Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Is it ok to play with your dog if you are sick? I'm sensing a bad cold and heavy fever coming ... Well, maybe Quan-quan would be happy about the fact that he could be relieved from the dull trick of sitting down and handing out his front paw even though all he wants is a bite of the biscuit.
I don't ever seem to sleep much except during my time at home. 反正天塌下來了還有老媽幫我撐著。Wish for once I could feel that way when I'm abroad, living alone. 在國外啥事總得自個兒來，生病當然不例外。抱著如此的憂患意識也就過了八年。八年，大半的青春喔 ~
Today a good friend of mine celebrated her xxth birthday. Somehow women start wondering about life and aging and the rest of life once the quater-of-a-century passes. Even though the borderline of 負け犬 has increased till the age of 30, some peculiar, worriesome thoughts begin to arise much earlier than that. 要不然 Ally McBeal 又怎麼能拍到第六季呢？
A friend of a friend passed away two days ago. Liver cancer, at the age of 35, one month to go from the point of discovery. What would I do if one day I wake up at the age of 35 and realize that I only have a month to go? What would I regret about? What would I continue to hope for? How would I spend that remaining month? Would I choose to spend it alone, or would I gather all my close and loved ones near me even though seeing them may bring even greater sadness?
Somehow I'm certain that there's one thing that I would be regretting about if put in the same circumstance - the silly confidence or expectation that life will go on for a long time and thus I've chosen to "wait" upon a lot of things to happen in future tense b/c I simply can afford to.
"I love that person and I want to be with him. But it's ok, we'll have many more years to go so it's better to build up myself first, focus on my career, enjoying my time alone as much as possible before that 'many more years' hit."
"I want to be able to finally write whatever that I want to write and write things that are influential to others. But it's ok, I still have many more years to come, so I should just focus on accumulating knowledge and experiences for the greater stories to come."
"I want to be able to help those who are poor, sick, in hunger or need of company. But hey, I'm merely a poor graduate student and what spare money do I have to give or what spare time do I have to offer? It's ok, I'll wait till I finish my degree, and then maybe I'll spend a year or two doing peace corps or community services. Or maybe I can wait till I retire and have all the time of the world to offer up myself."
"I want to have a family and experience what is it like to be a wife and a mother. But I better wait b/c a modern, new woman is supposed to know how to be alone, perform as well as men, and live as independently as possible. Having a family at an early age may hinder the chance of maturing as a fully independent woman."
Such are the thoughts that I've carried with me as I live each day, as if today is solely for the purpose of a greater tomorrow. Sure, there's nothing wrong with keeping our hopes and dreams high and building foundations so that they could be realized. But what if one day life ends before those dreams and hopes are realized? Am I sacrificing too much along the way only so that the future may be more beautiful than now?
Some people say we should live each day with the consciousness that there may not be tomorrow. But if we just go on doing what we want and desire at the moment, we fall into the trap of being short-sighted. A certain things are meant to be waited upon, yet a certain things are meant to be done and experienced now. Where is the balance?
梅ちゃん at 2:25:00 AM
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I did a quick mental calculation in my head on the subway today. For so far 9 months out of the whole year in the year 2006, I've spent 10 days in Europe, 6 months in Boston, 2 months in Japan, 2 weeks in China and 3 weeks in Taiwan. 3-4 major locations in 9 months - that's an average of about one major transition in every 3 months.
And these are not city to city transitions, these are country to country transitions.
Granted that I'm able to speak different languages that allow me to have at least one good venue of communication in each location, there's no doubt that a transition is a transition.
I still don't know why a plate of plain, dull salad would cost more than a sandwich at Au Bon Pain. And I also don't know why they keep calling all sesame dressing "Asian sesame dressing" when there's no such a thing in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or South East Asia. Maybe Japan.
I still don't know why Americans regard potato chips, chocolat chip coockies, and a can of soda part of a healthy and well-balanced lunch meal.
And I can't figure out why each time when someone gets robbed around campus, the security alert mass-email from the Harvard Police Dept reads - "since the incident did not occur on Harvard University Campus, it is currently under investigation by the Cambridge police department."
Even though we never get a second email from the Cambridge polic dept.
I still don't understand why Japanese girls these days wear 3-4 pieces of tank tops on them, one layer on top of another. (the other day when I was doing my regular round of observation on the subway in Tokyo, I thought about naming this the latest "套裝" fashion in Japan and writing a huge entry on it).
I still don't understand why Japanese men smoke like crazy (probably 2 packs a day) but on average can live till the age of 81.
I'm still dumbfounded by how many Japanese couples who got married b/c of wetlock pregnancy (I can already name 6 couples that I've met or known of as acquintances who fall into this category; I don't even think I know more than 10 couples in my little social circle in Japan).
I still wonder how many more decades it's going to take for Chinese people to realize that one should smile and nod and say "sorry" or "thank you" if he/she is approached by a customer AT WORK. Also, I wonder if they would ever realize that a obento lunch box should not be taken out in public and devoured in public AT WORK.
I also still wonder how many more new schools in the countryside the Chinese gov't may be able to build, how many people may be benefited from a better health care system, or if the entire forbidden palace can be fully restored to its original beauty for preservation purposes had the gov't decided not to host the 2008 Olympics in the first place.
Nor can I ever image anybody reaching to the Olympics stadium in Beijing on time given its current traffic condition.
Although I can imagine the gov't convincing the Beijing citizens to stay home for a month straight in order to allow for the foreign visitors to roam freely on the streets under the name of "loving the nation."
And tonight while walking home, I was wondering - dude, with all the night markets in Taiwan and explosive amount of yummy food supplies on the streets 24-7, will Taiwan one day become a country of obesity?
Also, are the majority of Taiwanese people night owls? I for sure saw more high school kids, obasan's and ojisan's on the subway tonight on my way home than those on the last night train home in Tokyo.
I thought I've understood these societies well enough.
Or maybe it's only me who's the weird one, always looking at things from a outsider's point of view.
梅ちゃん at 3:28:00 AM
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
OverdueAfter a whirlwind of traveling for 12 days non-stop in China, I came back to Japan and spent the following 3 days paralyzing in heat and mosquitoes bites. I'm not sure if it's age that's catching up on me or the fact that I've spent too much time in well developed countries i.e. the states and Japan, my time in China this time was a lot more exhausting than I thought.
The fact that I flew in from Japan must have somehow affected my tolerance for lack of order and people's poor public manner. The heat I could take, the packed crowds I got used to quickly, and even the flying trash in the middle of the road I'd learned to ignore, but in China, there was one thing that I couldn't stand - noise and people's loud-speaking manner.
Oh, and the service attitude. Hang-zhou has somehow gotten a lot worse this time. Or maybe I've just been too pampered by the excellent customer service in Japan.
But other than that my time in China was great and well spent, a little too spent in terms of the number of hours for walking in heat.
These days I wonder if my body functions a lot faster than my mind. Or that my mind simply can't process all the things that I physically experience. This is the problem with traveling so much in such short amount of time. Everywhere I go, I collect receipts, tickets, pamphlets, and brochures, and I write up my own travel itinerary and a budget list by the end of the day. I intend to use these things to retain memories of all the precise little moments and thoughts taken place during the trip. "I need this ticket in order to remember which train I took" or "This receipt will help me remember what dishes we devoured over dinner last night," I told myself. But the fact is - when the trip is done, I never have time to sit down and go through all the pieces of papers collected for a fascinating travelogue. And most of the reason why I don't have time is either my next trip has started or some important next stage in life has begun.
Years ago I thought maybe when the next winter or summer break comes, I'll still be able to retrace all the precious moments and thoughts gathered during the previous trip and write up a nice travelogue or some few pages of summary. Yet when the next summer break comes, I again pack up my suitcase and fill my schedule till there's no room for regurgitation. Reminisce still comes, but only during the down moments of an over-night train ride or a 12-hour plane flight.
I'm beginning to feel that this may be how the rest of my life is going to pan out. Perhaps this is why people eventually end up writing a memoir when they finally get old and have time to sit down to retrace, recollect, and recreate. And that's also why memories already read more interestingly than real life. Even at this very moment as I'm writing up this entry, my memory has already failed me. Imagination and beautification begin to take place, and nostalgia takes center stage.
This is why I don't believe that the dan-dan-men (dan-dan-noodle) that my dad had when he was young, down in some dark alley in the middle of the night, really is all that much better than the "real" dan-dan-men from Si-chuan these days. But nostalgia will always convince him that it was the best dan-dan-men in the world that has long been lost. Nor did the Sapporo beer really taste that much better back in the 60's compared to now had it not been his first time drinking it accompanied by great summer heat and fresh sashimi.
Although I'm not sure if I want to wait for that long for my well-fabricated memoir to come to the world. The struggle with never-enough-time and failure of memory will always be there, but my mac powerbook G4 and blogger will also be there to remind me of the importance to write.
As well as to keep taking pictures, even though my iPhoto is still exploded with 25000 pics. I better do something before my iPod explodes next as well ...
So much overdue in life.
梅ちゃん at 9:26:00 PM