Lost In Translation: A Traveler’s Manifesto

 

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Day 1: Honolulu International Airport (now renamed as the Daniel Inouye International Airport). The Inouye Scholars and Dr. Dennis Ogawa (University of Hawaii, Manoa American Studies Professor) 

 

One of my favorite movies of all time is Sofia Coppola’s Lost In Translation (2003). It is about two lonely Americans who falls into a platonic friendship. The movie’s title Lost In Translation has a deeper meaning than the language barrier between Japanese and English. Metaphorically speaking, it represents misunderstanding, missed opportunities, and above all else a disconnect.

Life is tricky. We are taught contradictory things on how to live. Never be the hare, but always be the tortoise. Always live in the moment, but also think about your future. Work hard as an ant, so you don’t end up like the grasshopper, begging for food in the winter. Save tons of money, but don’t be like Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge.

In our daily lives, we adhere to a routine. We mentally crave routine because having a list and knowing what comes next gives us a sense of security and stability. The downside to all this, of course, is the feeling of disconnect–that we are merely floating through life, acting like robots to the grind that we call “life.”

 

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Two Worlds Colliding: University of Hawaii at Manoa + Kyushu University  

 

I can’t speak on behalf of the group, but I float through life. I work hard, study harder, and hardly have a social life (maybe this could be the reason why I am single, but I digress). But how do I stop floating through life? Travel. I believe that everyone should travel. Travelers should go alone, with family, or with friends because the traveling experience drastically changes depending on who you are with and not necessarily where you are going.

 

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Dance in Front of the Train Station? Why not?!?!

 

 

This is my second trip to Fukuoka. Back in July 2014, my father and I visited Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Sawa, and Nagasaki. Although I had fun traveling with my dad, I had a different type of fun when visiting the same places. Ultimately, the company that you keep yields a drastic experience altogether. In this case, the Inouye Kakehashi Tomodachi Scholars (by the most part) were strangers that walked side-by-side through this experience, but during the short amount of time, became a team. We weren’t best friends vacationing, but rather new friends going through a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a side of Japan that most tourists wouldn’t have the chance to see.

 

Instead of buying Umegae mochi (top photo), I got to make it (bottom left photo). Granted, the one I made is not as pretty as the one I bought, but because I made it, it tasted better. Somehow the experience of making the Umegae (bottom right photo) made it more appetizing and satisfying in my belly. Furthermore, watching my friends laugh and tease each other as we were making it has forever been ingrained into my memory, whereas my memory of purchasing of Umegae is kind of hazy and faded. I made a cultural connection, and I loved it. The cultural experience of making Umegae is something I would have never experienced while in Hawai’i.

These experiences are what I consider moments of connection. These moments–as fleeting as it may be–stands as a reminder that people weren’t born to pay bills. So to my fellow readers and travelers, I leave you with my favorite quote about life and travel:

We are not told of things that happened to specific people exactly as they happened; but the beginning is when there are good things and bad things, things that happen in this life which one never tires of seeing and hearing about, things which one cannot bear not to tell of and must pass on for all generations. Murasaki Shikibu

Happy Travels. Be Grounded.

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