Approaching the dawn of 2015, amid Christmas celebrations and new year preparation, Facebook seems to be doing a good job projecting us across time to indulge in retrospection” , seeing a good amount of “ It’s been a great year, thanks for being part of it” coupled with fantastic pictures and wonderful captions.
All-inspired by the stories of many, today I opened up my planner and skimmed through my past historical records from the beginning of January till the end of 2014.
How should I compile my final blog post for the year?
If I were to divide 2014 into four, and use a few words to describe each quarter’s experience, what would they be?
BTW, here’s a soothing song I listen to sometimes when I need a break. Suits well with my winding path this year! Recommend listening while reading ^^ (Kevin Kern- Winding Path)
2014 Lives On
January to March: Digging Resources
Upon graduation, I was lost. Holiday had just began and my initial dream to study in Canada seemed to be falling apart.
This sorta “graduated” experience is analogical to watching a 40 episode drama. When you’re about to live inside the plot, you arrive at the last episode and the story came to an end. All of a sudden, there is a flood of “something’s missing”. In my situation, I had been going through the same study routine everyday to get a big score on my Ontario Secondary School Diploma and now after achieving my goal, what am I gonna do next when I have so much time before entering an “unknown university”…
I must thank 2013 for laying a great foundation for a whatever good things that happened in 2014.
During my one year study in Klang Valley, my inquisitive nature led me to explore a whole community of young aspiring entrepreneurs via various events such as those in Mind Valley. Through them, I soon became part of
Chatuchak Park, Thailand. Last day of LEAD.
These platforms exposed me to new friends, experiences, knowledge, most importantly (my job) provides me money to sustain my living away from home.
April to June: Oranges or Apples?
Second quarter of the year posed me with two challenging questions:
Q1: How am I going to manage my monthly pay (money and time), so that I can leverage on them to optimize my growth and learning experience.
A: In terms of financial management, I learn to cook and save a portion of my money for travelling fees and future usage. I am lucky because my superior Aaron allowed me to live with him for free at Scotts Garden, a strategical place equipped with great facilities such as a Tesco right below the building (Where I buy my cooking materials); and a swimming pool that I can used to keep myself fit. There are tons of bars and clubs downstairs in which I never had a chance to step into …hahaha…A lot of time was spent on learning copy-writing and improving my marketing knowledge. That eventually led to the existence of this blog.
Farewell lunch with Daniel and Aaron. Bangsar.
Q2: Which university should I apply? and which should I accept?
A: After narrowing down my scope of choice to only Asian countries, I applied to Hong Kong University, Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, and Waseda University in Japan.
I was accepted to HKU but the scholarship offer was not decent enough- Eliminated.
I was given a great offer to study in Taiwan, but I found out that the course structure was different from what I have expected, and so….eliminated.
Although it seemed as though I chose Waseda out of desperation, it wasn’t really so because I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture and learning a new language. So, no regrets, here I am.
July to September: A fast-flowing river.
On the first week of July, I helped out as a volunteer in a zen retreat after joining as a participant 3 years ago. For the second time, I met Malaysian Actress Angelica Lee and had a great time volunteering with her family members.
Returning from the retreat, I spent a month finishing off my work in Dino Media while preparing myself for my two last trips before leaving to Japan in a hush. One to Singapore to visit my brother about a week before leaving to Ladakh ( the second one), and then 3 days after coming back from Ladakh, I flew off to Japan for a new life.
Everything was in a rush and although I was left with barely any time to chill out, things went on smooth and fulfilling. My memorable venture in Ladakh was written in one of my previous blog post and you can check it out here.
Confluence of Indus and Zanskar River, Ladakh.
All is well.
October to December: Evolve or die.
“Humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die. … If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
School starts. Half of my curriculum credits are spent on “ nihongo” Japanese Language which is my largest barrier to in-depth communication here. Other liberal arts courses taken are “intro to Language studies”, “intro to Legal Studies”,“intro to American Politics” and “Architecture and cities at war seminar”.
Most of my teachers ( two Americans, one Jewish and the rest Japanese) are friendly, knowledgeable and passionate in their teachings. This few months solidify my interest in the social sciences as compared to my previous sciences.
Being in Japan and not picking up any one of its beautiful cultural art would be a total shame for me. In Waseda, I signed up for Kyudo, “the way of bow”- Japanese Archery and out-of school, I practice Aikido at the World’s Aikido Headquarter situated 1.5km away from Waseda.
So here’s a quick glimpse into my usual schedule:
5:00 Morning Bell
5:10 Bread and cereals. Travel to Dojo
9:00 Japanese Class
1:00 Other classes
Evening: Ofuro bath, Revision, Zazen, Dinner
Besides training, eating, studying and sleeping, there’s nothing much to do here, in fact there’s no time for it! Shopping’s too expensive and it’s not something guys are really fancy about anyways.
As for new year’s resolution, I’ve found two. First, to start a circle in Waseda and second to take up horse-riding in my school’s Equestrian club.
Oh and probably doing “arubaito” ( part-time job) starting next semester.
But for now..
I’m taking a relaxing holiday, chilling out and welcoming 2015 with a big heart.
Jin. or Young.