Recently, Iâ€™ve noticed a pattern.
In 2000, I went to see Bad Religionâ€™s gig in Tokyo. I was 16. That day was one of the turning points for me in my life. My friend suggested that weâ€™d go and see the members of Bad Religion after the show, at the back door of the venue. So we did.
At that time, my English wasnâ€™t as good as it is now. Perhaps better than the average Japanese 16 year old kid, because I had some interests in learning English. I wanted to understand what my favourite bands were singing about. I wanted to talk with them too.
And I met some of the members of Bad Religion (to be more specific, I remember meeting Bobby, Greg Hetson, and Jay). Itâ€™s a shame I didnâ€™t get to meet Greg Graffin, the singer of Bad Religion. He was and still is my hero.
I wanted to tell them how much I loved their music. But really, I didnâ€™t know how to express that through words in English. I felt… defeated. So, I decided to study English a bit more.
On the way home, my friend recommended me to read a book by a Japanese journalist. I canâ€™t remember the details of this book, but this journalist was talking about how he went to and studied at university in the US. Very inspiring. You can tell from the title of the book too – Iâ€™d translate it as â€œMessages to Wolvesâ€.
You might have noticed already, but Iâ€™m actually quite simplistic when it comes to these things. I get easily influenced by strong messages, the kind this book sends too. Maybe not anymore, but I was immediately influenced by him anyway.
So, that was 2000.
Through this encounter with Bad Religion and the book my friend recommended me to read, I decided to change myself significantly. Learning a language is a significant change.
My desire to see the world grew as well.
2001 was the first year of this change. In 2002, I went to Australia to take a university preparation course in Tasmania, Australia. No, I didnâ€™t have to fight Tasmanian devils. Thatâ€™s not a requirement for one to enter university in Australia…
In 2003, I moved to Canberra, Australia after finishing the preparation course in Tasmania. I changed my mind a bit and I thought that going to university in Canberra would suit me better than going to university in Tasmania. 2003 was, for me, my first year in Canberra.
As I think about it, I didnâ€™t have many friends back then. I did have martial arts friends, which I think is funny. I guess a lot of international students would make friends with other international friends and some local Australian students. I didnâ€™t have these friends, but I had friends to smash each other through Judo. Oh yeah. Some of them were students, but many of them were not.
Letâ€™s put it this way again. 2003 was like a warm up period for me in Canberra.
Anyway, my life in Canberra got a little bit more interesting from 2004, because I started getting more, non-martial arts friends from 2004 onwards. Good. Iâ€™m going to skip a little bit here… Fast forward.
I finished my undergraduate study and came back to Japan in December 2006.
2001 to 2003. 2004 to 2006. Now what about 2007 to 2009?
Somehow, I happened to decided to go back to Canberra, and I went back there in July, 2007. Perhaps Iâ€™ll talk about this period more sometime, but not now. So, this one will be really short. I came back to Japan in September 2009. There you go, the 3 year pattern. Or the â€œbig changes in every third yearâ€ pattern might be more appropriate. I donâ€™t know.
2010. 2011. I made some huge changes in me throughout these years. But not as much as I wanted to make. One can always keep evolving.
So, whatâ€™s ahead of me in 2012? Letâ€™s just say goddamn big changes, for now. Iâ€™ve decided to leave Japan on 7 Feb. What does this mean to you? Maybe not much, because most of you have never met me in person. In terms of the content of this site, though, you can expect to read something more reflective, freshly delivered from the road, wherever that maybe.
Enough about me for now.
Iâ€™m curious. Whatâ€™s ahead of you in 2012?