Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"Are you ready to come home, or are you just beginning?"

"Home is where the Heart is."
"The Heart is where We are."
"And where We are, well, that is a shared heaven not limited by space or time."

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, fresh and new, already home, and yet also always yearning to be closer to home, to the familiar, to the heart of self and love.

I miss my family. I miss my sisters! and my friends. I have a home here in Japan, sure, but it's not my real home. My real home is Kansas City, Kansas, Heart of America, Obama. My family and friends are there, patiently waiting for me to come back from my adventure in Japan.

And why haven't I come back yet? Why am I still here, anyway? Is there something in America I'm afraid of? Am I putting something off? Maybe I secretly fear home, fear going back to school, getting into fights, feeling the pressure that is inherent in America. Maybe I'm afraid to follow my dream and become a teacher. But then again, I'm getting great practice teaching over here. And I'm studying here too, Japanese and International Communication. I'm a bad student, though, but when I'm not on the Internet or dreaming, painting, dancing, or drumming, I'm studying. I have to give a lecture over my art and spirituality next Sunday at the Woman's Plaza, and I have to be able to answer any questions asked. My Art and Spirituality, which attempts to be integral and Buddhist, covers a lot of reading and history. I'm trying to brush up on my art and Buddhist history. I'm a busy boy, when I'm not watching TV on the Internet.

Maybe I've "jumped ship," as they say. America is so messed up, anyway. I've escaped to a tamer, safer, older corner of the earth. Maybe that's why I'm still here in Japan. But Japan is not much better off than America. In fact, whenever I visit home I'm amazed at how much love and diversity, good ideas and good food gets shoved into my being. Japan lacks many things America has to offer, such as sisters, hummus, Mexican food, and gun deaths.

Maybe I'm "turning Japanese." Maybe I'm getting absorbed into their world, their society.
Shikoku is a lovely island. Japan is ancient and clean. And the people here are mind-bogglingly gorgeous.

I have friends and lovers in both countries, so lack of love is not an issue. But a few packages, letters, and phone calls with friends is not enough. It is, and it isn't. I don't feel disconnected as such, but since I am physically disconnected, so much is changing in all my friends' and family's lives back home that I cannot be in touch with, and that creates a gap. Luckily, since Emily moved here, Emily who has known me and loved me since I was 13!, having her here is like having a warm, fresh piece of home with me all the time. And she lived in LA for years before moving here, so she also knows what it's like to be away from home for a long time. But my sisters and parents and family and sangha are all in America, right in the very middle, right in the heart of the country, the Obama country, and I think I'm feeling homesick.


Anonymous said...

I want to know when you are in Kansas.
I want to see your family and friends.
Like that anytime you say " I wanna talk with your mother!"

Mark Harman said...

I know your family. I am your family. I have met your friends in Japan. For these things, I feel ultimately special. I, too, know how it is to be away from home for a long time. I'm in my fourth year of being away from Kansas City. I miss my buddies, my Lukas, my parents, IHOP, bratwursts... but I am so lucky, as are you, to be on this adventure.

I can't wait to see you this holiday!

David said...

"mind-bogglingly gorgeous"

What a delightfully honest and open blog post David, I fully understand what you are feeling.

You are and will forever be surrounded by love here in Japan.
You don't seek happiness and light, happiness and light seek you, chase you everywhere you go, dancing all round your every move.

Peace to you brother

May all beings be Free and in Love.

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