“If They Say Why, Tell ’em…….”

Dear Friends,

My mother sent across many seas and rivers another package of “a few of my favorite things” (Chippies banana chips, lipstick, books, magazines); in the box was my copy of The Enlightened Heart. I haven’t read this “anthology of sacred poetry” in some time, and upon reading, I remembered why its poems are a daily must read.

The Golden God, the Self, the immortal Swan leaves the small nest of the body, goes where He wants.

He moves through the realm of dreams; makes numberless


delights in sex; eats, drinks, and laughs with His friends; frightens Himself with scenes of heart-chilling terror.

But He is not attached to anything that He sees… – The Upanishads

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These last few weeks have been contemplative. There’s nothing  major occurring, but there’s the feeling that something’s about to happen. Something great. In my anticipation of something wonderful on the brink, each day has become more joyful and positive. So, I think the “thing” that is supposed to happen is what has already become. This now, not tomorrow.

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my new orchid Violetta

A good traveler has no fixed plans

and is not intent upon arriving.

A good artist lets his intuition

lead him wherever it wants. Lao Tzu

Life is like a canvas and we paint our lives with each thought, word and action. Light and dark moments. Vivid and bright. This life, thus far, I’ve called the dream series, because of how impressionistic all my memories have become. Blurry images undefined, but the idea’s there, some faces are there, most importantly, the feelings are there. (Even in this short time that I’ve lived in Japan, friends have come and gone in every respect– a blur.)

I used to think that I was “a traveler,” but it seems that the need to get up and be “anywhere but here” has flickered out in me. I’m not quite sure if it’s good or bad, something I should worry about or not. Is it stability or boredom? What does this mean? I think it means that I should get up and move around more outside of Tokyo prefecture, see more than the already known streets and alleyways. When collecting the paintings of my life, the written words, the canvases, the love amassed, there should be huge splashes of color. A collection of which to be proud.

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.

My shoulder is against yours.

You will not find me in stupas, nor in Indian shrine rooms, nor in

synagogues, nor in cathedrals:

not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own

neck, nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly— – Kabir

So much divinity and beauty all around us, in us. Sometimes, I meet people and find them so adorable that I feel love and want to express that somehow: students, people on the street, strangers of all ages. (I wonder what someone would do if I actually reached across and gave them a squeeze or pinched their cheeks.) A few days ago, I followed an old couple, at a safe distance, because of their appeal.

Reaching out to touch a stranger… I like living this way, I like loving this way. – Michael Jackson (Human Nature)

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Super sweet taxi driver-- Watanabe.new 029

Tell em… – MJ

This journey is becoming filled with “oh, I get it” moments. How?

1) Meditation

2) Love and gratitude. (*If you’ve opened your loving to God’s love, you’re helping people you don’t know, and have never seen.Rumi)

3) Avoiding negativity as much as possible: Situations, and sometimes people.

4) Creating thoughts, creating reality.

5) Silence, and music.

What they undertook to do

They brought to pass’

All things hang like a drop of dew

Upon a blade of grass.W.B Yeats

Take care, and much love,


“You Do This To Me”

You came and you changed my world. –MJ (Liberian Girl)

1) It’s two days until Michael Jackson’s birthday. When my friend BL told me it was his mother’s birthday on August 25th, I responded that it’d be Michael Jackson’s birthday on the 29th. His next words were, “So what?” Our friendship ended on that subway ride, (after an hour of I Spy, of course). Let’s compare, since I’ve nothing better to do, and if you’re reading this, you’ve got time on your hands too:

His Mother: A disheveled son with no taste in music.

Michael Jackson: Decades of happiness to many.

2) Do you remember my student M, from many posts back, that confessed to me that he wasn’t getting any “nighttime opportunities,” because he enjoyed getting drunk in izakayas more than going home to his wife? Well, he’s moving to Singapore in less than two weeks, and we had our last class together this afternoon. At the end of our session, I extended my hand to shake his, and he hugged me. Very un-Japanese, especially since he wasn’t drunk at the time. He said that he’ll miss me, and since we don’t really know each other at all, I now suspect he was in fact intoxicated during our lesson. When I asked him what he was concerned or nervous about with the impending move, he stated that his most pressing issue is “not finding the right nightclubs.”

3) This morning, I met another student S who’s visiting New York for the first time next week. As to be expected, he’s excited, and had a list of questions to be answered, and expressions to be defined. He exuded so much calm and peacefulness that I wondered if he was ready for New York at all; then he asked me, “Where can I go to hear Ne-Yo’s music?” Ne-Yo?! What do I know about where they play hip music, and the fact that I used the word “hip” at all definitely means I’m not. (I couldn’t tell you the name of even one Ne-Yo tune.) My only useful recommendation was to buy a Time Out as soon as possible, especially since I’m completely out of touch with the ever-evolving metropolis that’s NYC.

4) Speaking of New York, every time I try to find good, spicy, Buffalo chicken wings in Tokyo, my taste buds twinge for Blondies on the Upper West Side. Check out the undercooked, far from spicy wings, I got in Komozawu Daigaku:

* You may be asking, “Why’re they so big?” Yea, I was too. The restaurant did make up for the ridiculous wings with a burger that was impossible to finish:

*AS Classics bacon cheeseburger

5) You, you, you can never say that I’m not the one who really loves you. – Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney (Say, Say, Say)

Summer. The sun’s setting on the summer. The nights are cool, there’re no more summer clothes in the stores, the summer sales have wrapped, and most importantly, when I visited Hayama’s Isshki Beach a few days ago, the Blue Moon guy reported that this upcoming weekend is the last weekend they’ll be open until next summer. I don’t get why they’d close all the beach restaurants so early, since the days are still scorching, but the only answers forthcoming are, “That’s Japan,” and “The jellyfish are coming to shore soon.” (Huh?) You’d be surprised at how many questions are answered, “That’s Japan.”

In true awesomeness, while I was in the water, Lars, a German guy, came in with a bodyboard. In isolated areas, foreigners have a tendency to speak to each other, so we exchanged pleasantries, and before you could scream “Wave,” I was atop his bodyboard. (That’s not code). I tried unsuccessfully a few times, until I finally rode a wave. It was thrilling, (my bathing suit thought so too, as it partially flew off).

6) You’re every wonder in this world to me, a treasure time won’t steal away. – Michael Jackson (The Lady in My Life)

Michael’s voice always brings me back. Everyone sitting around one television set waiting for the première of a video, singing together, getting excited, dancing, wanting something or someone unattainable, out of reach magic, moving streets, glitter and shine, barbecues and high school fetes, the sun setting too soon. And, here we are.

“It’s Enough Love for Me to Stay”

It’s not my thing trying to get back, but this time let me tell you where I’m at. – The Jackson 5 (I Wanna Be Where You Are)

1)  I recently re-joined the land of Facebook and received a message from a good friend that contained the question, “So when are you coming to this side of the world again?” The side of the world he was talking about is New York, and though New York was good to me at one time, and may be again one day, I have no current wish to see its bridges, skyline or subways. (Zero longing to step foot in the city of my birth). I’m going to tell you something shocking– at the moment, I have no yearnings to fly anywhere (especially somewhere I’ve already been). That admission is crazy, because there’s nothing I usually love more than getting on a plane, but all the travel plans in my head, require only an express train ticket, no exorbitant fares, and no security lines.

Can it be I stayed away too long? – The Jackson 5

In one of my favorite Jackson 5 songs of all time, ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are,” little MJ pines that he wants to be where his love is, anywhere that love is. I have another shocking admission, my love is here in Tokyo. My love is me. My current love is Tokyo. My love is getting on my bicycle on a sunny day and riding around the city, which leads me to number two.

2) A few days ago, I exchanged a round of emails with a friend who I’ve always known from a great distance (literally). When I told him that I choose not to make plans with anyone far in advance, he told me that I have a “selfish cancellation issue,” and that “the key is to put your friend, who you committed to, above your own feelings at any given time.” I’m as confused by that statement now as I was when I first read it. Why would I choose to put someone’s feelings over mine? (If anyone can sufficiently explain this to me, please send an email to my gmail account: valerieasmith7@gmail.com).

When I asked him, his response to me was that if I don’t compromise, and I interpret “compromise” to mean compromise on my peace of mind and wishes, then I’ll end up “pissing off friends, and losing them.” I think we misunderstood each other. There’s a thin line between compromise and self-sacrifice, and surely my friends should understand I like myself and my company as much, and oftentimes more than them. Doesn’t everybody?/Shouldn’t everybody? Another friend told me that I never compromise, which I disagree with, because I know that I have on past occasions. However, it’s probably true now. It’s most likely true.

3) Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey. Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now. – Brahma Kumaris

My friend T has recently sent me a few emails about moving to Germany. She assures me that the pay is good, the living cheap, the apartments spacious, and her friendship will keep me warm in the wintertime. I’ve been to Berlin, and know it wouldn’t be too hard to have more than her friendship to keep me warm in the frigid temperatures, but to reiterate point number one, for the first time that I can remember, I want to be exactly where I am.

This evening, after getting out of work early, I was starving and decided to go to my favorite ramen shop in Ningyocho for a bowl of tonkatsu ramen. Upon my entrance, the chef and waitress greeted me with smiles, and the typical Japanese hellos one hears when entering any establishment. The waitress then pointed to what she thought I wanted, which of course, was what I was planning to order. I ate alone, content with my ramen, and the broth splattering on my peach skirt. When I left, the chef came out of the kitchen, and gave me the gift of a scarf in packaging. When he saw my confusion, he pointed to the scarf on his head, and bowed. At the moment, this is home.

I have all the love I need inside, and it’s enough love for me to stay.