Dreams and Things

To say “have a dream” in Japanese, it’s 夢を見る (yume wo miru). In a more literal sense, “to see dreams.” What does it mean to see dreams? My experiences with dreams have been terrible. Not nightmares or anything of the like, but waking every morning with no recollection of my unconscious brain activities. I rarely awake with a pounding of the heart or a nostalgic sadness in my chest.

Less about nighttime dreams, I’ve been wondering about my own in the sense of future goals I would like to achieve. I made deliberate choices when I decided to double major in creative writing and Japanese. I can communicate well; I can write decent short stories and longer pieces. As of right now, however, I feel short-sighted, as if my dreams and goals are hiding behind a wall and I can’t see the obvious ladder to get to the other side.

This isn’t to say I regret my major choices. They were the best decisions I made for myself. I was studying what I love without pressure to switch to a “money-guaranteed” field. I had the freedom to take classes outside of my majors in topics that mattered to me, particularly in African-American studies. That is to say, though, that the goals I had are different now and I’m trying to figure out how to deal with those changes. I suppose it comes with the territory of post-graduation: a few months (or maybe longer) of changes and learning to adjust to them.

As of right now, I know two things I want. In 3 to 5 years, I want to be preparing to attend grad school for an MFA in writing. Before that, more immediately, I want to return to Japan to live for a year or two, fulfilling a childhood dream of mine.

When I was younger, I imagined spending the rest of my days overseas. At some point, it wasn’t imagination anymore. I decided that I would buy a one-way ticket and never return to America to live, only to visit my family and friends. In my third year, I spent my spring semester in Japan. The photograph for this post is a picture I took at Naka-Meguro, a famed site for 花実 (hanami) or sakura viewing. That time was easily some of the best months of my life.

Being there for the time that I was, however, awakened me to the realities of Japanese society that led me to change how long I would be overseas: a few years, not the rest of my life. During fourth year I was determined to be in Japan by the end of this summer, but after being confronted with the truths of being an English teacher my game plan was shattered. I had a successful interview for a marketing assistant job with an international company over in Tokyo, but they needed me too early.

So here I am, three weeks post-graduation and reeling.

Perhaps this sudden spell of stress (oooh, do you see that alliteration?) is me putting pressure on myself to have it figured out. What the hell does that mean anyway? What’s the “it?” My life? At 21? I can barely figure out my dinner plans. I pushed off going to Japan until next year and I think that was for the best.

Recently, I’ve been reading the untranslated version of a manga called Chi no Wadachi. In English, its title is A Trail of Blood. Written and drawn by Oshimi Shuuzou, it’s a psychological thriller about a middle school boy and his “overprotective” mother. I read up to chapter 13 in English and, after seeing something in the chapter that was left untranslated, decided to look into the raws. I read the rest of what’s been updated online in the original Japanese. Save for a few kanji, I understood what was going on. I bring this up because the idea of becoming a translator has been rising into my forethoughts.

Emphasis on recently.

I do not think this was an idea that was buried in my subconscious or an idea that I was denying but would ultimately turn to. These last few weeks have been quite the adjustment. My mind has been swirling; my thoughts keep a little flame under my ass.

My worry, my fear, is that I can’t go back to Japan. I fear that when I go back, it’ll just be to visit some friends for a week or two. Those few months were a glimpse, a taste–a dream. I’ll lose my abilities to speak Japanese and fast. I’ve been so stuck on the how. How do I get back? Am I not seeing my dreams through?

That said, I won’t let it get to me too much. It’s certainly worth the brain energy, but after a vent with my homie (thank you!), I came to the conclusion that it’s okay to not know. And I won’t say that I do know right now. Even so, I still have the goals I want to achieve and a fierce determination to make them happen.

One step at a time, girl. Left foot, then right.

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