Spent Christmas evening at Roppongi Hills. After grabbing din dins, we headed to the Sky Deck to enjoy the most awesome views of Tokyo we've ever seen in the open air - photos soon. Then after chucking out time at 11pm, we wandered around the grounds of Roppongi Hills.
As we take another photo walk, I thought I'd cover a topic that I've been meaning to talk about for a while - my having-no-idea-what-I-want-to-do-in-life-teenage-years.
While classmates in secondary school would answer "Computer Engineer" or "Fireman" when asked what they wanted to do later in life, I had no idea what I wanted from life. Being locked up in doors while being brought up in a foster home and being bullied for most of my schooling life wasn't exactly the ideal environment to get inspiration for what I wanted from life.
Ended up taking courses in college just because classmates chose those subjects. Completely failed the exams two years later and retook another year for another attempt - Computer Science failed, Design barely passed. English failed.
I know the reasons why I didn't do well in college - I hated it. I knew I had to go but didn't know why. The bus ride from Hackney to Leyton was so depressing. I would look out the window from the top floor of the double decker thinking that I wanted more from this life but didn't know what it was.
Arriving at college, I would go to class and try to concentrate on the blackboard. Sitting at the back of the class near the window, I always ended up looking out at the trees by the college gate waiting for something to happen.
Had no interest in Computer Science at the time - it wasn't hands on at all and more about theory.
Did have interest in Design but the teacher was more of a just-get-on-with-it-and-do-what-you-want type person.
I think it was after college when I spent some time at my dads shoe design studio where I learnt how to design and make shoes. Had a few customers choose my designs too which I was quite please about.
While I was good at designing and making shoes, it wasn't quite what I wanted to do in life. There was still something missing.
After working at the studio for a while, I decided to take a business course in South London at the Elephant and Castle.
I cant remember a single thing that they taught that serves useful in running my business today. I do remember that there was a print buying class but don't remember anything that actually helped me when I was ordering print while working for Nature.
Not sure what business courses are like these days but most business practices are going to be effectively learned in the office environment and not in a class - please do correct me if courses are different these days.
My interests at the time had evolved to liking import game machines. My first machine was a Sega Mega drive. There was a place in Tottenham Court Road which sold import game machines. I would go there to see what new games they had in stock and thats where I first started to meet others who were interested in Japanese culture and games.
Conversations with others who shared the same interest stimulated my hunger for more information about games and Japan. I started to look for Japanese game mags at the Japan Center in Piccadilly where I came across anime and idol mags too. The more I submerged myself in the culture, the more I started to realize where my passion was - to live and work in Japan.
I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do in Japan. I just had a burning desire to be there. At the time, I didn't have any contacts, knowledge, experience or any idea of how I was going to get to Japan but tried to do everything possible given my environment in London to get me closer to my goal - the first thing being to Learn Japanese.
From reading that Learn Japanese article, you will learn how I came to live and work here and this article goes into detail of how exactly I landed myself a job in Japan.
A student reader of dccom (who we shall call Harry) is excellent at playing the violin. He says that he hates it but believes that its the only thing thats able to get him into colleges. He said he wants to work in the anime or Japan related field but has no idea what to do.
I see Harry as being in a good position because at least he knows what he wants. He just does not know how to get there.
Life would be easy if Harry knew how but the game of life was not created in a way where we all knew exactly how things were going to turn out. Life wants to give us the pleasure of learning and experiencing.
The advice I would give Harry is to just start doing "something" because doing nothing will lead to nothing - doing something always leads to something. Doing something leads to:-
-Learning. Learning gives us information that we need to make judgments and the new found knowledge enables us to pinpoint how, what, where and who to ask.
-Experience. By doing something, one gains experience which is unique to each person because we all interpret events differently. As one gains experience of something, one will learn how they want to go about things. Things may not always work out but we wont know until we start by trying.
-I say "things may not always work out" above but in fact they do. This is because when something didn't go according to plan, we go about other ways of trying to reach our destination until we are successful. I always look on life with optimism and see obstacles or events that don't go according to plan as great opportunities to improve or take a different direction.
Up until a while ago, I would easily get depressed when faced with huge problems. The problems are only huge because I made them huge.
I'm not going to tell Harry what to do but can guide Harry - but its him who has to walk through the door.
If Harry is truly passionate about anime/Japan, he should take a look at the environment, people, tools and facilities available to him and consider how he can make good use of them to get to his destination.
I beleive that if Harry continues to explore possibilities that he will reach his destination. His passion and focus will enable him to get there.
The human race is still relatively young and we all have basic needs. One of the needs is to eat.
If you just sat in front of your computer for hours on end, most of you will eventually get up from your desk and seek food.
If there is nothing in the refrigerator or cabinets, you will either call for a pizza or go out to get something.
If all the shops around you were closed, you would travel to another part of town to seek food. You could alternatively wait until the morning when the shops open but you will still go out to get food.
The point I'm trying to make here is that if you really want something, you have the ability to get it.
Some of us have health constraints that may prevent us from easily doing stuff but if you are relatively healthy and can easily move around then you really don't have any excuse to do nothing.
Now I would like to talk about something I call the "Comfort Zone."
The comfort zone is where one is content with their current situation and I'm going to use an ex colleague who I shall name as Sally. Sally had a job doing what she was good at (web design) and had a small team to manage. She had a good salary and good working hours considering that it was Tokyo.
But she wanted more from her life than just being content - she wanted to be happy. My personal interpretation is that being happy and being content are two different things. Being content fulfills basic human needs of being able to eat and have shelter. Being happy is going a step further and fulfilling the need to live ones passion.
One day, I asked Sally why she didn't start to do something about her situation. She said that she was waiting for somebody to give her an opportunity. When I asked "who", she said "I don't know..."
OK, I've babbled on for a bit now go going to wrap up with a few takeaways:-
-I've previously recommended to identify and do what one is good at but my beliefs have changed since then and firmly beleive that one should do what one is most passionate about instead. My beliefs are that doing something you are passionate about will actually get you further in life. The reason is that with passion and focus, you can achieve anything anyway. And if you are passionate about what you are good at then even better.
-Think long term - not short term. Working in a field where you are doing something you are good at but not passionate about may enable you to be content and feed you but you are likely going to have the "what-if" burning inside of you until the day you die.
Money is indeed important in this society we live in and I understand that one may need to do something that one may not exactly like to make ends meet. But, one can also be doing something on the side at the same time (learning, experiencing, meeting) in order to fulfill ones real passion.
Many people make excuses for themselves like "but I got no time to do X" or "by the time I get home I'm so tired." These people are actually their own biggest obstacle because they build a tall wall of an excuse to do nothing.
If one can make time to eat, poo and pee then one can make time if they are passionate enough to start learning, experiencing, building or meeting. Lets encourage ourselves - not discourage buy making excuses.
-Do something - anything. Do it now. If you are not sure what to do, just start by doing anything! I may make it sound plain and simple but in fact it is. Something leads to something. Nothing leads to nothing.
-Finally, life is short. One may not appreciate just how short it is while we are young but really start to understand as we get older. I'm in my late 30's now and am under no illusion whatsoever that I'm going to die at old age - I could die anytime like any of us. I want to ensure that I died while living a life doing what I love most. Dont want to live forever and am happy with the time I've been given and will make sure I make the most of it.
I could have chosen 15 years(ish) ago to stay content making shoes (which I was good at) back in London. I chose happiness instead and took the steps needed one by one to get me where I am today. Life is great and I love my job and life in Japan. You can acheive anything with passion and focus.
End of lecture ^^; More lectures in the motivational category.
The Japanese are eager to get rid of the Christmas decorations by evening of the 25th...
Trees are cut and bagged up with the decorations still in place. Nearly forgot to mention that many of these photos have been uploaded to my Wallpaper Pool.
Edit:Another thing I forgot to mention - you may notice that all photos in this article are larger than the usual. I've set Mirai Gaia to build large photos in the article if there are less than 21 photos. Lemme know if you had probs viewing.