• Makoto

International Marriage: Future and Present

East met West. Having lived overseas and being married to my husband who is American for eighteen years, I have developed an ability of understanding and looking at things from both cultural view points of the East and the West. Constantly I am exposed to this mixture of cultures. I feel like I am swimming between these cultures and I have a switch in my head. Sometimes when I am riding a train in Japan and see a person sitting next to me reading a Japanese book, I wonder, "Why is she reading a book in Japanese? Wait. I am in Japan." I'm loving every moment of having two cultures in my life.

Although I am more prone to think and act in the eastern way, I am thankful for having the West in my life. It makes me rethink and understand about the East more, and of course, I try to learn something good from the West aswell. I am happy that our children have been growing in this rich environment of two cultures.

One of many different things I have noticed between the West and the East is "future" and "present". In the West, when something happens, it seems that people quickly associate the event with future: "This event could lead us to this in the future", "This event can turn out this way in the future", and so on. When people have goals for the future, it seems that they focus on results so much that some could sacrifice or miss out so much (sometimes something very important) along the way just to achieve their goals in the future or some may force or control things around them just to achieve the goals.

I, coming from the East, value living in "present" more. Future is unknown, and I don't see so much value in living life based on expectation for the future. It does not mean that I don't have goals or I don't plan anything for future. Of course, I do enjoy achieving my goals, too. However, I believe that future is the accumulation of presents. Each effort I make everyday will be each step to take me to the future. Sometimes future may not turn out in the way I want to, but it is okay because I know I did my best along the way, which matters.

Even during porcelain decorations, I figure out designs along the way. Of course, I plan some designs in my head ahead but often they turn out different but I love them. During the process of decoration, I stare at porcelain pieces and transfer sheets as wondering how to layout designs, I touch the cold surface of porcelain pieces, I listen to them, and I answer to their voice. With the accumulation of voices turn into the final design of porcelain pieces.

Maybe this is why I love porcelain decoration and pottery; it keeps me in present. And future is not known and I want to leave it that way, because it makes our everyday life more meaningful and adventurous.