Learning Never Stops

I’ve learned a few lessons in the past couple of weeks.  I have irritated myself with mistakes.  I have been disappointed by how I react to people or situations.  But in the end I have learned various lessons.  I observe myself during situations, realizing I am acting in specific ways – in ways that I wish I didn’t, but didn’t have the courage to act otherwise.  Afterwards, I looked back, and knew the mistakes I had made.  They were very clear.  I thought about how I would react the next time something similar happens, and I hope that I am able to react in a way that I would be happy with.

Most fears come from how I think people will think about me.  It happens everyday.  How will they look at me when I pick my son up from school?  I have visible tattoos in a society that doesn’t accept them.  What will that person think when I remind them of something they owe me?  Will they think I am a greedy person?  Even if they did, why should I care?  I know in my mind, what is right for me.  What other people think – or more specifically, what I think other people think – about me should really have no bearing on my own life.  BUT, yet it does.  It prevents from being me.  Actually, it is just me that is preventing myself.

Stuff happens in life, but it’s not the stuff that happens, but how we react to it that is most important.  The things that have happened to me in recent weeks are like signals from myself to indicate that I am unhappy with an aspect of myself.  The occurrences are indications that I need to change something, I need to learn something, I have some of deficiency, or some kind of ignorance.  Feelings of pain, anger, irritation, annoyance, bitterness, stubbornness are the feelings of growth.  The old cliche, no pain, no gain is literally true.  Without some kind of death, there is no life.

Every time some challenge occurs, something that I struggle with, something that bugs the hell out of me; these are little deaths.  The death of some kind of innocence, something I did not forsee, something that had to die in order for me to grow.  The thing is, there will always be these kind of deaths, some larger and more destructive than others.  I will learn to keep dying.

Months ago, I told myself that I need to make mistakes in order to learn.  And now, the fruits of my labour are being born.  Mistakes have been made, lessons learned, growth achieved.  These things are part of what makes me an adventurer.  What makes me feel uncomfortable will surely help me grow.  I don’t think I have ever achieved anything useful in a zone of comfort.  And I could point to times of discomfort where I learned the most about myself.

And that’s kind of what it’s all about: learning about myself.  learning what I am capable of.  Yes, it really is a hero’s journey, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.


Pork Cutlet and an Old Town


Those random drives to places I’ve not been yet.

Strolling through a rural, revived Japanese town.  A new book shop and cafe, some tea stores, the feel of a place that should be forgotten, but has somehow been renewed and reconsidered.  Small rivers teeming with fish, tiled roofs, sliding screen doors, cobbled streets, a procession of Porsches, one to nine.

A plate of deep-fried pork cutlet, dripped in miso sauce, surrounded by small dishes: a cabbage salad, miso soup, white rice, devil’s tongue slabs and yuzu sauce, sweet red bean paste of a tofu shape and consistency; watermelon.  Simple.  Delightful. Tasty.  Filling.

The boy slurps noodles, picks at my cutlet, and is fed pumpkin and mushroom tempura.

Later, in a quaint ice cream shop, she eats a crepe with chocolate ice cream, while I have raspberries and rare cheese and vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone.

We buy onions, potatoes, and carrots at a roadside farmers market.  I dodge shoppers. The boy wants to carry the basket.  I resist the urge to argue with him that he’s going to just give it to his mother to carry soon anyways, and why don’t I just carry it for him?

Obviously not going to happen.

I drool at Ducatis and Ninjas, but – aware of the heat and the traffic –  am not so envious. Just a little.  I consider looking at bikes in shops on the way back, but prefer to keep driving.

I walk to the store later.  I get gyoza and lettuce.  I make salad, rice and gyoza.  The boy loves it and offers to share the last one.  I marvel at his ability as a two-year old to consider other peoples feelings.

I appreciate it all.


A Celebration of Forthcoming Vows

An impending union between a blissful couple was the cause for a gathering of friends, family and co-workers this past weekend at a university campus in the city, where the international couple are both working toward graduate degrees.  Vietnamese traditional dance wowed guests, and drew smiles from all.  How-much-do-you-know-your-partner games enlivened the atmosphere and caused many to laugh.  A cute duet between the marital couple-to-be, floating lilies, stunning, coulorful dresses,  and delicious snacks ensured that the heart-warming event was a delightful success.ImageFlowers for the couple

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Best wishes to the couple on the journey ahead!