Let’s the laughing!
I am on the train going back home after an evening of serving. It is 12:00 am. The restaurant that I work at will be closing soon and I will find myself in a new work environment- Universal Studios Japan.
I had training there last week and was unlike anything else I have ever experienced. From 10:00 AM in the morning to 6:00 PM at night, I was taught how to stand correctly and how to relax your face with smiling exercises.
Thinking about new work scares me. In the start of any new endeavor, I am always afraid of doing things incorrectly. When I first began at the Spanish restaurant, I was nervous and slightly dreaded the pressure of having to answer to my boss if I made a mistake. Confrontation is not my strong point, but the restaurant experience these past five months was the perfect balance and I am thankful I had the chance to work there.
Juggling the house work, studies, multiple jobs, exercise and play I sometimes I feel like I am in over my head. However, at the end of the day after an evening of waitressing, I smile as I walk home because I am so happy to have the chance to learn.
Cheers to all of the beautiful things and opportunities that surround me. Thank you so much for it all.
I smile at the clothes that are hanging from the line. I look down at the potato garden that is overgrown. I feel my lungs take in a breath while my heart beats away steadily. I have a lot to take in, and yet there are times I turn my face away from the beauty. I say no to what is happening in front of me today because of a bad mood or a cough. I say no to today because of social pressures and the stress I conjure up in my own head. I say no to today because of laziness and fear. I don’t want to say no anymore.
To take in each lovely moment and reply with,
Many do not know ourselves well enough to know. With busy schedules and chores weighing us down everyday, it is hard to spend some thinking time asking the big questions to help ourselves figure it out.
One year ago as I was walking down the hill on the way to work, I confronted myself for the first time with the question, What is it that I really want? Do I want fame? Do I want to be a singer? Do I want a boyfriend?
I tried to be as honest with myself as possible, and when I came down to it, I realized that what I had truly wanted in that moment was for my sister to become successful.
A few days passed by and I forgot about the secret wish that I had made that morning and to both of our surprises, she got an email from the head design coordinator from the band Mr.Children(one of the most famous groups in Japan) asking for her to design the CD cover for their next single. We were jumping around with excitement. What an incredible chance!
It was only later in the evening that I had remembered I had wished for my sister’s success later in the week. Was it just a coincidence? It could have been, but perhaps because I put in enough brain effort to figure out what I really wanted, the universe was willing to grant it to me.
Asking myself, What do I want? became a habit. No other wishes have come true yet, but there is no harm in discovering more about yourself through the question.
What do I want? Do I want fame? Do I want to travel all around the world? Do I want to write a novel? I asked myself again this morning. Do I want to go to university? Do I want a new laptop? Do I want to become a millionaire? Nope. There is only one thing I want now: to not have made any mistakes on the bills from my busy day at the restaurant yesterday evening.
The first week of June is almost ready to bid us farewell. I woke up early this morning and grabbed my laptop first thing to check my messages and Facebook. Although I have a number of goals from here on end, I would say that killing my reflex of immediately reaching for my electronics would be high on the list.
Because we have been having lovely hot weather recently, I decided to take up a new challenge: Planting potatoes! I have been told that even if you have never worked with vegetables, the potato plant is a great place to begin. I bought healthy soil, followed the instructions I found on the internet, and after a month I was pleasantly surprised to find actual plants coming out of the ground. I showed them off to whoever stepped in the door and talked with neighbors to see if they could give me some tips. I was hoping to harvest my first crop this year, but after a trip to Korea I came back home to my house to find potatoes that had been long neglected while I was away. There was absolutely no rain while I was gone, and the potatoes started to rise out of the dirt, exposing themselves to the hot sun.
I was sad at the possibility of my potato planting efforts being in vain. However, as I was walking back home from the station this past week, I saw my neighbor Morita-san walking up the mountain ahead of me. He lives two minutes down the hill and he loves to talk about gardening. I ran up the mountain to catch up to him. In the beginning of my potato planting adventure, I mentioned often to him that I started making use of the big plot of land that I have. He would give me loads of advice and was excited about my new hobby. I was sad to have to let him know this time about the bad news. He immediately invited himself over to the house and told me he would check on them and give me a diagnosis.
He jumped right in and started covering the potatoes with dirt. He instructed me that no matter what you do, you have to hide them from the sun unless you want to eat very bitter vegetables. After a few minutes, he bid his farewell with a, “帰るわ！ Kaeruwa!”, and left as quickly as he came.
I followed his instructions and covered my precious potatoes with dirt and weeded the garden. I thought that that would be the end of gardening for this week, but this morning I heard a loud pounding on my front door at 8:00 AM. Who would that be at this time? My sisters? My mom?
I let out a timid, Hello? with no answer and slowly opened the door to find Morita-san with gloves and a little bag in hand. I was surprised to see him so early. He had come again to help with the garden and also had brought new sweet potato plants to grow. After working in the garden for a bit, he explained to me what I had to do, and again was quickly on his way.
After he left I watered my new sweet potatoes and headed back into the house with a smile on my face. I now have something better to do than going straight to the internet in the morning: working on my new potatoes from Morita-san.
The restaurant that I currently am working at is an interesting place. Located in the middle of Kita-horie(Osaka, Japan), the upperclass side of the city, it is a little gem on the right-hand corner coming from Yotsubashi Station. It is a Spanish restaurant, with Paella, Tortilla, Pil Pil, all of that great Spanish food that you know and love, cooked by the chef from India that has owned the place for about nine years.
I have only been there for about three months, but I have learned a lot. I remember the first day that I started, Bunny gave me a run-down of the ropes and it freaked me out for a minute because it was a lot more to remember than the previous shop that I had worked at. The challenge was super refreshing though, and coming home yesterday I realized that working there has been a dream come true.
I made a list in my head of what kind of place I would like to work at a couple of years ago.
- A place where have a friendly relationship with other staff and the boss
- A place that had food that I would really recommend to family and friends
- A place that didn’t seat too many people.
I had forgotten about the list I had made in my head, and walking home yesterday it floated back to my memory.
Bunny was born in India and grew up in Switzerland. His culinary career started in France and after coming to Japan worked in fancy places like the Hyatt before starting his own restaurant. He can speak seven languages, which I am sure is useful in the restaurant business(or any business for that matter) and likes hiking around on his free days with his two adorable children.
It is my favorite out of the three jobs that I have now, and hopefully I can be there for a while. The shop’s name is Poron Poron, and sadly will close at the end of July. Bunny is hoping to decide on a new place and have a different theme for a change. I am sure that anyone after nine years of Spanish food would be tired.
Let me know about the place you work. How is the boss? Is the atmosphere good? How did you remember the menu? Can you take peoples orders without writing it down? How much do you know about your co-workers? What have you learned from your job so far? Where is it? Will you be there a long time? What makes you a valuable employee there?
If anyone is in Japan, or is interested in coming please let me know and will treat you to a Paella!