I hope this new blog will be about how Japan changes me. I'm calling it 'Into the Ring of Fire' because that is where, literally and metaphorically, I will be traveling. In the literal sense, Japan is located within a horseshoe shaped zone called the Ring of Fire, which is home to 90% of the world's earthquakes. The island of Japan, like most islands, was itself created by volcanic fire and molten lava. In the metaphorical sense, I hope to be re-forged by the fires of Japan, like metal forged into a sword by a fiery hearth and lots of work. Moving to another country is a big risk and will forever change who I am, hopefully for the better.
What changes do I expect to find in Japan? What dreams and goals do I hope to accomplish in the ring of fire? The short answer is that I don't know, but I love Japan and I believe we have to pursue and explore the things we love. I don't really know where this journey will lead me, but there are a few things I hope to accomplish along the way. I've already talked about why I love Japan and how the Japanese language was the spark of this love affair. So I hope to become fluent while in Japan. I also hope to see the world from another culture's perspective and as a minority. I believe this will make me wiser, more compassionate and understanding. And lastly, I hope to enjoy the thrill of exploration. Ever since my Dad first introduced me to Star Trek as a child, I've always wanted to set off on an adventure and follow in Captain Kirk's footsteps to, "...explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations.." Those words from the opening credits of Star Trek have always stuck with me and I feel they are a big reason why I'm taking this leap into the unknown. I'm ready to boldly go, to explore new worlds and talk about it on my new Captain's (b)log. (sorry for the bad joke, but I couldn't resist) Perhaps Japan will be the first stop of many new places abroad where we will live and explore, or maybe it will captivate us so much that we'll never want to leave, or perhaps we'll realize how much we miss home and we'll return to America with a greater appreciation of our birth nation.
This journey comes with many risks and sacrifices, but life is all about finding the right risks to take. One of my favorite country musicians, Garth Brooks, once sang,"Cause it's not enough to just stand outside.... Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire." I know life looks dangerous inside the ring of fire, but nobody every got anything spectacular by playing it safe. When it comes to dreams and matters of the heart, there is only one way to get what you desire, and that is by going into the ring of fire. So here I go.
Cheesy 1994 Music Video of Garth Brooks' 'Standing Outside the Fire'