My 28th Year
I took a picture of myself every day for a year beginning on my 27th birthday, March 1, 2012. I used my iPhone’s front-facing camera, so the pictures aren’t the greatest quality, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s a neat time-capsule to have. I’m really glad I did it, and I plan on doing it again this year (only this time with more smiling).
It was a (mostly) great year. Thanks to everyone who helped make it enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Music: “This Year” by The Mountain Goats
Welcome to Haewoojae, AKA the Toilet Museum. The world’s foremost toilet-shaped building. Located in Suwon, South Korea. (at 해우재)
Street Dance Studio “Boogie Down”
SHOWDOWN Vol. 5
November 25, 2012
I can’t believe it’s over. We did it! Honestly, I was so stressed and nervous about it for so many months leading up to it, it really feels strange to be done with it. I think I might be going through a sort of emotional withdrawal, if there is such a thing.
For those of you who don’t know, I started learning hip-hop dance almost exactly 2 years ago to the day. I had always enjoyed dancing casually in clubs or at parties, but I had recently lost a lot of weight, and got in good shape, so I decided to try my hand at taking some lessons. I fell in love with it almost immediately. There are a lot of different reasons, and it’s not something I can explain easily, but to put it simply: I feel very alive when I’m dancing.
Last year, after learning hip-hop for one year, I made my dance stage debut at our studio’s annual showcase (SHOWDOWN Vol. 4). It being my first show, I only participated in one number, and that was quite a challenge.
This year, I wanted to push myself even further and I joined two numbers. One was with the same teacher I’ve had since I began, and the other was with a teacher named Shohei who lives in Osaka. Shohei came to Toyama just once a month (it’s about 3-and-a-half hours away by train) to teach us the choreography, and then we had to rely on each other to practice it and get it down.
For my first show, last year, I was so focused on myself and on making sure I got the choreography right that it felt like a huge personal accomplishment, but not much more than that. This year, however, because we all relied on each other so much, I learned for the first time what it means to really be a part of a dance crew. Or any kind of a team, for that matter. My personal accomplishments were great as well this year (I had a solo—albeit brief—for the first time, for which I came up with the choreography all on my own), but what I’ll remember much more are the bonds I’ve forged with my teammates. I couldn’t have accomplished any of what I was able to without their support and teamwork.
There’s a saying in Japanese: 一期一会 (pronounced “ichi go ichi eh”). It’s one of those things that’s not easily translatable, but it means something similar to friendship that is once-in-a-lifetime. A bond that you will never forget. I won’t be in Toyama forever, but dancing with my friends at BoogieDown will be a lasting memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.