This is not the “right” way to be myself, but…

As everyone knows, life is tough. My current day-time job is, as I often mention, very stressful. One day, as I wrote in a previous post a few months ago, I went to a park after an extremely stressful work day, to unexpectedly find that I had forgotten something: a peaceful moment. As I mentioned in that previous post, I hoped my new place would be my peaceful space. Now, it’s been about five months since I moved to the current place, and I’m still trying to make it a Hiro-style room, hoping it will be a place to forget about any stressful event. In other words, it will be a place for me to be myself. Slowly but surely, it’s coming.

But before completing my den, I should recall one thing: having my own weather. As I wrote in an old post, as Covey describes in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, proactive people have their own weather. On the other hand, reactive people “are often affected by their physical environment [1]”. I suppose that my “physical environment” includes my room, which means, I’m still “reactive”. As I wrote in that previous post, my former place was so uncomfortable. However, whether it is tidy or messy, roomy or tiny, stylish or dull, I should retain my own weather. To make my room comfortable to regain myself is not the “right” way to remain myself.

Having said that, making a my-style room is fun. When I rented an apartment room in Japan, I bought secondhand pieces of furniture to save money. As a result, the room was somehow uncoordinated because I bought each of them from very limited choices. It was tidy and livable, but no unity among them. Now my neighbour IKEA helps me make a well-coordinated room at a reasonable price.

After making my nest, a next step to “regain myself” is to remember my cooking style. As I wrote in a “recent” post (a couple of months ago), something was wrong and I couldn’t cook as I used to. I still don’t know what was actually wrong, though I’m sure something was obviously wrong. Now, let’s see how I have recovered from that. Hopefully I’ll finish “making my room” soon and remember Hiro style cooking. A cozy place plus Hiro style Asian fusion equals Izakaya Hiro!

[1] S. R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, New York, NY: Fireside, 1989.

September 5, 2014Permalink

Life is life…..? Sensitive matter, another case

One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify. – Charlie Chaplin

In last couple of weeks, we had no single day when we did not hear shocking news. One is about a U.S. journalist beheaded by Islamic State in Syria, another is the conflict between Israel and Hamas. According to some sources, more than 2,000 people have been killed in Gaza in last couple of months. OK, now, let’s do the math. Suppose every human being’s life is equally respected. Then, the killing in Gaza is more than 2,000 times seriously treated than killing a U.S. citizen in Syria. Is it? Obviously no. Why? WHy?? WHY???

I even don’t know the difference, or in another word the “border”, between murder and assassination.

I know. This is a sensitive matter, like the one I described in an old post.

There seem no rationally rational argument. Everything is subjective and relative. For a typical but different example, many people, mostly the Westerners, think that a whale or a dolphin’s life is way heavier than that of a “cow” (whether it is male or female), of a pig, or of a chicken. It is obvious for them, but ridiculous for me. It is subjective.

I even hope that we are in transition right now. I still remember a weird feeling I had in my childhood when I watched TV news reporting a tragedy, such as train crash or airplane accident, in which many people ware killed. Reporters typically said “被害者に政治家などの要人は含まれておりません (no important figures such as politicians are included in the casualties)”. WHAT? What the hell do you mean by “important figures”??? Now they don’t make such a biased report; people have changed.

Another unforgettable comment in my childhood was heard in a social studies class in my junior high-school. The teacher was talking about the changes in social structures and political systems, and if I remember correctly, he said like “political systems in the world had changed for the better. But now there are two different major systems and we cannot tell which is better: capitalism and socialism. Both are better than old ones and seem optimal.” Some years later, many socialistic nations have turned into capitalistic ones. Is it a change for the better? If I trust the first half of the teacher’s argument, it is. People have changed.

If people keep changing, the notion of the “equality of life” may change. I mean, it will change “for the better”. Some may argue that it “should change”.

OK, this is it for sensitive matters.

August 22, 2014Permalink

Memory, another case

I have written 140 posts so far. Among the 140 different stories, one thing that I have not mentioned is, something romantic. I am not, of course, going to talk about my love story here. Ha! I often write about memories, like Memory of Mess, Memories of chestnuts, Seasonal food, scenery and food, and so on. In those short essays, I write what evokes certain memories or feelings, or what recalls past events or habits. I am sure that, for many people, some love songs remind them of their romantic, or for some people like me, sorrow memories and feelings.

I like to listen to Japanese songs on YouTube. I even have a private playlist of J-Pop (Japanese pop). Some of the songs on the playlist are new (“newest” ones are around three years ago before coming to Canada this time), and some others are old, like 80’s music or even older. A few days ago, I suddenly remembered a Japanese love song that was popular almost 10 years ago, and added it to the playlist. As I wrote in an old post, I came to Canada in 2003, and I listened to the song when I temporarily went back to Japan and spent a few months during the summer in 2005. That 9-year-old song still evokes a romantically sorrow feeling I had for a girl. Sadly and as usual, I was a friend of hers. Though it was one-way, I’m sure I sincerely thought of her as the love song recalls. Sad and good memories.

Now I’m in one-way love with my dream job… As I wrote in a “recent” post (I know this is like monthly blog now… I wrote it more than a month ago), something was wrong. As I mentioned in that post, the current discouraging situation (yes, it is still “current” as I wrote in the previous post) may be one of some steps forward, in other words, a meaningful step in the long term. Thinking of this idea actually made me feel better, but this is only one way to interpret the current situation. Recently I finished reading my most favourite book. I don’t remember how many times I have read the book. Anyways. In that book, the author talks about a person who had been depressed and then recovered through a remarkable experience in a day. He finds that life is not about fame or reputation but how people contribute for others. I agree with him. The main cause of my “negative” interpretation of the current situation is, as I mentioned in the previous post, that what I am doing now is not what I “planned” to do, or from a different perspective, it is not what people who know me well anticipated I would do. It’s not about “fame”, but can I re-think of it, that is, how I contribute for other people by doing it, though it is not what I “planned” to do? It is tough to accept this idea, I know, but it should make me feel even better. Now I need some more time to accept it.

Of course I don’t mean to cheat on my dream job. Let’s think in this way; though it is one way, I sincerely think of it, like I did for the girl 9 years ago. Or even nicer way to make myself better is to look for opportunities to contribute for others with my design skills even though it is not a “job”, right?

August 20, 2014Permalink

RIP Robin Williams

Many people in the world must have started this week with shocking news; Robin Williams passed away. He was one of my most favourite Hollywood actors.

As I wrote in an old post quite a while ago, Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams, is one of my favourite movies. See the old post for a very brief description of the movie (ironically, according to the news, he had suffered from depression before committing suicide). I am, again (or “still” in a sense), in a discouraging situation; I do something I did not hope to do when I planned to come to Canada. Now I should remember the feeling: the feeling of being encouraged by encouraging others, recalling what Robin Williams showed in the movie.

One good thing in this discouraging situation is that I have chances now to help and encourage others by talking about my experience. My Japanese friends work for an agency to support Japanese who come to Canada to learn English. One of the services they provide to those students is to pick them up at an airport and give them a ride to their host family, and I help them with my car. On the ride, I often talk about my experiences: how I have learned English, what living in a foreign country (i.e., Canada) is like, etc., which some of them find helpful. And I find helping and influencing other people with my experience encourages myself, just like Adams finds healing others heals himself.

R.I.P. Robin Williams, thank you for showing the courage to encourage others.

August 12, 2014Permalink

Something is wrong

I once suffered concussion of the brain when I was playing soccer in my junior high-school. I was running to head a ball when the ball was high up in the air, while another boy was also running toward the ball from the opposite side. Both of us were looking up, and did not recognize each other. What I remember is that I was running and looking up the ball. The next moment I remember is that the physical-education teacher was holding me. According to my classmates, the other boy, who was shorter than I was, headed my face before reaching the ball, but I don’t remember the moment. Since then, something was wrong, for a while. I could not kick a ball. No matter how carefully I aimed at, I always kicked the air. My subconscious mind seemed to prevent me from touching a soccer ball. After a while, I gradually and naturally overcame it.

Recently, in last few months or more (as far as I remember, since early this year), something is wrong with me. For example, I cannot cook well. When I lived in Calgary, many of my friends knew I liked cooking, and many of them enjoyed “Hiro’s Asian fusion”; I combine Japanese food, Korean food, and Chinese food. It’s not all about recipe; I used some subtle cooking techniques and also used my instinct. But now, I try to cook as I did when I was in Calgary, but I cannot. Cooking is only an example. Many other things do not work out, and I don’t know why. I even don’t know if they are due to a common cause or different causes. Is it because of something I don’t remember or recognize?

I thought of the current situation as a suspect. I got the current full-time job in January, and as I wrote in an old post then, it is like going to Halifax while the destination is Calgary. In fact, I think my life is miserable now, which could subconsciously prevents me from doing what I like or need to do as I expect.

I wrote “the current situation” as a suspect, but to be fair, I should say how I see the current situation. I came up with this idea yesterday when I was having a meal at a lake-side cafe in Hamilton after visiting my university. In fact, I visited the lake to think of the current “miserable” situation. Sometimes I need to separate myself from the daily life to think of something deeply. The fact is that my current job is very very different from the profession that I want to pursue. Whether it is miserable or not depends on how I see it. To make a long story short, this is not the end of the world, and might be one of some steps forward. In other words, it might be a meaningful step in the long term. Of course this is hard to accept, but thinking in that way makes me feel a little bit better. Interestingly, on the way home, when I was driving on the highway, I found I was watching further ahead than I used to do. Subconsciously??

It is, of course, too early to make a conclusion. Actually I felt a little better at the lake-side cafe when I thought of the idea, but don’t know if things will go out well from now on. I know life is not that easy. One thing I’m sure is that I should think more about the current situation and how I take it. We’ll see.

July 1, 2014Permalink


Since I bought a car, I moved three times: within Orillia, from Orillia to Etobicoke, and then within Etobicoke. For the first and second time, I chose a place in the middle of a residential area, and used my car to go to anywhere. It’s typical North American life style, right? And I found that life should not be like that. For this time, I chose a place near a subway station and also close to shops and restaurants. It’s not as convenient as downtown Toronto as I wrote in an old post. I still use my car to go grocery shopping. But now I feel like exploring my neighbourhood more.

Today I walked to buy pizza for dinner (typical North American life style…) I drive the same route every weekday to go to work. But when I walk, it looks different. It’s been a little more than a month since I moved to the current place, and today I found there are a few cherry trees near hear. One of the reasons why I had not found them is that they came to blossom only recently. But the major reason must be that I do not pay attention to them when I drive. I’m sure I should walk more to find more things.

For tomorrow I’m planning to go to downtown Toronto. As I wrote, I chose a place near a subway station, but have not used it yet. The “subway” go on the ground for a few stops. Let’s pay attention to the scenery then.

May 10, 2014Permalink


Hmm… this is becoming like monthly blog.

When things happen, they happen. Since I got the current job, including the period when I worked as a temporary contractor, I often get email and phone calls about jobs. All of them are, unfortunately, translation or Japanese-related jobs. It usually happens only once in a while, but in last couple of weeks, it happened more than a few times. It is rare. I declined full-time (40h per week temporary) jobs because the current job is not good but better than translation. The other few ware freelance translation jobs, and I accepted only one. What’s the criteria?? Trust.

One was directly from a client who I worked for when I was a freelance translator. When a freelancer and a client negotiate, one of the first things to talk about is price. That’s the rule. But he did not. I had a bad feeling, and told him how much I would charge. Then he did not reply. I’m almost sure that he expected me to do it for free. Another one was from a translation agency who has never given me a job. When I was a freelancer, I even missed chances to get translation jobs because of them because they often said they would ask me to translate a big amount of text, so I declined other offers, but they actually did not. I know their strategy; they always contact multiple freelancers for one translation job, and only hire one translator. The others are “spares”. It’s cruel. But sadly, most translation agencies do their business in this way. Can I trust them? No way! Some of them honestly tell that they contact several freelancers, but there is no trust anyway.

The other one was a Japanese translation agency, and they are exceptionally trustworthy. Unlike others, they ask my availability beforehand and wait for my reply. I accepted the offer, and submitted the translation in time a few days ago. I even wonder what is their strategy. They are not as “smart” as the cruel ones. But they may sustain their business by maintaining good relationship with freelance translators. In the long term, it could be even smarter way of doing business than the cruel ones.

As I repeatedly wrote, life is uncontrollable. In the future, I may need to choose a strategy to survive. I hope I will choose a sound one then.

The Sky

Oops, I did it again! I have not updated this blog for a month!

But this time, I have a different reason; I have been crazy busy because I moved to a new place, an apartment room! As I mentioned in the previous post, I did not like the former place. It’s small, dirty, noisy, and very uncomfortable. I wrote in the previous post that I hoped the new place would be my peaceful place. It’s been two weeks since I moved in, and it is becoming my relaxing space. It is quiet, spacious for one person, and since I moved from a furnished room to an unfurnished room, I’m making it my style. Above all, as I mentioned in the previous post, the view is fantastic! It’s on the 30th floor. I can see the horizon without obstacle.

I did not know watching the sky is that much fun. It changes everyday, different at every moment. It was about a year ago when I wrote about my own weather. At that time, I was “fired”, and the sky had been overcast for a couple of weeks. I was so depressed. But now watching the sky is fun even when it is overcast. One of the reasons must be the current situation. As I wrote in the previous post, life is uncontrollable. I cannot say my life is stable. But at least now I have a full-time job, which makes me feel less anxious. I know, as I wrote a year ago, I should have my own weather, my value. But I admit that my feeling is still affected by the weather. Another reason is probably the vastness of the sky. When I lived in Orillia and wrote that post, I watched the sky from a small window. Now nothing obstruct the view. Even when the entire sky is overcast, I can find changes at every moment.

Interesting finding here is that I, like many people, enjoy both the sky in the daytime and the night view, town lights at night. They are totally different; the sky is the beauty of the natural world, and the night view is perfectly artificial, like the photo in an old post. Both are not meant to be beautiful, but people find them attractive. Some people say that the sense of beauty is evolutional, which I partially agree but not totally. For example, people find symmetrical face is “beautiful”, and this is because being symmetry is a sign of healthiness and human beings have evolved in a way that we select a healthy partner for a better chance to produce healthy offspring, thus people find symmetrical face is attractive. I do not totally agree with this hypothesis simply because it is not romantic. And I know many ugly and healthy people (oops!). Whether this theory is true or not, it does not explain why people think night view is beautiful. As a designer, it should be good to know why people are attracted by beautiful things, which gives us a hint for designing something attractive. But the origin of the sense of beauty still remains a mystery.

Anyways, let’s enjoy the view day and night. My new room is becoming my relaxing place. Probably I need a couple more weekends to make it decent enough to invite my friends. And then, let’s have a party!

April 21, 2014Permalink


Oops! I found I have not updated this blog for a month!

Many things have happened. As I mentioned in a previous post, I often loudly tell myself “I forgot that” when I have left my workplace and get on my car. It works, or at least, it worked. But recently those things occupies my capacity to think even after leaving the workplace, which disables me from doing anything non-urgent (including blog).

In past one month, I have thought of many things. One of the biggest is March 11th; it was this day three years ago when massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Eastern Japan. It is generally not good memories, but something I should not, will never forget. I still remember some mixture of feelings: feeling of helplessness, anxiety, fear, and feeling of unity. As I wrote in another previous post, some things evoke the feelings even now. It is kind of good. As I wrote in that previous post, income often hides unwanted reality. What is unwanted reality?? As I wrote in the previous post, life is uncontrollable, and probably I should accept that being unstable is “normal”. It is kind of good to remember the feeling of helplessness to get ready for the next helpless period. Who knows?

Let me go back to the story of leaving the workplace. Yesterday, when I got on my car, I repeatedly told myself “let’s forget that. I forgot that”. When I was driving after that, I was no longer thinking of details of what happened in the workplace, but still had not-good feelings. Then I decided to drive to a park on lake Ontario and walk around. It was chilly and cloudy; it was not a good timing to walk around. But, though it was only for a short time, it’s good to remember something I have forgotten: a peaceful moment. As described on its web site, it is home to a variety of wildlife. I did not hear any artificial noise. I only heard birds singing. I had forgotten peaceful moment like that.

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

I will move to an apartment two weeks from now. Honestly, I dislike the current room. I moved to the current place when I could not get a job after ending the temporary job in Orillia, so I chose a cheap place, which is small, dirty, and noisy. A folding chair is the only place where I can sit back. The new room is on the 30th floor of a 36-stories tower. It’s quiet, and the view from the balcony is great! I’m hoping it will be my peaceful place. Oh, one more thing to hope; I hope my life will be stable. Let’s see.

March 22, 2014Permalink

Get back to normal, whatever my normal is.

I know this is odd feelings. When I feel good, I feel something is wrong, i.e., I chronically feel not good in last few years.

Of course the last part of this statement is exaggerated. Like I often wrote, I enjoyed volunteering as a TA at McMaster. I felt good then. Meeting my friends is fun of course. But I often have that feelings, and it happened this morning when I was driving to my work place. I know why I felt good; as I wrote in a previous post, MVP workers’ smile makes me happy, and it was yesterday (it is usually on Monday but it was a holiday this week). But feeling good on the way to work is odd, honestly. The reason of the feelings this morning was obvious, but seriously, I often feel something is wrong when I feel good.

As I wrote in an old post, I have not spent “normal life” in last couple of decades. This is what I wrote then.

In last couple of decades, I always do two things simultaneously; doing a full-time job or equivalent like being a full-time student, and preparing for the next step. What I mean by “living normally” is to do one full-time job and spend spare time on hobbies without worrying about next step.

Now I have a full-time job, but I do not think I have settled down. As I wrote in another previous post, I felt so unstable when I was a temporary employee. And even now I still feel unstable. The reason is obvious as I wrote in a recent post. Now, do I need to redefine “normal life”? Like described in an internet article that I referred to in another previous post, life is uncontrollable. Should I accept that being unstable is normal? Maybe I should. But this does not mean I should give up. Perhaps in the future I will spend abnormal stable life. Who knows?

February 19, 2014Permalink