America, Day 6
Woke up at 4:30, having slept at 10 or so the night before. I sense this is going to be a pattern in the USA for me. But it at least allows me to write my blog so it’s all good.
Nothing much planned for today, which is a change. May decide to take it easy.
Or so I said but after finishing up some work I decided to watch more Gundam Unicorn.
我が愛しい妹と鋼鉄の兄弟の同じ物を見せてくれいないか。。。ガンダム。ウニコーンノの証を！(What my beloved sister and brother of steel both see…won’t you show it to me, Gundam? The sign of the Unicorn!) I asked, and it was given, like so many other things.
What lies beyond the NDS…no mere system or contrivance of human hands, but compassion itself. When Banagher screamed 打てません！(I can’t shoot!) I broke down and cried (which happens a lot these days) As Advanced Wind, the Wild Arms 3 opening says…本当の強さは引き金を引くことではないから。(True strength does not lie in pulling the trigger.)
Which is what I love about Gundam – the constant message that though humanity constantly wars with itself, through kindness and understanding we can surpass even cursed destiny. With giant robots of course.
Still have to do that full writeup on Unicorn. I’ll get to it, I promise!
Went and walked around a bit more. Still have a tendency to get caught up in my thoughts. Have to remind myself that it’s by being in the present moment that I will get to the future. After all, the future hasn’t happened yet.
Isn’t it a beautiful city though?
二十年前の面影はまだ残っている。(The traces of twenty years past still remain.) The sunlight – the warm, golden glow of California – sparks so many memories. I remember my child self steadfastly wearing the same things to school every day, searching the libraries for fantasy novels and reading them everywhere, blind to the greater realities around him. In some ways I was a hikkokomori (shut-in) before my time.
How could my younger self have known what plagued my parents? He couldn’t have. He did the best he could and he took the grizzly back with him even without knowing he did.
Going to stop here before I get too nostalgic. There’s the life to be lived in the now.
Met a Spanish lady who commented that my English was very good…I get that a lot, almost as much as I get comments on my Japanese. Thanked her and I remembered my other past as well, the angry 20-something year old who was dying to let everyone know he came from everywhere EXCEPT Singapore, when mental issues and cultural identity raged through me.
It all doesn’t matter anymore. People are people. In the end, there is only pain, and the means to end that pain, whether with compassion or other means. The sunshine does more than just bring back the past…it opens the way to the future.
Whew, heavy stuff for a morning stroll. That’s what you get from Gundam in the morning.
But I can feel the past dying. Everything that I thought and felt was right at that point in time, but now it has little to no relevance. I shall let myself be prisoner no more to hatred and envy that perhaps was not even mine, but was passed down to me. 日差しとウニコーンを一つになろう、前に導いてくれ。（Let the sunshine and unicorn both become one, and guide me ever onwards.）
I said earlier that you’d get some poetry, so here you are.
If we are to grow
And go forwards, then
We must die to ourselves
To our past reality
Everything that we once desired and held so dear
It’s both easier and harder than it looks
Easier because all we need to do it to just let go
But at the same time harder because we cling it to
Without knowing how much it can hurt us.
Let go, I whisper
I howl and I scream
Only to have my voice rasp emptily
Until my throat is dry and cracked and bleeding.
I look up to see how
it comes back to me
wreathed in beauty
A benediction in sound.
The past may pain us, yes
But it is our choice were we look
And I choose to fix my gaze not upon
The rusted detritus of yesterday, but
A swiftly unfolding future.
Spontaneous poetry, WITHOUT EDITING. I may edit at some point, I may not.
Also, NorCal is colder than I thought. May need to get another sweater or something for the mornings.
More phone trouble later in the day. Went to an AT&T store and they STILL couldn’t fix it. This means that over 10 people in 2 from nationalities ranging from Filipino to Indian to German to Spanish couldn’t get the damn thing working. Because why? Because Xiaomi, that’s why. Argh.
Spent some time walking around the city just because. It looks just like when I was younger.
Tried not to board the feels train but ending up buying an express ticket on it. My past self awakened once more, the young boy/man who loved America and hated Singapore with a passion. I let him just cry out in rage for a while. Heaven knows he had wanted to say so many things 10 years ago which he couldn’t, because his mother was always there with the constant refrain of “but the US is different now”
Boy, don’t I know it! I wasn’t trying to go back so much as I was trying to go forwards. But each time I spoke of it my mother would take about how I was only there for 2 years (2 years and 9 months to be exact) like it was some a mantra or warding charm that would keep George Washington and his hordes of white men away.
Sigh. Such was life back in those days. I took my thoughts out of the past and into the present once more – the trees and highways and blue, blue skies. Little kids out with their families, young people fiddling with their mobiles (they didn’t have THOSE 20 years ago…) and the wide open streets.
The helpful sales assistant at the Verizon shop with the Spanish accent and short, short hair…would this who my Spanish friend, Vidal, would have been like now? The older woman I met on the slopes of Walnut Creek, walking her dog…could that have been his mother? Or aunt?
We can so often be our worst enemies, and get in our own way. This time I just stepped back, out of the mind, and let the sunshine do its work.
As is so often when I’m lost in reverie, lost track of the time and got of semi-lost on the way back. So I was late for dinner…I keep forgetting that these are proper dinners (where the table is set and everything) not the slap-dash affairs that my sis and I have back home. P even went out to find me! Apologized profusely, complete with bowing. My Japanese side comes out pretty strongly in times like these.
Got the recipe for A’s somen salad, which was wonderful. I swear I am being spoiled ROTTEN on this trip by all the good food I’ve been eating. Every meal has been delicious!
P wanted to play some songs that he had written after dinner. They were beautiful songs – simple and brimming with love, kindness and affection. Very 60s. I asked him if he had ever recorded them and he said no…I forget that not everyone wants to be a superstar like yours truly.
I can’t read music (at least not that well) so he had to sing them first and I followed. We had a great time.
It was such a privilege and honor to be taken into the home and confidence of this person, a quiet, gentle man full of concern and love for his friends, his wife and his planet. I’d like to take anyone who speaks about white privilege to meet this guy…he’s proof positive that you can have things but feel keenly the plight of those who do not.
P also told me that he wrote most of his music from the ages of 30 too 50. It got me thinking…I’ve been in mourning for my lost teenage and young adulthood for so long now, in part because of the (probably mistaken) belief that they are supposed to be the “best years of your life.” But what if that just isn’t true? Like a friend’s wife told me recently – everyone’s blossoming period is different. She’s probably right.
If you have old friends, treasure them. Their wealth of experience and broad perspective is truly helpful. They’ve lived longer than you, and those extra years can be a powerful resource indeed. I think back to the days of my youth where I was alternately exhorted, browbeaten and blackmailed into respect for my elders…if I had known these good people then, there wouldn’t have a need to have been any of that.
Turned in for the night, wrote blog post. Ended the day without thinking up a reference. More newness!