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Reflections of a busy man.

Hi guys, just wanted a really apt title. If you’re wondering about why I haven’t blogged (probably aren’t but as the narcissistic man I am I shall tell you XD), it’s because well, things have been popping up left and right recently. Right, I know I promised posts about Japan, and I will get to it, now that I have slightly more time on my hands.

If you’re wondering what’s been tying me down, oh well, then you won’t be surprised by my answer. Music, Japanese and training/health. Oh and listening to this soundtrack really soothes my soul. It was comfort for me two years ago, while I lay awake, not knowing what the future held for me, in my bunk in Pulau Tekong. I sing the first song Ubugoe, on the playlist a lot. It reminds me so much of a mother soothing her child to sleep.

Let’s talk about the milestone I just reached. Just yesterday, I completed my N4 Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Which calls for both a celebration and reflection. I prepared painfully for it, spending more than a month doing assessment books and studying ahead of my class. I… Really feel like I’ve achieved something in this short span of time. I feel invigorated by this milestone too. Even though I haven’t got my results back, AND even if I fail this test (highly unlikely), I feel like I’ve progressed so much. And I felt the need to reflect and be happy about this progress. It’s important to celebrate your successes as much as reflect on your failures.

Besides that, my new band has taken off to a rocky rocky start. In my previous post, I believe, the band’s bassist had only been found, but now, the pianist, or keyboardist, has just replaced Yu Hng. Losing my constant musical companion was painful for me. I felt lonely for the first time as I started to face these obstacles alone. But I think I’ve grown too comfortable with his companionship, and leaned on him so much that I became weak myself. It’s time for the cub to hunt on his own (subtle reference to the movie from the OST xD).

So for now, the band is experiencing one of it’s rockier times. The singer is unsatisfactory, so we tried to reel in the drummer’s friend. She’s a great singer, but the more senior members (as in age) in my band (namely the bassist and the keyboardist) feel that she lacks the passion for the band. Along with her passive, introverted personality that also won’t do us any good with audiences.

Ah, being in a band, I had some moments where I felt so afraid. Like I felt so scared people would judge me for my skills and all… But now it’s like, people politics and all. I don’t like that bit, especially when everyone has differing views, and the only way out is to find a tenuous compromise. And me, well, I was always one to go with the flow, stay out of the way. You know, like any introvert would.

I try to be accommodating to everyone, but I feel like it’s a pretty difficult thing to lead just a band of 5 of us. Well, maybe one of them is the most difficult of all, but even she does it for the band. Everyone wants the band to succeed, albeit at varying degrees. And it’s this difference in commitment that I find so small, yet it has such a big impact on all of us, whether or not you’re directly involved in conflict. But I will do my best. As I always have. I want this to succeed too.

Now to get on with more miscellaneous matters (I had to use word correct to find out how to spell misc btw LOL). With matters pertaining to my health, I’ve never been better. I mean I have been stronger and faster back in JC, but I was not happy nor satisfied. Now I am both. Spiritually, I accept myself for where I am at, and am content to work slowly with what I have (not just for health but Japanese. Music… well, I’m still trying to get over my lack of ability at this age LOL). And I am content. I lost quite a bit of fat, and my stomach is pretty flat now. Got some work to do still, so I’m not over with it just yet. I can’t start a tough regime now due to my commitments, but I will work at this. Exercising like every alternate day, and hitting different muscles each time. I like it. Never felt better.

Also I have been more careful with my diet, and am eating within my means, and am avoiding all the sugars and mean stuff. I realized I let things into my mouth too casually, and I paid for it. So I had an app, MyFitnessPal, that recorded all the food I ate (I had to manually log it). Then it became clear to me that my diet wasn’t the best because I ate in excess, and I take in too much sugar when I don’t mean to. So I’ve switched up what I drink (from KOI and Starbucks to tea, milk and coffee with milk only, less sweet), and am more careful with the amount I eat (normally I eat a bit too much, but the foods are more or less pretty okay foods, not particularly healthy all the time but good enough). So with all that in place, no secret, I lost a good amount of fat and am looking much better than I was last year, when I was reflecting on my health.

I am content. If a God exists, he has blessed me for my good work so far. But it isn’t over. I still want to become the best I can be. I will work at it, with all my heart.

It’s time to get cracking =D. Cya guys in my next few Japan blogs~


Japan Trip 2017 Day 1: Tokyo (First Half)

The Flight

The story starts with going to the airport at about 9pm. After packing my luggage and pondering about what else I had missed out, I set out for Changi Airport at about 7.45pm, arriving there at about 8pm. At this moment, I felt reluctant to leave home, and wanted to cancel the trip altogether. You know, that feeling when you kinda don’t want to go somewhere else and just wanna stay at home and rot and curl up into a ball and be lonely.

I have this tendency to resist change, and I feel it isn’t necessary to feel that way most of the time. After all, had I not overcome that initial feeling of reluctance, I would never have had such a wonderful experience in Japan.

Anyway, as soon as I reached the airport and saw the faces of my two friends, Yinqing and Yu Hng, all feelings of loneliness and reluctance faded away. They were their happy, jovial selves and it really made me feel much happier knowing I would embark on the trip with these two wonderful souls.

So after the meeting pleasantries, we settled on Swensens for our dinner. Which kinda made for the first inside joke of the trip, which was the Teriyaki Chicken Pasta which Yinqing chose to order on Yu Hng’s reccomendation. I recall having hamburger instead of what they ordered, and Yinqing was salty at the quantity of food he got. So from that point on we compared everything bad to Teriyaki Chicken Pasta.

Oh well, it’s not much but it was really such a warm gathering.

Isaac came, and we entered the departure hall after walking around and talking to him for about and hour or so.

I remember from that point onwards there wasn’t much to talk about so we sat outside our gate’s waiting room (because we were something like, 1 hour early) and used our phones. Not the most glamourous way of burning some time before a flight, but I think it was pretty late, so we were all tired. We boarded the plane at about 12 plus (AM) and we were greeted by the most polite and pretty stewardesses I have seen so far. I think I’m biased to Japanese women so don’t take my word for it. But the service on ANA was excellent. I felt really comfortable throughout the flight (and the flight back to SG).

I can’t quite remember what the breakfast was for the flight, but I know it tasted good. Especially the Soba they served with some packet sauce thing that was really salty but still tasted pretty good when paired with the noodles.

Anyway, fast forward and we touched down, and there were a few things we had to get settled. Firstly was the checking out process, and then secondly was getting our shit together for our rail passes and our transport to Shinjuku area. It was during this moment that my first Japanese conversation in real life unfolded. I was a bit flustered as I spoke my first few words with them, but after a while I was okay with it. So anyway, we finally were able to get our rail passes, and then we set off on the bus to Shinjuku shortly after. It was really easy and was a pretty smooth transition.

Meiji Shrine

I’m not gonna lie, at this point in time, we were tired as hell. After settling all the rail passes and checking in to our first AirBnB room in Shinjuku Gyoenmae (which was massively underwhelming, with a really small toilet), we were really sleepy and tired. Eager to stick to our schedule, we pressed on. It wasn’t a very good first experience because of the lack of sleep we had from the flight, as well as trying to find our room and stuff. I remember reaching the bridge that led to the shrine, and being extremely fatigued. I couldn’t appreciate the place well enough in that state.

We were greeted with a long route down to the shrine. While tired, I remember feeling the serenity of the place, despite my failing eyelids and all. There were bridges and display of Sake barrels all lined up nicely, and of course a brief description of what (the Sake barrels) they represented.

Honestly throughout the trip, I felt as if we rushed a lot of things, and we didn’t really take time to appreciate the history and descriptions of each location. I think it’s important, next time, to plan a more lax schedule to accommodate for this, and spend more time appreciating the historical significance of places and their culture.

So we went all the way to the shrine, and I took some pictures. Part of it was under renovation, but I went ahead and bought a two charms there, one for myself (I know that sounds so superstitious and kinda selfish) and Spud, my dog. There wasn’t much description as to what the charm was supposed to do, but I figured that it was a generic one to ward off the evils or something. I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll make a mental note to find out. And read up more on the medieval history of Japan.

TIME FOR SOME PHOTOS!

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First, the stunning view from the flight. I remember being captivated just by this view. Sadly, my phone camera doesn’t do these kinda photos justice, so oh well.

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ANNDDD TOUCHDOWN! Love the feeling of landing and taking off. Every time man. Such an exhilarating experience.

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The Sake barrels at the Meiji Shrine.

 

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The entrance to the shrine and the walkway. the leaves were neatly piled up, and I was surprised that I couldn’t find anyone around to clean them up. Maybe they just gather them and then clear them all up when the shrine closes?

 

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anddd the shrine!

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I believe this was the right side of the shrine (upon entering). You can see that there were renovations going on, and the shrine was still open, but I’m not sure if you could enter that wing. I saw some people enter though.20170418_162911.jpg

On the way in I saw this. I was on a bridge, and it was the first time I saw something quite like that. It has that peaceful Asian vibe that I really like. Ah I wish I lived near these kind of sites. So good for finding peace.

I have loads more photos but I feel these illustrate the day pretty well! And I’m kinda lazy xD. So… Deal with it. =P

So yeah, these are some photos of the trip. I’ll come up with another post on day 2 later this afternoon, after I’ve settled all the shit I need to do before lessons tomorrow and my band practice. CYA SOON!


Back From Japan!

Hi guys! I’m back from the land of the rising sun!

It’s been a long time since I posted, but yeah, basically I’ve ORDed and I went to Japan for a good 20 over days. 18 April to 10 May. I touched down yesterday at about 1235am.

ORD happiness aside, I miss Japan a lot right now. Like a tugging feeling of wanting to go back. I guess this is what it feels like to leave something you just fell in love with right? No matter, I can always go back anytime I have holidays, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

That said, I’d like to dedicate the next few days to putting up an elaborate review of my experiences here. That means uploading photos and stuff (although I am pretty lazy I shall force myself!)

I’d like to split the trip into multiple posts, so that I properly record down all the experiences and feelings I had. At first I brought a diary to pen my thoughts down there, but then we got lazy so there’s one slipshod entry right there. I find writing down my thoughts in a book way more awkward than typing them here, though they’re probably much the same thing.

Actually I wanted to blog a post on the trip tonight, but pressing issues have been keeping me busy till now.

Let’s just say they’re family issues, and that they’re probably not good to put up on a public site. You could ask me though. I probably would tell you if you’re able to read my blog already anyway.

OKAY. Enough emo. So how the next few days are going to pan out is that, I will type (within memory) all the experiences I had at each location. So this will mean that I will have a few posts in chronological order of my trip, and I wouldn’t put all of them out at once because I want them to be as elaborate as possible.

I feel like this has been an important milestone in my life, because it’s now that I truly realize my love for Japan. As a tourist anyway, but I really like what I see so far. Maybe I might live there and work there, but I haven’t seen the uglier side of the country yet, and that gives me enough reason to stay in SG for the moment.

That said, I have really beautiful memories of the place, and the photos will really show that.

Honestly, I’m really lazy about uploading photos, because I need to transfer them to the computer before uploading one by one, but I think a detailed record of my first time in Japan is well worth the few days of work I need to put in to make it. Besides, I like blogging anyway, and have been doing so since 6 years ago.

Well, I hope you enjoy the next few posts I will put up here within the next few days. Maybe I’ll wake up early tomorrow to blog! It’s 10 already so I have about an hour before I need to sleep. Since Japan is 1 hour ahead from us, it’s pretty easy for me to sleep early and wake up early now, and I’m not about to break that good habit.

Anyway,

それじゃ!


Reflections.

2 days away from serious musical practice.

2 days (nearly) of practicing mindful speaking.

It’s opened myself up to the world a bit more again. I feel like I have refreshed my outlook on music and life again after not pushing myself to repeat the same routine over and over. I feel like I am slowly freeing myself from the chains of monotony. Slowly, but surely.

I wouldn’t say I’m done reflecting, but I really feel that these few days, I have been so fixated on my goals that I forgot that living life is more important than chasing it.

Yes, I feel like I am chasing life.

As if I’m always running towards something, that I deem to be a worthy legacy of my life.

I think it’s important to look towards the future. But sometimes in doing so, we don’t live in the present. Always, I find my thoughts lean towards what I’m going to be in the future, and what I want for myself in the future.

Living in the present is also important. If we spend our whole lives trying to achieve something for the future, then we would always be chasing that.

Sometimes I forget that I’m human. That I make mistakes, and that I can’t work like a machine. Discipline has never been one of my strong points. But I guess I am too hard on myself when I am not disciplined.

I find myself rejecting friends who invite me out more often than not. And then I stay at home and do nothing but practice, then watch videos. It’s stifling sometimes. I need to give myself room to be human.

I feel I’ve not fully understood what it is to live my life. I haven’t formed a concrete opinion on how I can learn from the past few days’ events, but I guess I’ll see it eventually.

To my friends who read this blog, thank you for always looking out for me, and always supporting me. It means a lot when someone simply comes up to you and tell you that it’s okay.

And that it’s okay not to be perfect.


Slump.

Hi guys, I’d like to talk about the past few days and what I’ve been doing, what has been happening, both good and bad, and the days to come.

Recently I hit a wall. It’s sorta like a plateau, and its also sorta like a spiraling whirlpool downwards. Emotionally, I am at my lowest since last year. Which is pretty early considering it’s March.

Honestly one thing I’ve been considering is keeping my mouth shut. Because I tend to speculate, and assume the worst when it comes to what people will do. Honestly it’s not very healthy, and it’s not very nice for the people on the receiving end.

I tend to form negative opinions on others very fast. And get very annoyed with everything. I need to stop opening my mouth during these situations because either I will fuck up something, or assume something about someone based on my own judgement of his or her personality, and end up hurting someone.

Maybe I should just keep quiet more. I don’t know how, but I think I need to work on that first, then settle my negative opinions on others. I don’t wanna hurt anyone anymore.

And it’s been an arduous journey with my goals so far.

I want to say that I have been progressing, albeit at a slow pace.

Progress is still progress, but everything is fading to grey again.

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s okay for me to continue as I am. Like, you know, the me with so many flaws. The insensitive me, the me who doesn’t give a fuck, and the me who is selfish and undeserving.

Some people say imperfection is what makes people beautiful, but then, it’s difficult to say that when majority of the people you meet just pick on all your flaws. Including me on others.

Keeping my mouth shut, yes, that’s whats important right now. Whenever I want to say something related to other people and their personalities, I shall just keep it to myself. It’s gonna be difficult.

In the days ahead, I will spend a few more days in camp, and a lot of time at home. I think it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate, and try and move forward. Then I’ll be flying to Japan soon. It’s pretty fast, but I’m tired of dealing with people.

I just want to be alone.

 


Growth.

Hi guys, what’s up!

I feel like I’m going everywhere again. Being stretched out. But I think this time I acknowledge the fact that I can’t do everything and I should just focus on a few.

A few reflections on my work style. From today anyway. I find that if I don’t write down what I plan to do, I tend to drift away from the target and then waste the day away on one of my targets alone.

And when I do plan my day, I often plan too much. Then I’ll have too much to do and that ends up in frustration or disappointment at the end of the day.

I think there should be a balance and a system put in place for meeting my goals.

Firstly, I think I need to choose which of the 3 things of my life I need to work on (other than health and fitness, which I consider to be important everyday).

  1. Guitar
  2. Piano
  3. Japanese

I listed them in the order of importance. So Guitar will have to always pair with something else.

 

OR

HMMMMMM… 1 HOUR OF JAPANESE A DAY?!

Maybe if I treated Japanese like how I did fitness. HMMMMM.

I think I’m on to something.

Yeah. That way the rest of the day is mine and I can focus on anything I want. So something like, every alternate day switch main instrument. Oh MANNNN.

Okay. Now that you see my thought process, it’s time to put it into action. Oh MANNN.

Okay aside from that, I’m feeling my growth in my endeavours. Though small, I can feel it.

I think it’s important that we take joy in little things, so that when they amount to something big, we fully appreciate everything we’ve done up to that point. One mistake people have is that they must have big discoveries or progressive milestones every day. I think, slow but steady progress is actually what gives rise to those days or milestones, because they add up, it looks so sudden and big, but really, you’ve been working hard all that time.

Oh well, a few reflections before I make my way back to camp. Tomorrow (=P).

Oh, I forgot to mention, I had my first jamming session with my new band two days ago. We jammed at The Music Parlour, and it was great. I loved the place, the atmosphere and the equipment. It was also the first time in a long while that me and Yu Hng were able to jam together and sound pretty good, with the help of the drummer. I feel that’s what holds the band together. I feel happy. This band is going places. And we’re trying our hand at songs that will advance us. So many exciting things coming up. I love my life now man.

Anyway it’s 1 month before ORD, and I’m feeling it. I got 2 offs every week from now till April, and in between there’s a few events and my Medical Appointments.

So yeah, I like where my life is heading. I’m approaching a milestone.

Maybe that’s why I feel growth. HAHA.

Well, until the next blog post, I’ll be gritting my teeth through the week. See you guys.

 


Dearly Beloved.

Hi guys, I just got back from classes, and duty yesterday. It was a stale and uneventful Saturday but I got through it. Just a few updates before I meditate a bit.

I find that it’s so easy to waste time. Like really, if you procrastinated, you could lose an entire day that was meant for productive practice.

I feel like we need to constantly reaffirm ourselves with our goals in order to reach them. To keep seeing the big picture, because that’s what is going to motivate us when we are sitting there with our instrument, crying and begging it to give you what you want.

It doesn’t work that way. I had many instances where I was just sad, and I looked at my piano or guitar and asked it to give me more.

Obviously I had to put in the work. But sometimes we can’t help ourselves can we? Our youthful, willful selves.

What are the things that need to be done? What are the things I have to do? Why is it that sometimes I feel so shit and sometimes I’m high in the sky?

So many questions that I answered long ago, but I feel like I need to truly understand their answers.

By applying them.

Yeah, I guess it’s just the way it is right. Everyone struggles.