A Look Ahead

Happy 2019, everyone! Sorry for the delay in posting this. The holidays tend to interfere mightily with my writing plans. And then I decided to clean my apartment.

On the book front, I started reading In Search of Lost Time last year (the original Moncrieff translation, without any additional editors, since it was cheap, it’s a classic translation, and if I like it, I can buy a more updated version, based on the corrected text, that’s annotated, provided the editor finishes editing all the volumes and doesn’t die before finishing the last book, like Proust and Moncrieff both did).

Professionally, I continue to work on my novel and also found some other writing projects to keep me busy, provided I actually sit down and work on them. It’s too easy to forego writing and start doing some other activity, only to find myself googling random-ass stuff on my phone, or reading someone else’s drama on reddit, instead of working. I also need to kick-start my voice acting career. I even purchases a shiny new domain name and website last year:


Socially, I need to hang out with my friends more and keep in contact with them better through long-form writing (or phone calling) for the ones who live far away. I would also like to take more vacations, even if it’s only a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Still, I’m excited by what the coming months will bring. Here’s to a great new year!

On Reaching 35

Two days ago, I turned 35. One day ago, I finished reading Mozart: A Life in Letters.  Comparisons to Mozart are bound to end in disappointment, since he accomplished so much in his short life — more in 35 years than most people do in 80, and more brilliantly.  Yet, just as I thought of Jeanne d’Arc when I turned 17 (when she began her crusade against the British), 19 (when she was burned at the stake), and again at 20 (when I reached an age she never reached), I can’t help thinking of Mozart at 35.  Had he lived two months more, I would be thinking of him at 36, but 35 is also when people reach their creative peak.  I don’t know where I read this, and perhaps it’s complete nonsense, but Mozart and creativity go together, since he is the most protean of composers, and perhaps of all artists.  What he did would be akin to a visual artist becoming unsurpassed in painting, sculpture, and architecture; or a writer mastering poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and plays.

I find it interesting to read what I wrote when I turned 30.  Unlike then, I am out of my parents’ house; like then, I am still not published (minus my poetry book).  But I am closer to being published.  Much closer.  I visited my brother and sister-in-law last week and found new resolve in making the publication of my novel my top priority.  Even with SIFF coming up, and all the posts I will be writing about the festival, the novel will be finished this year.  With luck, the search for publishers will also begin in 2014.

Since I already looked back at my accomplishments at 30, I don’t feel I need to at 35.  Instead, I am trying to live more in the moment, while still attempting to peek around the corner and see what my future looks like.  To help with that, I have started meditating once a day.  Only on a few occasions have I not been able to keep up this practice, and whether from this or from signs of spring that are appearing in Seattle — like sun — I am hopeful.  I feel that my thirties will only get better, and that my future struggles will be not be the past struggles of survival, but of thrift.

And, if I live what’s considered a normal lifespan, I have more than half my life to still look forward to — unlike Mozart, who had less than a year.

Resolutions for the New Year

Though a bit late, I thought I would share some of my New Year’s resolutions with you:

1. Allow myself to make mistakes.  Too often, in jobs and elsewhere, people are penalized for making mistakes, but mistakes are how we learn.  When we fear to make mistakes, we stop improving.  Therefore, I hope to make many mistakes this year.

2. Allow myself to fail, so long as the failure isn’t permanent.  Life isn’t going to always be successful, and — like making mistakes — failure means that you’re trying new things.  So, this year, I hope to fail in at least a few things, because I know that only by failing will I come closer to success.

3. Do what scares me.  What lies beyond the fear is worth a small moment of panic.

4. Spend more time learning foreign languages.  If I had spent these five years away from Japan in studying Japanese at the level that I studied it when in Tokyo, I would be fluent or very close to fluent in that language by now.

5. Slow down and take more pleasure in the moment.  Too often I’m running around like a maniac, and I don’t enjoy life’s simple pleasures.  I eat without tasting, hear without listening, and read without contemplating.  That needs to stop.

6. Explore more of the neighborhood when I have the opportunity, and spend less time in my room.  Now that I have a laptop, I can’t even use the Internet or my novel as an excuse not to go outside all day.

7. Read more books and watch less movies.  This one will be one of the toughest ones to keep, especially since so many good films are still in theaters, but necessary if I want to read more books.

8.  Write more.  This includes diary entries, blog entries, poems, short stories, and my novel.  I should be able to work on more than one project at a time, and since my novel is in its revision stage, I need to continue to create new works while I’m tweaking the old, in order to keep my creative juices running strong.

9. Look at people’s faces more.  Whether I’m walking down the street or talking to people, looking at faces will remind me that I am connected to the people here, whereas stealing a glance at their form as they pass only severs any connection I have to the community which surrounds me.

10. Be true to myself.  None of us can be completely true to ourselves and function in this world, but the compromises should be ones of degree, not of kind.  In my case, this is a particular issue when being true to myself exposes me to danger, and to the wrath of society.

But in order to do that, I must also carry out the following resolution….

11.  Spend more time reflecting on what kind of person I was, what kind of person I am, and what kind of person I want to be.  I must ask for the best in myself while forgiving the worst in others.  And, while I’m at it, I might as well forgive the worst in me, too.

Happy 2013, everyone!