origami club (the first four weeks I was in the calligraphy club woot woot), and volleyball…and then homework maybe. It’s good to be busy, and I think I’ll be able to sneak in a nap before origami club today.
Much love always,
I’ve made a discovery. Even the bags under my eyes have bags.
Off to nap before dinner. OH! Made a happy mistake the other day: got to talk with your mom because I thought I’d leave a message saying HIIIIIII on your cell– basically I switched my phone to all Japanese and thus obviously never know what I’m doing! Heard that you were just returning from a 9 day trip and will be off again soon! Excited for you to get your phone back in August and listen to my messages (xoxo) and to talk to you frealzzzzz soon!!! ❤
Thank you for Google translating your last post– I admit your post written in English was just too tempting not to read– but I really appreciate your support of my language pledge. ❤
Keeping my language pledge in mind though I should probably keep my words to a minimum like in Jeff McDaniel’s “The Quiet World.” Loved that- so cool that he taught at the Sarah Lawrence program! I hope measuring alpine vegetation and telekinesis with hoary marmots (lolz love your rents) is exceeding your wildest expectations.
I’ve been at Middlebury for almost four weeks now…cray cray! I just made it into level 3 and decided to stick with it so every day is challenging and every day my free time (that is…when I’m procrastinating homework) I nap, snooze, or literally just lie in my bed (my sanity is supported by 2 fans) or in the lounge (AC). I really like the other 学生s and the 先生s here. I wish I had talked with more people when we could still speak English, but we do our best getting to know each other in Japanese.
Some highlights to far include…
Kaku-san is a Japanese poet and lyricist who collaborated with her long-time friend and singer Kimura Yumi to write the lyrics for Miyazaki Hayao’s Spirited Away theme song. Kimura loved Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke so much that she wrote a letter including one of her CDs, to Miyazaki. Out of gazillions of mail sent to Miyazaki, this one was actually read by him. Apparently, because he loves music so much, Miyazaki asks his staff to directly deliver mail containing music to him. And to this letter, Kimura’s letter, he replied.
Miyazaki hoped that Kimura might write a song for a project that he was currently working on, but also shared that plans, due to their nature, tend to change, and cautioned Kimura that there was unfortunately only a slight chance of everything working out. All the same, Kimura asked Kaku to collaborate with her and find words to a melody that kept resurfacing in her mind. Kaku finished the first draft of their song, “Itsumo Nando Demo” or “Always with Me,” in fifteen minutes.
In a speech Kaku gave (and which was luckily and beautifully translated into English by the Dean of the Middlebury Language Schools), she explained that writing this song was like a channeling experience. The words easily tumbled out as if the song had already been written, that universe simply used her as a clear and empty bamboo shoot to deliver it. That those were her favorite experiences of her work, times when she channeled something both from herself and from something greater. Something created and meant for everyone, something that could be read, sung, and listened to over and over again and be delightfully fresh and true every time.
Miyazaki’s original project was benched; however, a few years later he contacted Kimura hoping that he might use the same song for “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi,” i.e. “Spirited Away.” At first Kimura and Kaku were unsure if the song they wrote inspired by what Miyazaki had shared of his previous project could fit another movie. Their feelings changed when Miyazaki shared that during the duration of the project, when he and his team came to a crossroads and weren’t sure where to take the story next, they listened to this song over and over again and let it guide their way.
Here are the lyrics translated into English and the song below:
Somewhere, a voice calls, in the depths of my heart May I always be dreaming, the dreams that move my heart So many tears of sadness, uncountable through and through I know on the other side of them I'll find you Everytime we fall down to the ground we look up to the blue sky above We wake to it's blueness, as for the first time Though the road is long and lonely and the end far away, out of sight I can with these two arms embrace the light As I bid farewell my heart stops, in tenderness I feel My silent empty body begins to listen to what is real The wonder of living, the wonder of dying The wind, town, and flowers, we all dance one unity Somewhere a voice calls in the depths of my heart keep dreaming your dreams, don't ever let them part Why speak of all your sadness or of life's painfull woes Instead let the same lips sing a gentle song for you The whispering voice, we never want to forget, in each passing memory always there to guide you When a miror has been broken, shattered pieces scattered on the ground Glimpses of new life, reflected all around Window of beginning, stillness, new light of the dawn Let my silent, empty body be filled and reborn No need to search outside, nor sail across the sea Cause here shining inside me, it's right here inside me I've found a brightness, it's always with me
I’ve basically just been listening to this and another song written by Kaku：ほしぞらとてのひらと, apologies the translation has proved impossible at this moment to find…
But anywhos. Kaku ❤
And no big deal…BUT IN FOUR-ISH DAYS SHE WROTE A SONG FOR THE MIDDLEBURY JAPANESE SCHOOL! I almost passed out from happiness. A few times. She asked students to put words they liked in a suggestion box and SHE USED BOTH OF MINE in the song– then I really almost passed out. I choose みずうみ (‘mizuumi,’ lake) and 宇宙 (‘uchuu,’ universe). The second word I chose was a new word I learned during Kaku’s speech when she said that inside everyone, there is a universe. Isn’t that…beautiful?
I’ve realized that last night when I began this post I was going to keep it short and yet here I am Saturday afternoon still talking about Kaku. Lolcatz.
IT WAS AWESOME!!! Below ビッキー has very generously let me use her photo compilation:
SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! Wow. For realz though. There weren’t enough drums for everyone to play at the same time though, so some students were being all polite, like “no you, please, I’ll wait a while,” and so I’d just be like “I got this folks,” and jump in (in a very friendly, totally-didn’t-push-anyone-aside-because-they-just-weren’t-that-into-it-anyway kind of way).
Here ビッキー and I are “Nihon” (Japan in Japanese, thus she has a picture of a ‘ni/knee’ (日) and I’m holding a 本/hon, which as a stand alone character also means book.
We’re kind of clever. Also we went into town to a farmer’s market last Saturday with some of the 先生s which was funnnn….
And Tamura-先生 (on the right hand side in the picture above) generously taught us how to make ‘egg pancakes’ last night! Lolz. Not actually egg pancakes, but basically a Japanese style omelete…sort of. Anyway- it’s something I can make living off campus next year so I’m pretty pumped. Here’s me praying we survive this cooking adventure:
I’m off to…nap now probably. Always napping. Thanks to our study of blood types this week (as it’s a popular characteristic to share and talk about in Japan), I now know (/remember after contacting mumziedearest) that I’m Type B, i.e. forever tired (lacking endurance was the official description I believe) and a big fan of doing things in my own way/at my own pace (マイペース: ma-ee-peh-su). …Strange how well my blood seems to know me.
And you’ve almost been away for four weeks too! Thinking about your post on our blog’s two year anniversary, I think maybe it sometimes seems as if we’ve returned from the restroom to “find dessert ordered and eaten,” but maybe we’ve actually been eating dessert this whole time. Like a side order of a sweet soup we’ve been enjoying throughout the meal that we didn’t realize was actually dessert. Something I’d misnamed or unconsciously dismissed.
At the cafeteria the Japanese School dines in during the week, sometimes the staff serves sweet soups. I admit I’m not really into them, though I’ll also admit that I haven’t tried any. I’m slowly getting that kind of feeling though, that what I was waiting for was actually already placed on, or sitting around, the table the whole time.
Until next time,
Many thanks and much love always!
Thank you for your post! I am so glad Midd is going well- it’s true: the anticipation to an event is generally SO MUCH more anxiety producing than the thing itself. I haven’t been very nervous about leaving for BC, but I find myself the night before departing, a little edgy… I get this way, at conclusions and beginnings of things- this feeling that everything is untied, that I have so much to do and also nothing at all. My solution is, of course, to bake a pie. Baking things + serial watching P&R = anxiety significantly reduced!
I have to be up at 4: 30 am tomorrow, so I’m going to keep this post short. 3 things:
(1) Mrs. Dalloway. Do you remember reading this in Foster’s class? Because: I don’t think any author has even come close to Woolf’s ability to make you feel the extreme pain and joy- the human up-and-down, that entirety- that can be contained within one precise living moment.
(2) Another poem, because I can never have enough of them. It’s called “The Quiet World”:
In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
It’s so simple, and so pretty. Jeff McDaniels actually taught me poetry at Sarah Lawrence that summer I did their creative writing program, and he read this poem for us.
(3) I love you, and I can’t wait to share with you stories about measuring alpine vegetation and telekinesis with hoary marmots (my parents could not stop laughing about the “hoary” part. Classic parents). Here is my address in BC:
c/o Round River
P.O. Box 91
Atlin, British Columbia VOW 1A0 Canada
And, since you are not supposed to read this, below is this entire post entered into Google Translate Japanese. Lol.
Much peace ❤ drewzz
あなたの記事をありがとう！ミドルセックスがうまくいっているので、メリー午前1時は、それは本当だ。イベントへの期待が、一般的にリヴァイアサン物事そのものを生産するので、ずっと不安である。 1、すぐに出発する前に夜少しエッジの効いた自分自身を見つける1、紀元前に向けて出発については非常に緊張していなかった···1はこの方法で取得し、結論と物事の始まり、彼はほどいすべてがこの気持ち、それは1ですので持っているまた、やるべきことと、全く何も。私の解決策は、もちろん、パイのパン屋に、である。ベーキング物事+ PとR =不安を大幅に削減シリアルましょう。
1は4で、最大でなければならない：30 AM明日なので、私は、短いこのポストを維持するつもりです。 3つの事：
（1）ミセスダロウェイ。あなたはフォスターのクラスでこれを読んで覚えていますか？選出されているため：1これらのイベントのすべてに責任はないと思うが、あなたは、AB上下·痛みと喜びと行の終わりを分割作るウルフの能力に近づく、that’s – その正確なリビング全体の重要性の一つに収容することができるだ。
1 ‘sはそれらを十分に持つことができるため（2）もう一つの詩は、選出された。それは「世界の静かな “と呼ばれています。
THANK YOU for two glorious years of sharing a blog avec moi!! And for your post commemorating our 2 year anniversary!
Dancin’ it out.
ANNNND– thank you for sharing Yehuda Halevi’s poem– it’s apparently never to late to find one’s all-time favorite poem. It’s one I will return to often.
ANNNNNNNNNNND– thank you for your granyolo– that’s write AutoCorrect I didn’t mean just regular granola. It’s DELICIOUS and I LOVE YOU. Thank you.
I just checked out my ‘quotezz’ folder where I compile screenshots of various articles and, well, quotezz, and this one popped out to me:
Lao-Tzu: “If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”
If anything, we’re two years away from living in Seattle together, no? I like this plan very much.
No pics of Midd yet, then again I don’t think any photo/description could justly reflect both how beautiful and green it is here (and the perfect amount of breezy) and how this is LIT.ERALLY amazing me. After our winter in MN, this is just like…ehh? It can look/be/feel like this?! I suppose it’s just been a long winter.
I’m feeling much better as I forgot I normally do after whatever I’m anxiously cursing about actually starts. Funny that in less than 2 years college became something totally in my comfort zone and I completely forgot how to deal with being uncomfortable. Less scared by the program I think I was just scared I was scared. Surprisingly, it’s been a while. Obviously I don’t generally like being scared but I’ve been in that little warm college-y nest for so long I can’t even deal with the prospect of doing something new?
Well, as I said, I’m feeling much better now. I’m in a double and my roommate reminds me of my roommate Emma so I already feel at ease with her– even as if we’ve known each other for a while which is pretty cool. I’ve met another girl named Morgan (who also really wants to find out more about the possible existence of a taiko drumming group within the Japanese school), and a number of other folks. We just took the placement exam this morning and during breaks and lunchtime it has been fun to observe the range of ages and motivations for choosing Japanese amongst the students.
I sign the language pledge tomorrow and while I’ve been taking it lightly as it usually goes– I read the document I’ll need to sign and found it super inspiring!! When I sign things like that I can’t help but feel…committed? Of course I’ll be checking in with you but I hope to discipline myself to be as true to the pledge as possible!
Oooooo– on a completely different note– this was the site I poorly explained the other day! It’s called “Call Me Ishmael.” Ishmael set up a phone number for people to call and share a story about a book they love/why they connected to the book. He posts a video of every message and then based on confidential feedback/voting he also transcribes one message every day.
I love it.
Even if it’s a book I don’t know, or I can’t clearly hear what someone says– just hearing someone’s voice sharing something important to/struck them/stayed with them over the years is pretty cool. Nerdy, huh? Making CONNECTIONS #imafan.
Listening to the videos made me actually get up and try to look around for Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, like…I even wanted to freaking call Ishmael! Alas, I brought it to MN and didn’t bring it back with me. That book came to mind immediately– it was the first book that introduced me to characters who were truly ‘in the grey.’
It felt like so many of the fantasy books I’d read up to that point were set up with the whole good vs. evil premise, maybe some cut the bad guys some slack towards the end with some story about their past or something, but usually that was it. Tigana on the other hand…holy cow. Like HOLY COW. The initial ‘bad’ guy remains the ‘bad’ guy but is it ‘bad’ to love him too? Because I did. Could it be okay to have someone/something be more complex than good or bad? I’d say that it certainly made for a more enjoyable, powerful, and fulfilling experience reading Tigana.
What book(s) would you choose? What would you say if you left a phone message?
Did I say I cried when I read the poem you posted? I think I did. It pulled on my heartstrings. Apologies for the monkey-mind post– I’m everywhere– trying to get out all the English I can ;]
Okay. I’m going to nap. Packing super late is catching up with me.
Hope all is going well as you prepare for your summer adventure on Monday!! Looking forward to your next post.
As always, many many thanks & much much love,
"Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer." - Barbara Kingsolver
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