I was born in the States and had to move to Japan when I was 12, right after seventh grade.
I hated that I had to move.
I hated the fact that I was Japanese because that was why I had to move away from a place I was so familiar with.
I hated the fact that my parents put me in a very strict all-girl private school.
I hated feeling humiliated in this new school because I was academically behind. SO behind.
I used to study Japanese by reading Japanese comic books but I guess that was not enough because I was called into the teacher’s office one day to be told that the scores that I was getting for the Kanji tests were not acceptable.
Kanji is the Chinese characters that we use in Japan… ONE of the characters we use because we also use Hiragana and Katakana.
But this Kanji thing is the one that looks like a little bundle of scribbles and if you miss one tiny brush of a whisker, UNACCEPTABLE.
I remember thinking…. I HATE KANJI!!!! but I studied it and I practiced it until I was able to read and write these bundles of scribbles.
This memory came back when I was studying to be an interpreter for David Kim’s Yin Yoga teacher training in Tokyo.
I usually don’t teach Yoga in Japanese and I am not an interpreter… but when David asked me to be his interpreter and I instinctively said, “SURE!” I noticed that I had to study Japanese… again.
But as I studied Yoga and anatomy vocabularies in Japanese, I realized how beautiful this language is and how beautiful Kanji is.
Kanji characters are like a poem because one character has a meaning. For example, I write my last name “Hamaya” 浜家 in Kanji. “Hama” 浜 means “beach” and the character for “ya” 家 means “house” so my last name means “beach house.”
For this reason, studying anatomy in Japanese was not as difficult as I initially thought and I actually enjoyed it. I noticed that certain muscle names or bone names when written in Kanji tells you what it does or where it is just by knowing the Kanji characters.
Not only did i enjoy studying and preparing for this interpreting gig, but I also enjoyed this new experience of being an interpreter in my home country using this beautiful Japanese language.
I am so grateful for that time many MANY years ago that I felt so humiliated that I studied this language.
With only a few more days before I go back home to the States, I’ve noticed that I love this country Japan and I love the Japanese language and of course … I LOVE Japanese food 😋
Join me and Stacie Reeve in beautiful Central California for a Yoga retreat where Stacie will be teaching Yang (flow) Yoga in the morning and I will be teaching Yin Yoga and meditation in the evening. Link for the retreat below ⬇️