Children of the Rising Sun |Part One|

|By Sushilove51 | Photo by T. Donsho |

“Love your neighbor”

– Jesus

 

Prof. Jen taught me most of my first two years in college. Going to a U.S. College overseas there’s not much choice. The base tends to hire teachers with a million degrees and able to teach multiple subjects.

This wasn’t a problem for me. I liked Jen’s style. She was a smiley free-spirit who brought M & M’s to class. What’s not to like? Since we had to spend three hours a day, for two days a week. We could only hope for a little bit of fun.

There were rumors that some Professors were so boring students would fail just to end the misery. These stories made me feel lucky to have Jen. Not only was she easy to get along with but was also professional. Yes, at times the lectures went off course. They were fruitful nonetheless.

She spoke of her dreams, her travels, and her dance school. And in the end the whole class got A’s.

It was good to hear from a woman who dreamed big and got to see them come to life. It’s nice to know someone who was rewarded well due to the level of risk taken. Overall she sent a good vibe that flowed throughout our class room.

We had a lot of breaks that were used perfectly like a good coach uses a time out for there team to re-group. Maybe we showed a face that showed it was time. This allowed  students to get into some good conversation with each other. We mostly talked about upcoming events.

There was a musician who was planning on making a music video. He was always looking for someone who wanted to be a part of the them.

“Hey dude, you should show up. We all hang out, then get sushi afterwards”

“I don’t know, I appreciate the invite but I got some things to do”.

I would be tempted to go but wouldn’t be 100% sure about the decision. After all I’ve partied for a majority of my life. I figured it was time to head to another direction.

One guy did get my attention and showed me the way when he mentioned the annual event his squadron throws. A party at a near by orphanage. They serve American Style BBQ, brings gifts, talk and play with the children. Something in me lit up when I heard about it all. I wanted to be a part of it.

An Orphan must carry a heavy burden with them. These are children who have been abandoned or separated from their relatives somehow to live in a strange home with other kids. I guess I felt it was time. I didn’t have too much. But, what I did have I wanted to give.

That weekend I took the invite and brought some friends who I thought would be interested in tagging along. Friends with the right priorities. In the military some people do things like visiting orphanages with selfish motives. They do it for the bullets (highlights of experience) that military members type on these performance reports in hopes to further their career. I wanted to go with those whose motives were pure and had a genuine emotion to care. Other wise the trip would of felt tainted.

I remember the moment I walked in those doors holding bags of food and soda. The kids greeted us with loud pitches of excitement. Big Smiles. Happy that we’d come to visit. They’d stare at us with a look that revealed there gratitude. Maybe we symbolized hope to them. Hope that since  foreigners came to give presents and spend time with them that one day this would happen permanently one day.

The kid’s ages ranged from 4-18. The majority of them being younger. Only a few were actually 13 and up. I remember a little 5 year who ran up to me as soon as my arms let go the bags of food I carried. He wanted to be picked up. This only was after 20 minutes of walking in. I gave him a high five. But, my heart turned into mash potatoes when I saw how bad he wanted to be held. He desired affection. Just for a moment. He wanted to feel loved. I didn’t want to fail him. So I carried him and told the caretakers he was very playful kid. They remarked that he’s always been this way.

This made me wonder where his parents were and why he was here. If this was my son I don’t know if I could go a day without giving or receiving that affection. It’s energizing to see someone on earth who just wants your affection and in return you give it the same. No cost. I don’t think he even budged when the food was being served. He just wanted to play games with the foreigners. A similar pattern with the other children as well.

The girls were getting their hair braided by the women. And the other men were playing catch with the little guys. Reading stories to them. Teaching them dance moves. Enjoying each other’s company.

Later, I find out these kids have survived some tragedies. Abusive homes, homes with low income that couldn’t maintain. Homes that weren’t happy. Homes that weren’t healthy. Life isn’t fair. I only hope that one day these children see glory.

Are there injustices you see in the world you want to fix?

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Goodbye at Haneda-Airport

|Written by Sushilove51| Photo by T. Gouw |

 

“We’re becoming mortal. It’s us, being close to each other. It never happened this fast before. You have to leave. The further you get from me, the better you’re going to feel”

– Charlize Theron, Hancock Movie

 

Thousands of people walk to and from the Haneda-Airport. Some on time moving according to schedule and some are in a rush barely making it. Just like the McAllister family in the Home Alone movie.

Everyone has a journey and sometimes I wonder how nice it’d be if everyone would just stopped what they were doing and enjoyed life with each other. One of the tragic things about time on earth, is that our time is limited. Each of us are giving an unknown amount. With this in perspective, I hope to make an effort doing things I enjoy with the people I care for.

This day helped me realized this truth. Considering the circumstance.

Depending on what brings you to airport changes your entire body language. For instance, If you are going to see someone you love. You are all smiles you walk around like your at Disneyland, “The happiest place on earth”. Nothing will take you of this high.

But if you’re leaving someone behind it can be sadder than a cemetery visit. Which happened to be the case for me.

I didn’t want to fly. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t care to travel. Even though, I’ve always considered myself a traveler. I used to want to see the world. Part of the reason I joined the military in the first place. I knew I’d be given the chance to see parts to the world I’ve wanted to go.

My second year in; I’ve traveled throughout the U.S., Mid-west, East Coast, and I was able to have great experiences like drinking a Pint of Guinness fresh from the tap at an Ireland pub. Speaking to people I barely understood. Only making out that there were giving off some good vibes. I met Jesus in Brazil as a statue called “Christ the Redeemer” who welcomed me with his arms spread open.

Then it all changed. The Traveling adventurer side of me disappeared. When I got stationed to Japan. All of a sudden I no longer felt the need to travel after I looked around, settled in and saw where I was at.

I realized a truth about myself. When I was traveling I must of not been doing it aimlessly like I thought I was. The curiosity I felt when I stepped of different airports and the happiness I felt when I looked around. Taking in all the new decor and the smiles from the friendly host. The curiosity was there because I was looking for something. Not sure what it was exactly but perhaps home.

While in Japan I felt a comfort I never knew. That’s when I had the epiphany and I see it more clear. I wasn’t traveling just to travel. I needed to find something. And that’s what happened when I moved to Japan. The perfect location and the person.

For the past two years me and here spent all our free time with each other. I was a busy young man serving in the Military. The training. The exercising. The war games. Still we made time for each other. This made the entire work cycle worth every minute. I would do it again. As long as I knew sometime during the week we would eventually get back to each other.

Imagine how I felt when we were at the airport knowing that I had to go to the Middle East for a year. It’s very cliché to say but we have to take the good with the bad. When we look at the situation at face value it was sad. She cried the whole way there up until we said goodbye. But then I got to see her cry. Which says a lot more than what anyone can express with words.

Watching her demeanor was bitter sweet. You know the military was easy for me. I may have gotten PTSD before I even joined. The environment I was raised in forced me to control my emotion, even withdraw because if I succumbed to the feeling that were necessary for the situation. I’m sure I would have cried my entire child hood.

Years later, I’m at an airport. It’s okay to be vulnerable because she is. She doesn’t care how she looks. All she cares about is that she wants me to come back safe. That’s up in the air it’s a mystery. Anything can happen in the Middle East. But, nothing is more dishonorable than a man who doesn’t fulfill his obligation. The military provided me with a chance to be better. Now it was time to fulfill my side of the deal.

Airports can the saddest/romantic places on earth. I needed a cigarette.

What was your hardest good bye?

Late Night McDonald’s Japan |Part One|

|Written by Sushilove51 | Photo by M. Wakui |

“We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”

-D. Mamet

 

On sleepless nights.

I lay in bed with eyes shut wondering “What the heck?” and “Not, again”.

I’m annoyed by whatever this condition is. It’s not consistent enough to be insomnia. At the most it’ll happen twice a month.

Am I in a re-boot. That happens periodically. I can’t sleep sometimes and my thoughts bounce from idea to idea.

I used to try and get more sleep but I gave up on that idea. I learned to do something I need to get done, a chore. Something that burns calories to get me tired enough to fall into slumber.

Trying to to figure out what awoke me, a bad dream, a random thought, must of been something strange and for whatever reason. I’m up. Getting sleep shouldn’t take this much effort. We should just sail into it.

Like having to use the restroom. When it’s time to go and nature calls. You pick up, take a shot, swish.

I wake up and do whatever I want until I’m tired. The level of beat where I’m able to sleep where I stand. Friends who know me know I’m able. They’ve seen me in action.

This night I was far from it. Starving for something tasty. Thirsty for something root- beerish. No matter what the calorie count was. When I’m tired I act like a hungry drunk in that I have no resistance to what I’ll eat.

Lord knows. I’ve never woken up for midnight snack to eat a celery stick. My midnight snacks are sloppy and disgusting. A meal for Pregnant women and the Head of Biker Gangs.

Something like a bag of chips laid as a bed for a fat boy sandwich which is simply; two, three, four, slices of bread, and anything in the fridge to go in between. Drizzled with ketchup, relish, salt, pepper, hot sauce, soy sauce, Campbell’s Tomato Soup, no rules, anything goes.

And If this doesn’t satisfy me. I dig into a cereal box and eat claws full of it.

Tonight, I knew the food I wanted that my fridge didn’t have. It was a ten minute drive from my dorm room. And it’s no use of thinking of not going. My body’s been craving McDonald’s. Now, normally this wouldn’t happen in the States.

The restaurant has never been a priority to me. We have a Denny’s (Chicken-fried steak, Sampler Platter) We have a Jack in the box (eat anything as long as we have buttermilk ranch).

There are at least three other restaurants that I’d consider before thinking about a McDonald’s. But, the thing is…I’m in Japan and over here McDonald’s you get more than what you pay for.

I rose from my futon and went to my freshening up routine.

Brush Teeth, Wash Face, Wash Hands, Change Clothes. Out the door.

For a second I thought about knocking on the door of a neighbor. To see if anyone shared a desire to chow down burgers and fries. Then I thought about the added time I’d waste if they weren’t ready.

I couldn’t decide. But, I luckily I didn’t need to. While I was contemplating inviting people my legs didn’t stop from taking strides towards my car. And there in front of car.

I stepped in. Where I could still smell the cigarette smoke.Not because of me, but because I decided to be a bro and gave a co-worker a drive home hours before. Thankfully it wasn’t mine. I had been battling my cigarette addiction for a while. It’s kicked my butt for a while. This time I got the upper-hand.

So far at least. I cruise onto the streets that are lit by the amber glow of street lights.

8 minutes later, I pull into my destination.

 

What’s your favorite midnight meal?