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July 27, 2007

Posted by ash in about Friends, about Memories & Reflections.

Since last friday, I have had very emotional farewell episodes going on. My school farewell was sad, I broke down halfway through my farewell speech on stage. I was touched by the number of students who seemingly didn’t care but actually did. I realised that the people I thought who cared actually didn’t. It was a day of emotional revelations.

Yesterday, I broke down after I met my koto teacher for the last time.  I want to write about these episodes, about how some of the people I met have helped me during my darkest times, about how sad I am to leave them, but it’s just so hard to put them into words.

Yesterday in the car, my koto teacher told me how happy she was to have met me. I have been here long enough to know if such comments are just superficial polite remarks but my koto teacher was definitely sincere. She is like a mother figure to me. She told me to have more confidence and not to put myself down always. I teared when she hugged me and asked me to remain the way I am. “You have the ability to brighten up a room you go into, and people like to talk to you.” I muttered in embarassment that it’s just because I am a blabbermouth but she gently said that she didn’t think so. I said I would try to be a better person but her last words before we parted were “You don’t have to try, just be the person you always are.” What she said were the kindest words anyone ever said to me. Standing on the dark staircase outside my old apartment infested with spiders and insects, I didn’t cry when we waved our last goodbye. I only broke down when I stepped into my apartment, it was hard for me to control my emotions for the rest of the night.

In this period of farewells, some people have told me that they thought of me as a very nice person, that I would have no problems back home. I was surprised.

I don’t think anyone back home would describe me as nice, even my own friends. It’s more like “aggressive, hot-tempered, loud, crazy” Right?

That got me thinking. Is it due to cultural differences that they perceive me differently?

Maybe yes. But I suspect that I must have shown unknown sides of myself during my stay here. Perhaps a really independent life has forced me to reveal a different side of myself to most people here. Perhaps significant happenings here have caused me to see things differently and subsequently take different courses of actions as compared to the ones I would take back home. I can’t say for sure if it was a change or merely a manifestation of my hidden self. Have I changed?

Someone back home said she is disappointed that I have become more negative and cynical. That was months ago, I was upset by her comment. Now, that I think about it, I want to tell her :for someone missing out a huge part of my life for 2 years, your comment does me injustice.

I can tell you I haven’t become more negative. I have been pondering over a lot of questions lately, I reached the conclusion that my stay in Japan (tough times and good times) was not for nothing, I did learn something from it. 

I want to say proudly to the self-righteous people who may not think of me this way:

I am strong and I am a survivor in my own right.

Going back home is tough. I forsee a lot of problems. I will work hard not to be defeated by them, maybe I won’t always succeed but I will be myself.



1. Suika - July 27, 2007

*pat on your shoulder* oh well… our group is waiting for your arrival to celebrate your belate bday with u yah!! We go eat crab… ai boh? Let me know..I’ll get Nigel to arrange.

2. ash - July 28, 2007

erm…bo lui. you guys treat is it? LOL

3. Suika - July 28, 2007

ahbuthen? Of course we treat dear…. its your bday treat from us! Come back we celebrate both Cherly & your birthday! Happy Birthday in Advance dear.

4. ash - July 29, 2007

ON! Yay, eat crabs.

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