Thursdays are for Writing: My Journal

This morning I had breakfast with a group of girlfriends.  We are all expats in Tokyo – three Americans, two Canadians and a Korean and our kids attend the same school.  We started the most fascinating discussion about history, war and perspective.  One woman told a story about having a guide in a museum in Tokyo where she was looking at an exhibit on the bombing in Hiroshima. She apologized to the guide for the U.S. dropping that bomb.  But the Japanese guy turned around and apologized for bombing Pearl Harbor.  The Korean woman at the table pointed out that the Koreans were grateful to the Americans for ending the war and putting the Japanese in their place – even before the Second World War, the Japanese had been ruling Korea for thirty six years – having invaded the Peninsula before 1910.  One of the American women at the table said that gave her pause – she had never thought about it that way before.  The talk at the table turned to Asians and overt types of racism.  Asians often have problems with each other.  The Chinese don’t like the Japanese, the Japanese don’t like the Koreans and the Koreans don’t like the Japanese either.

This is where I took out my journal.

I scribbled notes on the conversation as it continued.  The women debated the merits of overt racism versus the Political Correctness toward which Americans strive and neve r achieve.  At least, some of the women rationalized, if one person does not like the culture of another person, perhaps it’s better to just get it out there instead of hiding feelings.  Hidden feelings lead to explosions later, perhaps.

One of the women interrupted her train of thought and looked at me. “What are you writing?”

“Oh, Aimee always has her journal out,” another woman, who has known me longer, explained, “She records everything.”

“For what?” another woman wanted to know.

“Sometimes for the blog. Sometimes for a story idea.  Sometimes for nothing,” I answered.

The other women nodded and went back to their fascinating discussion.  There were no real conclusions and nothing was resolved, but it was the talk of women: honest, sharing, and diverse.

One thing that I always do is write to make sense of my world.  I write in order to think.  I write in order to come to realizations – conclusions.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to participate in the discussion nad it wasn’t that I had a particular purpose in mind as I scribbled my notes while the others talked.  When I felt the need to interject, I did, and then went right back to my pen and paper.  Will I write a full blog post on racism in Asia? Perhaps.  Maybe I’ll write about the language of women.  Maybe six women having breakfast together will make its way into one of my stories.  I never know how I’m going to use some things I’ve written and noted, but if I didn’t write and make notes, then I would be losing some of my personality.  Writing is not just what I do, it’s who I am.  And that’s why my journal is out on the table at mealtime.  I write because it’s who I am.

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