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Post Reply if u wan any info bout shige
Posted 1/28/08
if u wan any info bout shige....please feel free 2 ask........we will PM u......or put it on this group profile........
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Posted 1/29/08
could you please send me a copy of an easy he wrote in myojo that everyone is talking bout on some forums.. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! i'm reeeeaaally curious!!! translated please; cnt undrstand jap..

gomen ne, for being so demanding!!! but i will really appreciate it!!
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Posted 2/4/08

sawmm wrote:

could you please send me a copy of an easy he wrote in myojo that everyone is talking bout on some forums.. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! i'm reeeeaaally curious!!! translated please; cnt undrstand jap..

gomen ne, for being so demanding!!! but i will really appreciate it!!


I think this is what u are looking for....it's a couple of parts but here
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#1: Myojo 2006-07 - Door

My hometown is a typical town in the suburbs, the nearest train station has the kanji "yama" in it [Note: very common in Japanese place names] and there's nothing spectacular about it. Considering this, it has quite an amount of modern beauty and hair salons with a great atmosphere. Therefore one expects to see a lot of stylish, beautiful people, but the town disappoints a bit in that regard. If you come out from the ticket gate [of the train station], there expands a street that has a fruit in its name to your left, and among the many hair salons facing towards it, there is one hair salon with a specially fashionable glass window. Years ago I spotted the following words there.

"The customer is god!"

I was getting home late on that day, and by chance I noticed the words written in giant characters on a white board squarely in the middle of the shop, among the many closed hair salons. The person who had written those chaotic characters overflowing with personality was an old guy with white hair and a white mustache who looked like the owner of the shop. He was wearing a white shirt with an open collar on top of a pair of jeans, and he made the impression of being something a bit like a bad guy. And this person who made you feel as if time had stopped in the Showa era [1925-1989] appeared in the hair salon. In front of a lot of other stylists he didn't get angry, he didn't argue, he just continued to say something very passionately. He didn't look as if he wanted to add any more characters to the white board. For me, he looked comical. Hey, what's that supposed to mean, a white board in a hair salon? Don't normally use the younger stylists the shop after closing to practice their craft or to clean up? And firstly, everyone knows that old saying by now, there's no need to write it down now. Didn't you confuse 神様 and 髪さま? [Note: This is a pun in Japanese, since both words are pronounced "kami-sama". The first means "god", but the second means something like "hair-sama". Smile]

I can't forget the characters, written ramrod-straight, even today. Surely that shop owner has lived by the motto that the customer is god until it was engraved in his innermost soul. Inspite of that, I think he noticed that he was in danger of forgetting it and once more engraved those words with a needle. But still, I couldn't approve of the shop owner making the staff stay until late in the night to lecture them. From the moment I returned home, I kept remembering this scene, and everytime I did, something knocked on a door inside my head. But without understanding just what existed behind that door, I became a university student.

I wanted to tell someone about this. But I didn't. Even if I told that story very seriously, it would end up being made fun of, so I somehow wanted to delve into this on my own. And recently I have finally gotten the feeling that I can hear the voice of whatever lies behind that door.

Recently, there's a kind of spiritual thinking occuring in Japan. I found myself strangely agreeing to the statement "Coincidence doesn't exist" that were said during a TV program about the world of the psyche. Everything is connected by cause, there's a meaning. Even if that might not be the case, it's more positive to think like this, and every common scenery, talk and meeting appears crystal clear. Maybe those words on the white board hadn't been there for the stylists in front of it, maybe they had been a message for me to see who had dismissed the words as obvious. Maybe that something which had knocked on my door had wanted to tell me "There are no coincidences in this world"...

A friend of mine who was in the same class had to repeat a year, so he couldn't attend our graduation ceremony, he didn't have a single friend in his new class, he was dumped by the girl he loved or confessed to by girls he didn't love, but maybe this will all make sense in the distant future.

As will the fact that you have read this essay of mine.
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Posted 2/4/08
thanks for sharing!!!
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#2: Myojo 2006-08 - Flow

"Un."
When my parents asked me in kindergarten whether I wanted to learn piano, that was how I replied. Because I wanted to become able to play the J-Pop that was popular at that time. But I was made to practice only classics which I wasn't interested in, so I ended up losing interest in the piano almost immediately. Practice became more and more tiring, and once I even fell asleep right in the middle of a lesson, when I woke up the teacher had already gone home. We moved two times, I changed the teacher three times, but still I didn't practice. Probably because I was a brat, and felt the difference in music even though I was so cheeky.When I was in sixth grade of primary school, I used the middle school entrance exams as an excuse to stop with the piano lessons, being able to barely play "Neko funjatta" [Der Flohwalzer] after eight years of piano lessons.

"Un."
When I was in first class of primary school, I told my parents, "I don't want to lose in gaki taishô!" [a children's game], and when they suggested "How about learning Shaolin kungfu?", that's how I answered. But I was a weak kid in body and mind, afraid of the teacher who taught by yelling at everyone very loudly so much that I didn't even dare say when I needed to go to the toilet, holding it in instead. We moved again and I was relieved I didn't have to go to that dôjô again, but I followed the words of my parents who said "You want to take up Shaolin kungfu again, don't you." and started going to a dôjô at our new place. Maybe it was because of the homely feel of the dôjô that suited me, but I went to preliminary matches and advanced to the green belt faster than anyone else. I felt that this was something worth doing. But we moved again, and there wasn't any dôjô near our new place, so I had to go to the neighbour town. Without the strong will to continue I ended up quitting Shaolin kungfu.

"Un."
When I was in fifth class of primary school, my best friend living next door decided to go to cram school for the middle school exam, and when my parents asked me "Shige, do you also want to try the exam for middle school?", that's how I replied. I didn't think anything about it and just started going to the cram school, but someday my friend gave up. Still, I continued going to the school, about which people said it was too strict. I had experienced frustration with piano and kungfu, but studying wasn't hard for me. And so I was able to pass the examination for the middle school I had hoped for. I realize now keenly that about 80% of my academic knowledge was fostered during that time.

"Un."
When I was in fourth grade of primary school, my parents asked me "Want to try and send your resume to Johnny's Jimusho?", and that's how I answered. When I told my friends in class that I had send my resume, I was made fun of, and I myself didn't expect a reply from the Jimusho at all. But two years later, when I came home from school, I was told by my mother that Johnny's Jimusho had called and invited me to an audition on the next day. I passed the audition and without a clue what was going on I had a photo shoot for a magazine and appeared in a variety program and dorama. And now, seven years later, I'm here writing this essay.

Ishihara Shintarô published a book before he became mayor of Tokyo called "The Japan that can say NO", but now that I think of it, as a kid I never went against the opinion of my parents. I was weak-willed and just went with the flow, still, a part of me thinks that living like that isn't that bad, because it's thanks to my parents that I am who I am. By learning the piano I could read music sheets, by learning Shaolin kungfu I remembered just a tiny bit of samurai spirit, thanks to going to the cram school I didn't have to go through the examination hell, and thanks to entering Johnny's I was able to fulfill the dream of debuting with a CD. That's why I think that it's important to, with about the same amount of courage you need for disagreeing and saying "NO!", be flexible and when you're lost just scream "YES!"

But well, I still don't want you to nod and say "Un." when your mom tells you right now "Don't read such an essay, do your homework!"
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#3: Myojo 2006-09 - Thanks

There is something that Nishikido-kun often tells me. For example, when Nishikido-kun is standing next to me and I accidently drop my wallet and he picks it up for me. At that time off the top of my head I say, "Ah, sorry!" If I do, Nishikido-kun will frown at me and say, "It's not 'sorry', it's 'thank you'!" I didn't realize until he pointed it out to me, but looking back on my life I really have the feeling that I apologized more often than I gave thanks. This is not because I did so many bad things, I just use "sorry" instead of "thank you". I guess if I worked at a company, I'd tell the invisible person at the other end of the phone line "Sorry!" too, while bowing again and again when I should really be saying "thank you". It would sound good if I said that I'm just humble, but that's not true. In my case, I have just always used "sorry" as a reaction.

If someone steps back to let you pass, what will you say in return? I think almost everyone will say "Excuse me!" Apparently, Americans will in that case always say "Thank you!" The impression the other person gets when he is told "Excuse me!" or "Thank you!" in that situation is very different. Everyone will rather feel better being thanked than apologized to. I who always says "Sorry!" no matter what the situation wonder how it would be if I said "Thank you!" instead...

If I think about it like this, I become acutely aware that I am probably a typical Japanese. And still, when I did something for somebody and they said "Sorry!" instead of "Thanks!", I felt myself getting slightly irritated. It isn't as if "Sorry!" was a bad thing to say. If someone bumped into me and said "Thanks!", I'd get pissed off and would want to really bump into them. But if they say "Excuse me!", I can honestly think "I'm sorry too, I should have paid attention." If you use the right words in the right situation with the right partner, the flow of such patterns becomes very smooth.

Returning to the topic at the beginning, what about the standpoints of Nishikido-kun and me. Nishikido-kun is a senpai for me, and it might be cold and formal, but he is someone that I always end up wanting to say "Excuse me!" to, especially in a situation where I want to give thanks. To Koyama, Tegoshi or Massu, even if the world turned upside down, I wouldn't say "Excuse me!", I wouldn't even want to say it. It would feel bad, as if I had lost. Because they are people that I shouldn't say "Excuse me!" to, but "Thanks!"

"Excuse me!" is a very useful expression. You can of course use it for an apology, but also if you extend your gratitude. That's why you choose in an instant whether to say "Excuse me!" or "Thanks!" depending on the person in front of you. But if that person feels you want to distance yourself or you don't like them, your feeling of gratitude won't come across, everything becomes ruined.

I'm going to say "Excuse me!" when I apologize. But when I'm grateful, I'm going to say "Thanks!". Nishikido-kun made me realize the importance of saying "Thanks", not relying on "Sorry!", for myself and also for the person I talk to.

To Nishikido-kun. I might still end up using "Sorry!" sometimes. Sorry for that.
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#4 Myojo 2006-10 - Identity

There's a closet in my room which holds everything I am up to now. Clothes I recently bought and like a lot, clothes I have since way back that are almost worn to shreds, clothes I have worn just a couple of times because I got fed up with them, I love clothes so much that I have bought quite a lot so far. And among those clothes in that closet is one veteran who has always won the battle among the western style clothing.

There's this one face that makes me happy by even looking at it. It has been victorious in the western clothing battle for a long time now, and I bought it when I went shopping together with Massu at the time I appeared in "3nen Bgumi Kinpachi-sensei" [Note: 2001-2002, Shige was 14]. It's a rock-style pair of jeans with paint on it. From when I was in second class of middle school, I continued to wear it regularly, and whenever I met Massu while wearing it, it was a sort of habit between us that he would always point at it and say "You're wearing it again!" It's a pair of pants that I just keep on loving even as my taste in clothes changes.

But it's not only that kind of clothes. There are also my silver shoes that I had finally gotten after having wanted them at any cost. The first time I was wearing them, I met a friend by coincidence and he made fun of me, saying "Wow, that's some shoes." I couldn't bear it and stowed them in the very back of the store room.

When I think back on it, the first time I developped an interest in clothes was in the first class of middle school [Note: Shige was 12]. When the Jimusho senpai were into a special brand featuring an ape, together with the senpai I admired I came to admire the brand [Note: "A bathing ape", there are paparazzi pics showing Koyama and Kusano wearing shirts of that brand too]. And so the boy who absolutely wasn't materialistic came to like dressing himself up bit by bit. My taste changed from street clothing to more adult clothes, and now I'm a fan of certain designers and wear a lot of punk style clothes. I came to choose my clothes being influenced by someone else.

But when I entered university, the way I thought about my clothes began to change. There's a good friend I have since middle school who has been into stylish clothes for a long time, and when we talked about what made a cool guy, we would frequently use the expression "someone with a sense of self". To have a sense of self. In other words, to wear clothes that one wants to wear, to express one's personality to other people, "this is me". Even though my close friend likes a completely different style of clothes, whenever we met a person like that we both felt "This is someone who has a sense of self!"

I got more opportunity to look at the private clothes of others at uni [Note: as opposed to middle and high school when you have to wear a school uniform] and started to want to be someone like that too, someone with a sense of self. It doesn't matter if it suits me or not. I thought I'm going to wear the clothes I want to wear. That is my individuality. Even so, it's not just wearing clothes that are different from anyone else's. Among many individualistic styles, the majority of what people are wearing becomes what is called fashion. Even if the clothes you pick are sometimes a part of that fashion, if you wear them not because you imitate someone, but because you want to, there exists individuality. People who aren't into clothes have individuality in their not dressing up. If different people wear the same clothes, they still look different depending on the person. Fashion is how people express their own ways of thinking in their outward appearance, and no one has the right to denounce them.

Some time ago I took out the silver shoes from the back of the store room. There was "me" in them, after all. Those shoes that I had given up on wearing after losing against the opinion of people around me, I think I'm going to try wearing them again. Because not wearing them is the same as denying myself to be me.

Someone said the following.
"With shoes, wear good ones. Because they are going to lead you to happy places."

The silver shoes lead me to the happiness that is my own individuality. I will become a man who will be able to wear strange shoes as if they weren't strange at all.

Shige's silver shoes:
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#5: Myojo 2006-11 - Interest

I have not even once since middle school cram school invested energy in the tests that accompany passing from middle to high school and then to university. Even though I usually didn't pay attention in class, one week before a test I would suddenly start cramming like mad, not sleeping more than two hours a night. This attitude towards tests has already become normal for me. My friends in class who knew this established habit of mine before a test would always tell me, "Wow, you're really serious!" or "Do you like studying?". And those friends who said this to me were usually the ones who barely managed not to get red numbers [Note: you need 100 points for passing, if you're below 25, I think, you're in the red numbers which means you are in danger of not passing]. I totally hated when they said that to me. Words like "You're really serious!" are supposed to be words of praise, but when they said them to me, they meant them obviously ironically. When they said "Do you like studying?", they looked at me as if someone who liked studying was not even human. Why do people make fun of someone who studies earnestly? And why say this to me on top of that, who rather than liking to study, did so grudgingly, thinking "You won't need the knowledge gained in school in your life anyway, studying is just a waste of time."

In middle school it was a lot of pressure to juggle both school and my job, and I did my best not to make any compromises for either. In high school when the time arrived to enter university, I planned on working harder than anyone else to get favorable, good results. And I worried about what faculty to enter at university. Looking back once more at my middle and high school life, having done well so far in my studies, I realized one reason for that.

"I don't like studying. I like learning about things."

Studying tends to be something you are forced to do, whereas learning about things you like is something you do of your own free will, thus putting in an effort. Everyone has subjects they like and subjects they hate. In the subjects you like you have good grades, while your grades in the subjects you hate are bad - that's because you're more willing to learn about the subjects you like, I think. This is not only the case with school, with the interest in music and theater it's the same. You pick up the things you have an interest in almost in an instant, they come to you very easily. For me who is full of curiosity, if it's for the things that interest me like for example music or fashion, I do a lot to gain knowledge about even seemingly unimportant things. I read magazines, I talk to other people, I have an interest to learn. There are a lot of moments at the dorama location I'm at right now when I feel that it's because I've come to learn a lot this way that I'm able to talk about various topics with the other cast members. This is something I can tell everyone, the more knowledge you've gathered, the more there is you can talk about with other people, thus gaining new knowledge.

If you think of it like this, my friends who said these things to me may have let their chance to learn something slip. What a waste, what a loss. Because they are my friends and precious to me, I'd like them to confront themselves more, they will surely find that there is something that interests them and that it is worth learning about.

When I was in primary school, I used to think for the longest time, "Why do schools have to exist! Stupid Fukuzawa Ronkichi!!" (Fukuzawa Ronkichi is the author of "Gakkou no susume".) But at the time he lived, only a part of the rich people could afford going to school. After these times education has become compulsory, and because "compulsory" sounds like "being forced", we feel uncomfortable at the word. Now being able to study is something normal, but the people living in these times felt the joy of studying, even if they couldn't go to school, they probably were just happy if they could learn something. It's cheeky of me to say this since I never paid attention in class, but I want those people who hate school to not just go to class with these feelings of dislike, I'd like them to search for the joy in learning. Because then there might come the day when they think "School isn't that bad after all."
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#6: Myojo 2006-12 Lefty

Normally I think quite negatively and don't have much confidence in myself, but there is one unique thing that I can be proud of in front of other people. That's the fact that I'm left-handed.

In this society where a lot of people are pressured into being right-handed, the rare people who are still left-handed are thought of as being interesting. There are several right-handed people who notice that I'm left-handed when I write, eat or do sports and who envy me, saying, "Ah, I wish I was born left-handed too!" At these times, I can feel a bit superior. Of course, I myself feel that it's great to have been born left-handed and not have it corrected to being right-handed. In earlier times, being left-handed was made out to be a bad omen, and my grandfather on my mother's side hated seeing me use my left hand. When I was little, I was often told, "Get it corrected!" Even though my parents did try to make me use my right hand more, I stuck to being left-handed. It was worth doing that, if only because that way I could become someone left-handed who was envied by other people.

Most probably the image that the world generally has of left-handed people is that they possess the aura of a genius. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso and Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, the band I love, were all left-handed. Even though that might be enough evidence for the theory that all left-handed people are geniuses, those are just a select few, so that seems suspiciously simplistic even from my perspective as left-handed person. Consequently, the merit of being left-handed is, to be honest, just that you are being thought of as genius, there isn't much else. It's rather the demerits of which there are many.

First, I can't use scissors. It's not as if I couldn't use them at all, but when I try to cut things with scissors using my left hand, I'm forced to give up. That's why I have to ask someone when I need to cut something. And the hardest thing is that there are not many people who know about this handicap for left-handed people, so everytime, everytime I have to give the same explanation over and over again. This is something that really gets on my nerves.

Next, the ticket gate is on the opposite side. Right-handed people might not notice this, but the place where you insert your ticket into the ticket gate is always on the right side. Being left-handed like I am, when I want to pass the ticket gate, I'm always caught in the dilemma whether to put the ticket into my right hand or whether to twist my body so that I can insert it with my left. Mostly I insert it with my right hand, but it doesn't go in the way it is supposed to, and the gate goes pinpon, pinpon (<-- sound of the ticket gate when it closes). Just for this, the Suica card comes to the rescue of left-handed people, because you can use it instead of a ticket and it gets scanned as you pass the gate.

There are lots and lots of other disadvantages, but the one time that I really regretted having been born left-handed, was when I read that on average, the life span of left-handed people is seven years shorter than that of right-handed people. Apparently, it is because of the stresses of everyday life that left-handed people feel in this society of right-handed people that shortens their life span. How about that. I don't know how this is in terms of compensation, but compared to their right-handed counterparts, left-handed college graduate students on average have a 26% higher salary. Money is not everything in life, but it's better to have it than not to have it, as it helps you out in various ways, and it gets you fulfillment. So, to live a long right-handed life, or to know genius as someone left-handed (though I really don't know if that's true) and expect to live a short, but fulfilled life. Well, I couldn't decide which option is better, but I wish this society which caters mostly to the right-handed people would try to make things a little bit easier for the left-handed people too.

The author's left hand

[Next is the small text under the picture which I included because I love KoyaShigeTego's Hawaii vacation reports. ^_^]
Katô-sensei who had summer vacation a bit late and went to Hawaii together with Koyama and Tegoshi. "Iya, it was really great! I didn't want to go home at all. But I was stung by a jellyfish in the sea, and when the right side of my upper body started trembling, I thought I would die..."
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#7: Myojo 2007-01 - Wave

In Mid-September, I went to Hawaii together with Koyama and Tegoshi, just the three of us. It was the first time that I went to Hawaii privately, though I had been there before around five times related to my job. But no matter how often I go there, this refreshing feeling when you step out of the airport is always new.

At first we wanted to stay for three nights, five days, but there was an emergency with our plane back which didn't arrive from Japan, so in the end we had to stay for four nights, six days. With happenings like that it was quite a chaotic vacation. But it was also a fulfilling vacation I wouldn't want to miss. In Hawaii, wherever you go you see Japanese people, and in most places they understand Japanese, so it half feels as if you were in Japan. But it has its own unique culture, and I realized once more what a wonderful place it is.

On the third day after we had arrived in Hawaii, the three of us finally came to experience scuba diving. Because of a meteorological low the sea was muddy and you couldn't look very far. But despite that, there was no measure for our excitement when we met a large swarm of fish deep in the sea, and all of us promised ourselves we would take our licences next time we came to Hawaii. 70% of the earth is water, and no matter how much we research, we will never know about all of it. It may be because of this that people feel entranced by the sea's mysteries.

Our instructor at that time, Kôji-san (we had met him there), looked as if he was in his twenties, but in reality he was 38! And it wasn't just his outward appearance which made him seem so young, it was in his mannerisms too. He talked about lots of different things with us. Kôji-san also loved surfing, so when he learned that we had no experience in that area, he talked passionately about surfing.

"You know, in Hawaii there is a rule that you must enter a single wave alone. Well, but in Waikiki it's different. So when a person meets a wave, he must give thanks for this encounter and feel duty-bound to ride this wave until the moment it disappears. He has to treasure it. Because Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing."

As he said this, Kôji-san's face was bathed in the light of the sun and it truly sparkled. And when he had ended his speech, you could almost feel this emotion in his expression, that said "This is why I love Hawaii."

There will never be the same wave twice. The now that comes along together with the wave, these moments will never come again. Be it for better or for worse, we can only follow them in our memories. That is why I want to live in the now in a way that I won't regret things. In other words, as if everything was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. These words belong to my favourite saying, but for me they also express Hawaii perfectly. This time, it was a coincidence that we visited Hawaii, and it was coincidence which led us to Kôji-san. And it was this Kôji-san which gave us such a good advice, to "live your life to the fullest", something that I always feel in my heart too. I couldn't help but feel that this encounter with Kôji-san was an inevitable coincidence, something that was born as a chance of a lifetime.

It's up to each person how to take things in life. But if you just live each day without thinking anything, there is no sense in having been born as a human! That is what I think. It's not much if you dispose of it with "But hey, it's just a wave.", but Kôji-san and the surfers of Hawaii who attach so much thought to a single wave looked very cool to me. Like the surfers who don't waste a single moment and ride the wave until its very end, I want to live in bright and shining days.

[Small text under the essay]
"Lately, I'm meeting Koyama at least once in two days. The day before yesterday, we went to eat Miyazaki specialities...." Ringringringringring. At that time, Katô-sensei's phone started ringing. "Hello, Koyama? Yeah, I'm finished with the photo shoot, we can go!" (Call over.) "Truth is, I'm meeting Koyama today too♪" Ever since coming back from Hawaii, Katô-sensei's bond with Koyama has become even deeper.
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#8: Myojo 2007-02 - Start

It was always like this.
In kindergarten, I watched my friend who could do forward upward circling on the horizontal bar faster than anyone else and thought I could absolutely do it too. Even when I stepped up and gripped the horizontal bar, I thought, "I don't feel like I can't do it!!" But when I tried to do forward upward circling, I realized at the moment I kicked the earth. "I can't do it..." why? Why can't I do it?

It was always like this.
In primary school, when I had entered cram school and directly before my first test, I had the confidence that I could get 100 points. I thought there was absolutely no reason for me to go wrong. When the bell rang and I gripped my pen, I thought, "I don't feel like I can't do this!!" But when I started reading the test questions, I realized it. "I don't get it..." why? Why don't I understand this?

It was always like this.
When I had entered Johnny's Jimusho and for the first time watched the senpai dance, I thought, "Cool! I also want to do this, I can do it too!" At the time the music started playing, I thought, "I don't feel like I can't do this!!" But I realized the moment I watched myself dancing in the mirror. "I can't do it..." why? Why can't I do it?

It was always like this.
At the first time I had my picture taken, at my first recording, at my first acting experience. It didn't happen even once that I could do something as well as I had thought I could. No, it hasn't happened even once until now.

At first, I always get the feeling that something isn't that hard to do. But then my confidence which has no real basis crumbles and I start hating myself more and more. People might think, "Isn't that normal?" They might say that there isn't anyone who can do something well right from the beginning. Maybe my friend whom I looked up to because he could do the forward upward circling and also the senpai who looked so cool dancing, in moments that I don't know about they fought with the horizontal bar, they danced and twisted their feet, they had lots of moments in which they looked uncool until they became able to do what they can do. But even though I can become able to do what they can, given the same amount of time, I am neither as clever nor as talented. So it was hard to have people around me look at me as if it was natural that I could do something too. This way, I get even more afraid of making a mistake. I, a vain person even though he can't really do anything, hate showing people that I'm weak. Flawless in everything. It doesn't matter if they don't praise me, as long as they don't disparage me. Flawlessly. Flawlessly. When I was still thinking like this and worrying over my acting, I was told the following by a certain actor.
"Acting isn't something that is great if you do it well. Even if you can't do it well, if it's individual or funny, people will pay attention to it. You compare yourself to other people too much. At the time that you're acting, you're doing your own acting, so you mustn't try to break that down."
It was as if something had been nudged in the middle of my chest. I had let my feeling of Do it well! interfere too much, so that I hadn't been able to do more than boring acting. There's no other way than to put in a real effort, not caring about what other people might think. Hard work. Hard work.

It's not like Edison's "A genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.", but now I'm thinking that if I possess even 1% talent, I will do something for the rest by putting in an effort. No matter how much talent you have, if you stop working on developping it in the middle of the way, then it's over at that point. At first, it's enough to stand at the start line. Because that alone is a hard thing to do. To work hard and develop yourself is something that starts right there if you put in an effort.

I don't have anything like a goal in life.
This is my start.
On your mark... ready, go!
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#9: Myojo 2007-03 - Pride

The other day, I watched the movie "Bushi no ichibun" in which Kimura Takuya-san plays the main role. Until then, I didn't have many opportunities to watch historical films, and I felt that it was a genre that didn't have much to do with me, but since I was sure to be able to learn something from the acting of a respected senpai, I went to the movie theater.

This work easily wiped away the considerable image I had had until then that historical films are unapproachable, with its uncomplicated story organization combined with the fact that Kimura Takuya who is highly valued in contemporary theater played the main role of a blind warrior. Even if historical films don't have many fans, I guess many people watched this one simply because Kimura-san appears in it. While I was watching Kimura-san's acting - Kimura-san who fascinates the audience all by himself - in the back of my mind the question appeared, "If that was you, how would you play this role?" But I don't have the confidence I could play the role of a blind warrior so realistically. Once more, it was a very compact work.

If that was me. Not if I played the role of a blind warrior, but if I was a blind warrior. Warriors are frequently raised as examples for men's admired ideals. Everyone has a part of himself that wishes to possess this mental strength, this manliness of living by the sword, being prepared to lay down your life during a fight, having a strong will. If you ask what a warrior-like guy is like, I'm probably not the only one who imagines someone tough, grim and wild.

If I really was a warrior, could I have lived in those times? In any case, I'll do a simulation of my outward appearance. First, the topknot. I'm one of those Japanese who have a broad face, but I have the confidence that I could get my hair up into one of those topknots without much difficulties. If it suits me or not is another question. I haven't ridden a horse before, but I guess with practice I could become able to ride. In regards to the kimono, compared to western clothing it lets the wind through more easily, so that might not be for me who freezes easily. What's more, can someone as conservative as me swing a sword? Do I have the guts to put my life on the line for my feudal lord, engaging the enemy without a chance to win? I think I'd first say, "I can't get into the mood..." and then run away. And on top of that, a society where all the people coming and going are carrying a sword is worse than one where some have a gun. If I had been born into a family of warriors...

If you lose a battle, even if you survived, you cut your own belly. You put your pride above everything else, you're manly to your death. To a sissy like me that seems like an exaggerated degree of manliness. I sometimes doubt it, "Did they really do something like that?" I wonder if all warriors were this courageous. The people featured in dorama and movies surely weren't all brave.

But the people who were not able to fight bravely may have also had a hard time. They might have had an inferiority complex towards the brave warriors, thinking, "I can't keep up with the other warriors...", and started to hate themselves. But certainly these people also had a lot of pride. They absolutely had the will power of warriors. Maybe they had even more pride that they continued to uphold strongly than the brave people because they had such a hard time.

This thinking about being a warrior that I did here will surely become nourishment for me when I will play the role of a warrior in a dorama or movie someday. No, I think it will also become nourishment for me as a man, as a human. So I'll prepare now to meet the warrior Katô Shigeaki. Meeting a warrior means having a warrior's pride and challenging him. I also want to look at myself and improve, with the pride that I certainly have even in this weak body, keeping a "small warrior" in my heart.
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#10: Myojo 2007-04 - Love

On New Year's Eve last year, I went to an art exhibition of Salvador Dalí before the Countdown Live. It's not as if I particularly like art. I'm also not some of those fashionable people who frequent museums. But I do have an interest in this man called Dalí. I think everyone has at least once seen one of his works. His art is clearly different from other painters, with its three-dimensional and unconventional style. I'm no expert in these things, but I like this person who was regarded as a child of heresy.

Eyes wide open with a curled mustache.
Like these looks convey, he was a popular and charming character. I digress a bit from the topic, but it actually was Dalí who designed the logo of the famous lolipop Chupa Chups. Apparently he got the request for the logo at a restaurant and sat down to do the design right then and there on a paper napkin. And that became the logo of this lolipop that is loved throughout the world. Ne, isn't that charming?

His most important works are also unbelievably realistic for oil paintings, and his strange style that in those paintings makes one feel the cruelty of the world has a strong impact on people (of course, he has also painted normal wonderful pictures). His works have been described as surrealistic, as monomanic and critical, but I don't really get the meaning of those words - his pictures just attract me with their strange charm.

I wanted to know more about Dalí. So I went and studied him a bit. When I did, I stumbled over the name of a woman again and again who just can't be ignored when it comes to Dalí. Gala Éluard. Dalí's wife. If she hadn't been with him, apparently Dalí would never have become the grand personality he was. For Dalí, Gala was his beloved woman, his holy mother, but she was also his protector, his ruler and his manager.

Gala was the wife of a famous poet whom Dalí knew. Dalí had fallen deeply for Gala, and he actually robbed the poet of his wife!! The two of them got married and Dalí loved Gala until the end of his days. Clap clap. ... well, so far that was a great(?) love story, but one cannot really say that Gala also continued to love Dalí wholeheartedly. Of course, they were both lovey-dovey. But Gala was a girl who had many affairs (well, girl, she was ten years older than Dalí). Even when she had become a senile old woman, she associated with young male artists. Dalí was worried about her, but he continued to love her to the point that it was abnormal. Proof for that are the countless works of Dalí which feature Gala as motif. In his pictures often appears a woman on crutches, in other words Gala. Dalí even opened an art museum for her sake. But well, apparently Gala didn't set a foot into it even once...

Without expecting anything in return, Dalí loved this woman for the rest of his life. I wonder if love beautiful to such an extent really exists? If it was me, if I didn't have the feeling that my partner loved me back, I wouldn't be able to love this person, I guess. No matter how madly I was in love, if that person didn't turn to me, my feelings would start to cool.

Dalí continued to produce art to show his love for Gala. But as a result, his art touched the hearts of many people. Maybe someone creates art to express his love with all his heart, then this art becomes a stimulus for someone else who in turn creates his own piece of art for the person he loves. This mixture of love becomes the nurturing ground for new art. Someday I want to meet my fated someone, the person I can continue to love my whole life. It would be great if at that time I could express my love in an equally charming
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Myojo 2007-05
Shige's column "Aoi hitorigoto" ("Blue monologue")

Vol. 11 Kizuna - Link
[Myojo translates kizuna as "link", I would have chosen "bond".]

Once there was a boy who didn't want to go to school for just one day when he was in the fourth grade of primary school. He had just transferred to this school and didn't have close connections in class, but it wasn't as if he was being bullied. But he felt disgusted with the bullying that was going on in his class. And more than anything, it was because he couldn't stand the thought of having to see the face of the classmates he disliked, that he simply told his mother, "I don't want to go to school today." Since this boy was more the outgoing type of primary schooler, there weren't any deep thoughts behind his statement, his behaviour had just changed on the spur of a moment.

But the mother of the boy wasn't the kind of person who is shaken by such a statement, so she just said, "Oh I see, then I'm going to call the school and tell them that you're taking a day off today." and continued in her preparations to go to work. Suddenly the boy's father who had been watching their exchange spoke up and muttered, "Well, I might just take a day off at work too." The disturbed boy thought to himself "Can he just do that?", but didn't do anything to contradict his father. Of course, in his heart he was delighted. In the end, it was just his mother who said, "I'll be back later!" and left the house. At that time, the mother must have been really worried about the boy.

Until noon, the father and the boy lounged about while watching TV. They made ramen for lunch, rented out the movie "Titanic" which was popular at that time, and watched it together. With the rays of the sinking sun tinting everything a deep red, the boy got a bit embarrassed when he watched the nude scene of the two main characters on the screen together with his father. By the time the movie ended it was already evening, and the day spent skipping school was over in a blink. While spending time together with the boy, the boy's father hadn't asked even once about the boy's reasons for skipping school.

When it became dark, the mother came home and asked the boy, "How was it?" The boy answered, "It was a lot of fun!" and told her in detail what they had done that day. She listened to him until the end, then she asked, "So, are you taking tomorrow off, too?" The boy replied, "Tomorrow, I'll go to school. It was fun today, but not going to school is boring. And if dad skips work, we'll be in trouble, right." On the next day, the boy went to school as if nothing had happened. The family left the house together and said "See you tonight!" and life went back to its usual pace...

Lately, there are jarring news all over the media. Every time I hear about this specific topic, I can't help but get very sad. There's something weak. Something between the people. Yeah, it's the bond. It's a bond that should be safely connecting the people, but it's becoming loose. The bond between friends, the bond between teachers and students, and the bond between parents and children.

A strong mother. A soft father. Normally it's a strong father and a soft mother, but on that day they each assumed the opposite role. They thought of the best method to make their son who had suddenly announced he wouldn't be going to school go once more, and I think to be able to do this they played it by ear. Just because of this, the boy was able to feel the bond to his parents once more. It was because the bond between parents and child covered for the loosening bond between him and his classmates that the boy could re-connect to his classmates. When I become a father, I wonder if I will be able to act like this. I have to be able to do it. There are more and more people who can't, so the world is changing for the worse. I have to become the kind of father, no, the kind of person who can make others feel this special bond.

It's a bit late, but thank you for that time.
Mom and dad.
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