Japan, Musing

Still Alive & Still in VT: Part II

こんばんは Drew!

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…

覚和歌子 (Kaku Wakako)’s week-long stay.

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:

Always with Me

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.

In other news, the head of Burlington Taiko came for a workshop last Friday.

IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Below ビッキー has very generously let me use her photo compilation:

<3 <3 <3

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).

Also the Japanese school had a costume party…

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.

My time at Middlebury is almost half way through.

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!



A transition of sorts, Musing, Thoughts



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.

–Jeffrey McDaniels

"The Quiet World"

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。


– ジェフリー·マクダニエル


(3)1木星あなたを、そして1は(私の両親は「使い古さ “の部分については笑いが止まらんでした。クラシック両親を)あなたと使い古さウッドチャックと高山植生やテレキネシスを測定についての物語を共有するために待つことができない。

そして、あなたは牛なしでこれを読むことを想定していないか、この全体のポストは英語をGoogle翻訳に入力されます。 LOL。

college, Memories, Musing, Thoughts

2 years…seriously?!

My dear Mo,

Last night, I was feeling all mushy and nostalgic (as, you know, I do), and started flipping through our old blog posts. In case you were wondering, they are awesome. But that’s beside the point. The point is- I finally got to the last one, and GUESS WHEN IT WAS PUBLISHED? That’s right: June 20th, 2012 — e.g. exactly TWO YEARS ago today.

Two. years. Absurd. Insane. Unreal –  is it real? I LIT.ERALLY feel as if we just started college.

I have no profound words at this profound impasse, besides that this feeling of time rapidly collapsing in on itself has made me quite bewildered and panicked. I can think of no poems or quotes to help me process this, although I’m currently frantically searching the interwebs.

Everyone tells you that time moves more quickly as you get older. But you never realize it until you realize it, right? In high school, freshman and sophomore year stretched out interminably, unending – Hell, each DAY felt endless. Now, our freshman and sophomore years of college have passed and it feels as if I got up to go to the bathroom during appetizers and came back to find dessert already ordered and eaten.

But then, despite their brevity, these past two yeas have been… what’s the right word here? Not tumultuous (although, at times they were). Eventful, perhaps? A lot has happened, and I have – I think we both have – grown immensely.

You ask: in what ways, exactly? Oh, I will tell you – I AM THE MASTER OF SELF REFLECTION. But, such reflection requires more than the allotted fifteen minutes I have before it is no longer June 20th, and this post no longer pertinent.

So, self-reflective post to come. And I love you. And I hope you are settling in at Midd –  I know you were nervous, but GO YOU for doing it and getting there and embracing that initial discomfort. That’s hard, yo! Send me photos and info ASAP before you can only speak Japanese.

🙂 love love love, Drew

P.S. Stellar post on your Seattle adventure… props to Carter on the photos. I could totally see you (us…? just gonna put that out there…) living in Seattle (provided the whole San Fran thing doesn’t work out). That food looks SO yummy.



Musing, poetry

” ‘Tis a Fearful Thing”

Morgan: I hope you like the new header! I felt as if we needed a change. I’m not totally into it-I wish I had photoshop!-but it’ll do, I think. ANYWAYS. Here is a poem I heard quoted in a This American Life Episode. It’s called ” ‘Tis a Fearful Thing.”

‘Tis a fearful thing
to love what death can touch.

A fearful thing
to love, to hope, to dream, to be –

to be,
And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this,

And a holy thing,

a holy thing
to love.

For your life has lived in me,
your laugh once lifted me,
your word was gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

‘Tis a human thing, love,
a holy thing, to love
what death has touched.

–Yehuda Halevi


Long Island Sound, the other night. 

SEE YOU SOON! Much loov, Droo

Musing, T.V. shows, Thoughts

Dear Drew, An Update

It feels like I really have the reins now in the whole ‘making my way through the world’ thing.  (Obviously by ‘the’ reins, I mean- like- a few more inches of it.)

This is exciting.  Drew, I am terrified.

Perhaps I’m terrified because the way I realized I had control was through last-minute, get-your-shit-together-or-at-least-as-much-of-it-as-you-can moments (O.K. hours– sidenote: do people still write ‘ok’ like that?) to make up for not justly taking care of my responsibilities in a more timely manner.

Basically, Drew, I had to do an application for a summer language program and it has been stressful.  Wow.  I know right- really making my way through the world by planning out summer 2014.

Well, to that I would say– HEY NOW (cue appropriate childhood flashback to Hillary Duff), after summer there’s study abroad, then legit applications for summer internships and post-graduation job planning, then two capstone projects on things that interest me and (shoot, do I say it?  Make me a more marketable job applicant?), then pre-graduation jitters and brooding (that means…mono anyone?) then there’s graduation itself (thank goodness I have my wedding dress ready), and then there’s…


What’s next??

Then what’ll I do?!

Quickly! Tell me where the nearest ladder/field of hoops is!

Well, there’s a job or fellowship opportunity (but ugh- don’t those have cray cray applications?), there’s Mumzie’s futon (hopefully that’ll be gone by then though- so that’s up in the air, or rather- scraping some paint off our walls) or graduate school (yes, yes! School foreva!! Frealz- no sarcasm there), or… I don’t know.

And yet, I have this programmed answer to ‘what are you going to do after college?’

It vaguely outlines what type of ‘way’ I think would be nice to have/do/live out, but the more I repeat it, the more terrified I get.

The outline has started to sound more and more like the career path of somebody else, someone who, when I was younger (keep in mind this phrase is almost ok to use because I’m nearly TWENTY! Lolcatz. <– Exhibit A shows why it’s almost ok- [O.K.?!]) I unconcernedly labeled as ‘Adult Morgan,’ when I thought I’d have more time to become her.

But this is the good stuff isn’t it?  The whole ‘making your way’ thing?

I could expand on this point but I’m losing steam, so onward with this elaborate story…

In a moment of revelation this evening I found myself a lil’ bit of inner peace.  I’m going to (try my best to) stop agonizing over what way/path(/whatever you want to call it) needs/should be/look like (really good with words/word choice here, Morgan) and put all my energy into the ‘making’ part.  I don’t have to have and keep to a set, step-by-step plan, I just have to set myself towards getting better at the making of one.  BOOM.

GO VERBS!  Don’t you just love action verbs in particular, Drew?  Don’t you feel the difference between ‘be happy’ and ‘get happy?’  Sometimes I just need to focus on a few action verbs to get me to those seemingly passive ones.

Yup.  You can tell it’s 1:55AM in the morning can’t you?  Well, I suppose I should hit the hay.  Drew, I hope all is well and that you and the family are enjoying joyous New Year’s festivities!

Thanks for being an important part of my year; here’s to 2014!  May this year bring much love, and may we bring much love and laughter to this year.

Happy New Year.

Much love,


P.S. In other news:


❤ Matthew Rhys & Anna Maxwell Martin ❤

WHAT?!  Is that Mr. & Mrs. Darcy?!  Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus…opened again?!


Truth be told, I’ve already watched all three episodes.  I was very touchy about it at first– I had just finished my biannual viewing of 2005’s Pride and Prejudice (a tear-jerker for me during that last scene at Longbourn as always), when I googled a vague combination of words to research Matthew Macfadyen and his casting process only to find reviews on BBC One’s Christmas Special based on P.D. James’ book!  (I spared you the trailer- I’d just hop right in!)  Anywhos- I loved it.  Let me know what you think.


Oh hello…And a Happy New Year to you!




So, I understand this is quite embarrassing. Like, am I going to become one of those people who uploads shitty videos of themselves singing on youtube and their blog? Have no fear: I understand the sheer mediocrity of this lil’ performance. ALAS, I wanted to share something with you and post on our blog and I was too damn lazy to write things (except that I guess I’m writing now?) and I had to upload it to youtube to upload it on the blog but I’m hoping no one else ever discovers it but you (which is probably going to be the case because not everyone stalks people obsessively through google searches and so finds these sort of embarrassing things).

ANYWAYS. Enough chatter. I’m breaking the four/five months hiatus of our blog? with this video. HOPE SCHOOL IS AWESOME CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN LIKE THREE WEEKS.

Much love, your frand,

P.S. tried to embed the video here but I can’t do technology…so I just posted the link. Hopefully it works. I had to upgrade to google chrome to see it which I guess everyone has already done but I was still using safari…#embarrassing #luddite4ever.

P.S.S. love the holidays…my bro and sam sam.


Musing, poetry, Thoughts, Travels

The curious incident of the deer in the nighttime


Tomorrow–or rather, today–I am leaving for Greece. I’m excited, if only because it’s a new place that I can’t fathom in the slightest. I haven’t even googled Syros, the island we’re staying at, because I like that I have no image of it in my mind… Sometimes, I think travel might have been more thrilling before planes and the onset of so much technology. Sure, it took forever to get to a place. I think two days is a long time to travel to Greece, but it’s nothing compared to months on a boat, eh? Still, all that anticipation, all that mystery… must have been true adventure.

For the most part, I spent today gathering my things together. Nothing too exciting; the Fourth of July passed somewhat unnoticed in my world this year. I felt a little sad about that, but it was nice talking to you on the phone, and knowing you too were enjoying a quiet evening in your room… Sometimes, perhaps, we need that uneventfulness. I felt I did, at least.

-4Yeah, that’s right, I’m bringing my uke

Not that my day was entirely uneventful, though. You know, as I mentioned, the coffee stain and the deer (the latter being the more unnerving experience, of course).

I’d driven downtown around 8 pm for a run, because its around that time that the air cools and the humidity eases. It was very calm; not many people were about, but there were folks eating dinner outside of restaurants, and here and there I’d see another person strolling on the sidewalk. As it got darker, the fireflies came out, and driving back up Maher, it seemed the whole street was a-glow with these flashes of yellow, and everything was still and empty except for those sporadic flashes. That feeling of stillness clung to me as I drove home, slowly, a Shins album playing–so when that doe sprang from the woods, its head smashing against the front, right side of my car, I almost thought I imagined it. The only thing that felt real was the sound, this eerie thump. I think I saw its tan head snap, an antler crack and fling…but it happened so quickly, I likely did imagine that part. And then my car kept going. My headlights moved on, illuminating the gray asphalt and the evergreen trees in front of me, and that was that. I was alone; there was no one else on the road; no one had seen it happen. When I pulled into my driveway, I inspected the front of my car. Some plastic pieces around the front right tire and light were missing, but that was it–that was the only evidence that it had happened, besides the deer of course, which, in all likelihood, I’d killed. I thought about stopping after I hit it to see if it was indeed dead, but I thought I better not, because it was dark and no one was around and if my car failed to start again for some reason, I’d be completely stranded. So I kept going. But that doe probably didn’t die easily, with a blow to the head like that. It probably stumbled, fell to the side of the road, head smashed, suffered.

It’s the most rattling and peculiar feeling, the feeling of taking another creature’s life. This feeling was worse because I had taken its–the doe’s–life for nothing. I killed chickens last summer, but their deaths had a clear purpose, worth, dignity–and this was so utterly the opposite. That said, to be fair to myself, I couldn’t have avoided her with any driving finesse. She didn’t actually jump in front of me. If she had, I could have braked; instead, she met directly with the side of my car as she leaped from the trees, making it impossible for me to change my course… And yet, it was still my fault entirely, because I was doing the unnatural thing. Driving my car. She was bounding forth, doing what she was supposed to do, what deers do, you know? I was the one not playing my the rules.

And all of it made me think of this poem called “Traveling Through the Dark,” by William Stafford.

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.
My fingers touching her side brought me the reason—
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.
The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.
I thought hard for us all—my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.
Pretty, huh? Pretty and sad. Every time I read it I wonder about those last two lines. The thinking hard for us all, the swerving. It’s still a mystery to me. But in any case, I like the poem, if only because I can see it so clearly, the engine purring and the red exhaust and that hesitation.
And with that, sleep! If I can figure out the correct number of stamps, I’ll  send you a postcard from Greece.
Much love,
P.S. Thoughts? I think I’m in love with decoupage. And postcards. And journals. And this nifty app on my phone which lets me add captions. And your video (so beautiful). And YOU!
P.S.S. I’m excited for you to read Norwegian Wood. Tell me how you like it; I hope you find it as stunning as I did. I’m reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History now–also brilliant, also a college-age narrator. It’s different, I figure, reading a book in which the narrator is in roughly the same position/station in life as you currently are…its unique to you (like being a freshman in high school and reading A Catcher in the Rye, you know?)