Last year, in the night of January 1, 2011, I dreamed of climbing a mountain from where I could see a giant Mt. Fuji glowing red in the evening sun – a good omen of hatsuyume that my empty life as a Tôkyô paper-pusher would soon come to an end. A few weeks later I was promised a job at the Asian Rural Institute in Tochigi – a place that had deeply impacted me some seven years before. I was thrilled to be able to return there, living sustainably through organic farming, and to serve a good purpose. I shaved my beard – first time in a decade – and enjoyed some free days with my girlfriend.
Then the earthquake came.
What I felt during the time afterward was something I’ve never known before. A sense of helplessness, mortality, anger and confusion. It was time for me to make adult decisions. Ones that will shape the course of your life. Like not to panic, but to stay in a country overwhelmed by crisis. Like moving to a place 60 miles away from a leaking atomic reactor. You take a leap of faith. You hold on to the calling you think you’ve received. You don’t understand at that time, but you trust it will be alright in the end. Whatever happens, God is there.
Twothousandeleven. I learned about the arbitrary nature of death. Whether it strikes the 77 in Norway or among my close friends or some desert tyrant. Even the disgusting lifeform that tyrannised North Korea met its sudden end. Life. It can be washed away by gruesome waves in an instant. Or it slowly decays from the inside, under the rays of radioactive particles you swallow every day. White hairs on my head like silent estrays. It’s wonderful to be alive, but I’ve never felt so old.
Zweitausendelf. Lady Gaga proved once and for all that you can get rich from Scheiße while the weapon of mass stupidification AKB48 (that pop-girl militia whose name already sounds like some kind of machine gun) fired their katyushas at our braincells, the system’s counterattack on those raising their voices against the hollow shells our democracies have become. Pandora’s box broke open on March 11. There is no right life in the wrong one. I understood this sentence for the first time. We need to repent from competition and cynicism, from the corruption of culture through commercialization, from corporations contaminating children with consumerism, from the specter of Capitalism altogether.
The Asian Rural Institute hints at a right way of life. No system against the system, but something very basic, very human. There it was again, the ARI miracle of community. Through all the unnerving situations of MMXI, I experienced love. We support each other. We stand together. The will to fight back, the will to resist. I worked like a sushi chef on fire. Throw your order at me, I’ll do it.
Nisenjûichi-nen. This year I read a lot and found consolation in art. I wrote against cults but joined the iPhone sect. New camera equipment. (The money I spent this year, ojwawej. Another sign of adulthood?) I’m sorry I let the blog fall into coma. There’s just so much to do… And like a flower unfolding its blossoms one by one, God lightens up my path. 2011 was a good year. I could recognize my dream. For 2012, I’ve got a plan.
Best Films 2011
“The Tree of Life” by Terrence Mallick
“The Social Network” by David Fincher
“Into Eternity” by Michael Madsen
“Soul Kitchen” by Fatih Akin
“The Fighter” by David O. Russell
Best Music 2011