Family Life

A part of my identity is being a mother of three boys. Yesterday was my youngest son Hiroto’s 5th birthday. It always amazes me how fast they are growing up. When he was born I got slightly teary that he actually made it – it was not that I had difficult pregnancy with him, but it was due to the fact that we lost the last pregnancy before him, at 16th week. It was one of the darkest moments of my life. I was so grateful that he was actually there, a mere 6 lbs but otherwise very healthy. This past 5 years, we managed to raise Hiroto to be a happy, very affectionate boy who loves superheros and creating stuff with lego. He wants to do everything his two older brothers do.

One of his two brothers, Isamu, is now 10 years old. He is into dancing, singing and performing. Now we have a video clip of a theater group he is a part of when they compete at the final of this contest back in January. I am so happy that he has this love for music and dance in his life.

Callback

I submitted my work and after a few hours, I heard back from them. I want to call it “Callback” (as in, I am invited to do the 2nd audition/interview) although it is more like “OK that’s a good start, see if you can tweak it some more to make it better”. I am still grateful that this is happening, rather than receiving a response of “Thanks, not this time”. One of my favorite podcast shows is Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” and recently she was talking about her sister’s sage wisdom (her sister is a TV writer in Hollywood); “Yes” comes right away. “No” never comes. I got a reply almost immediately, and it wasn’t a “no”. I will take that.

Heading towards the weekend now and I don’t expect to get much done next two days. But luckily I have more time to work on it, as they are not in a hurry – they’d like to see a work well crafted, rather than a work done quickly. So I will take my time to enjoy family time, work on other areas of my business and some diversion (in a form of watching a movie). Thank you for reading my (almost) daily post, and have a wonderful weekend!

Writer’s anxieties

Today I have several important tasks to accomplish, one of which is to do recording of a podcast show “LOVE THE WORLD” I started with my friend. It’s a fun project and it is always a delight to meet and chat with her. I feel lucky that I get to do this. The challenge is to edit/make it ready for publishing as soon as I am able, because if I don’t, it will take a lot more energy to bring myself to do it.

Another task is to finalize the work I’ve been doing this past two days (it’s the one I talked about in “Audition”). I am happy that I was given this opportunity but there is certain anxieties that is attached to this situation. I just hope that whatever the result is, I will accept it with grace and not assign a meaning that is not helpful for me. I know I am good at certain things. Maybe not as good as so many skilled writers in this world but surly there is a place for me, somewhere.

Read a book

Today’s goal is to finish reading this book I need to return tomorrow. It’s a parenting book – as our boys grow older, I felt the need to update my parenting tool box. If having kids make us parents, then kids also raise us as parents, but it’s easy to just fall back in old pattern without taking the time to reflect what’s working and what’s not. U.S.Base Yokosuka offers a variety of courses such as parenting class or personal development class which is beneficial when we are in need of some new ideas or just need a place to talk it over our challenges. Every parent needs a “go-to” place or person when they have some extra encouragement, as it is one of the most challenging tasks in life.

Trumpet & Movie

Today my middle son has a trumpet lesson. He fell in love with the instrument sometime last year when he watched one of Miyazaki’s animation movies called “Castle in the Sky” (He only told me that was the inspiration much later). He joined a marching band for 5 months and spent almost all the weekends and about 22 days during summer break, which typically started at 9:00 and ended at 5:00. It was a bit insane by my standard, but he enjoyed the experience – he had a chance to perform at big tournaments with the band three times during that short period of time. Since it started to affect his health, we decided that it is time to pause, so now he takes a private lesson about once a month.

It’s interesting how certain things inspire kids to want to do something. “Castle in the Sky” is also a memorable movie for me. I secretly feel like I owe my success of getting into Tokyo University to that movie, as I wrote about what I took away from it in my entrance exam thesis. It might be why I often let my kids watch age-appropriate movies, as you never know what inspire them. In fact, we are planning on going to watch a movie on base this afternoon after his trumpet lesson.

Fired Up

My friend shared this wonderful clip “BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2017 intro Barak Obama Presentation Remixed By Dann Fipphen” which I happened to catch on a train taking me to Tokyo to attend a seminar. Once there, at some point I will be put in front of a crowd of 100+ people for a brief moment and I am supposed to talk about what I do. It was a perfect little clip to remind me that one person’s voice has a potential to make a change. So be brave.

Audition

I took StregthsFinder test, which said my strengths are input, positivity, intellection, connectedness and learner. It’s different from the last time I took the test but it was at least 10 years ago before I had kids. I am curious to know if life circumstances affect the way you respond to the questions, which would result in different strengths.

Today, I am feeling a bit anxious, as it looks like I will have a shot for a writing gig. I need to show them what I’ve got by submitting my work. I can’t share any details at this point yet, but I will write more about it when the time is right. Somehow I can’t help but think that I got this opportunity because I started writing my daily challenges in this blog about 10 days ago.

StrengthsFinder

I have taken StrengthsFinder test a long time ago, but now I have another opportunity to retake the test, this time in Japanese. I am curious if I get the same results as the last time. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to make the use of the results I got last time, but this time around I have someone to help me interpret the results so that I can utilize my strengths more consciously and intentionally.

Also today I plan to take my youngest to a doctor’s office. He might have contact dermatitis – when he eats, his skin around the mouth becomes red and itchy. Until recently it healed itself within a few hours, but it is taking longer these days. Hopefully it’s not food allergy.

Today’s challenge: Be open, curious and ask right questions

I started the tax return process yesterday! As suspected it will take a few days to complete, but at least the ball is rolling now.

Today I will meet someone who could be my partner in starting up a new project. This project is something I have been wanting to do for a long time but never figured out how to get it started on my own. I met her last month through a mutual friend, and today we are having lunch before going to a (also relevant) event together. My wise mentor once said that being partner with someone to do a project or business together is just like marriage. So in a way, this is our first date. I am excited and also anxious to find out if we are a good match. My intention is to be open and curious, and ask right questions to learn the essence of who she is, what makes her tick – just like how you want to be on your first date.

Today’s challenge: Tax return

Today I will start the process of filing 2016 tax return. Japanese tax return filing deadline is March 15. Last year was the first time I filed after moving to Japan, and I spent so much time dreading the task that I actually put it off until March. Of course, once I finally got around to do it, the entire process was not as bad as I had feared. I felt like I wasted so much time worrying about it.

This year, I took Gretchen Rubin’s advice of “Schedule time to worry” and decided that I will not think about it until February, so that I don’t spend time dreading about it. Now that it’s well into February, today is the day. I am telling myself now that it is ok that I don’t finish it in one day – I just need to take the first step.

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