Dear S, (nickname) This is sort of a belated birthday present. I hope that you'll share your thoughts or drawings or whatever-you-like with this book. I picked pink for your pink cheeks, pink sweater, and pink comforter. The pages are blank so that you can put anything on them (even pictures). Enjoy! (Ha Ha) – S's best friend from college, AM starchild
November 24, 1990 (thanksgiving break, junior year) This is a really cool pen. I believe I shall start a new diary with it...in this small pink book that AM gave me. I wasn't sure what to do with it. Perhaps I'll make this diary different – like start a manuscript in it or something. I need a new diversion – to stop thinking about what has happened in the past, especially this semester. Seems like old friends are drifting away, yet I don't care so much. A told me to focus on myself; to realize that I cannot depend on anybody else to make me happy. I have to make myself happy with who I am and what I do. Perhaps I can alsways depend on my family, until they die. Home is a haven to me. Wish I could hide out here for a month or two. C (university) is not my favorite place right now. Things disturb me too much over there. Here, I don't have to think about them. But there, I am faced with my sorrows constantly. At home, I don't have to face these things. I have escape. I am surrounded by people who are attached to me by blood. K (bro) tells me to hide away in a library and to be a hermit. I'd like to give it a try.
I think too much. From now on, I'm going to try to just live. Live for myself. I'll be happier that way.
December 20, 1990 I think too much as usual. Biochem was really sad, and I really think it's because I let myself be distracted so badly at the end of the semester all the business about P. I really don't like her.
December 21, 1990 Today Grandma and I went shopping. I bought a blouse for mom, the minna no tabo stamp, and a dictionary. We took a bus from Gomoo to Sannomiya. I need to speak more Japanese. It's pretty fun here! I'm reading the Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. We visited Uncle's apartment. Nephew is two years old. I guess I still think too much, but eventually it should get better. I can't wait until my hair gets long. I don't know why I cut it in the first place. Oh well. It looks kinda bad now, and it's a hassel to care for.
December 22, 1990 Today Grandma and I went to Kyoto. We visited Niroro Castle, the place where the Shogun lived. It was very large and we walked a lot. Next, we went to this old temple place, which was full of stores, old houses and restaurants. Actually, it was pretty neat. I bought two keychains. A fan one for Barbara, and the other little dude with a bell in it. I'm not sure for whom. We had tea and azuki bean soup in this little garden tea house, which was outdoors and very quaint. I enjoyed it very much. Grandpa told me to have fun during vacation and not to study. Sounds good.
December 23, 1990 I keep thinking...two Saturdays ago, actually, Friday night, we hung out, went grocery shopping, and made cheesecake. On Sat, I studied at his place and we cooked dinner which turned out pretty well. We chatted on his couch. Something we hadn't done in ages. I really, really blew my biochem final, though. I didn't study enough. Argh. I think I'll just have to try harder to succeed in the future. I can still do it, but this isn't making things easier. He took me out to dinner at Volga. It was nice – we were the only ones there, and they had a live pianist.
December 24, 1990 Yesterday the Fukuis took me out to lunch. Mrs. Fukui is a friend of great-aunt in Alhambra. She used to date dad! Weird. I had a lot of fun. We browsed around in Center-Gai. They have a 12 year old son, Takehiro, who is very cute. Ayako stayed at home because she has a cold. I am meeting her at 2 pm on December 25 at the ticket machines at Hanshu-Rokko train station, to go to the Christmas party. The Brothers K is a very interesting novel. I wrote several postcards yesterday. I have to remember to buy the rice paper candy for Barbara.
December 25, 1990 Merry Christmas! To forgive and forget – that's the way to go, or else I will be filled with remorse and grudge. Live for myself, and the ones who care for me. Yesterday we went to the Canadian academy, and grocery shopping. Mom's brother's family came over for dinner. Takehiro is a funny kid. Perhaps a little annoying. Grandma gave me some medicine for my cold. I've been sleeping a lot lately. Uncle's wife gave me a scarf. Perhaps I'll give it to mom. Today I am going to Fukui-san's Christmas party. I wish my hair were longer.
December 26, 1990 The party was really fun. Fukui-san's sister is very nice and friendly. Her son goes to school in Switzerland. I find that cool. They're quite wealthy. Ayako met me at the train station. We saw the videotape of her visit to the U.S. Mrs F gave me earrings (gold loops) and her sister gave me a purse. I wasn't expecting anything. Mr. F is nice, too. Their house is totally nice. Mick (their son) sort of looks like Kinjo sensei, only much, much better looking. They have a Mercedes. I really thought that Ayako's aunt was very nice. I have to remember to send thank you letters. Oh, she wants me to find a good summer school camp in America for Mick, preferably without Japanese. Today I'm visiting the Okamotosans. Tomorrow, We're meeting grandma and Shunko at Daimaru.
December 27, 1990 I just came back from Shunko's house, where I ate okonomiyaki. I actually had a conversation with M, except that we had to leave. Anyway, yesterday, Mrs. O and I went shopping at the Higashi Yama I Chiba. It was very fun there. I like looking at the all the cheap shops. We went to her home in Yama No Machi, where we had lunch, and her daughter and I watched this creepy show. Afterwards, the daughters and I went shopping at this cool new mall-hotel place called Oya. It was really nice. I bought a hairband and lipstick. We ate cake and drank tea at a cafe called Je T'aime Cafe, which was very elegant. A is very pretty and has a boyfriend. She's very nice, too. It was very fun! That night we watched “Stand By Me” which they had on videotape. It was in English, with Japanese subtitles. This morning it snowed! It was a very cold day. We met Shunko and Grandma at Daimaru at 11 am. Shunko bought me a courderoy shirt, and I bought mom a sweater. We had lunch there, and then I crashed at Shunko's. I had a lot of fun in the past week. People have been very kind and friendly to me. Mrs. O gave me chopsticks with Daruma on them – very cute pair. She also gave a a t shirt and books. I've had a lot of fun trying to speak Japanese to them. A's English is pretty good.
I chatted with Grandma and Shunko. They told me about boyfriends – it was pretty fun. Shunko showed me T's photos. He's very good-looking.
December 29, 1990 Today I and the Fukuis went to Osaka and went window shopping in the electronics district. There was a whole street of cheap stores with really cool electronics. I bought a data calculator for K. When we got back to the F's we played Nintendo. We went to a sushi bar for dinner. I can't go to Nara with the Okamotos because on Jan 2, Grandma is having the family New Year's Dinner, and I really should be there. Shucks. I really like Akarisan. She's very nice. We could be good friends. Too bad. I think I'll make it a point to write to her when I get back to school. I wish there was a person like her at school... She's so pretty, sweet, friendly, smart, and interesting. Mr. F is very friendly and nice too. Yesterday, Ayako, me and Miyuki (Ayako's friend) visited Osaka Castle. Unfortunately, it was closed! So, we bought takoyaki and took photos. At the train station, we window-shopped at this really big hobby store. I bought a bracelet and saw totoros. The Fukuis live in a traditional style old Japanese home. Hmm. Maybe I'm not letting myself meet anyone like Akari. I mean, it was a lot of fun spending time with them – window shopping, eating cake, watching a movie, trying lipstick – I guess those are things I did with R. Only R isn't at my college. I wish she were. Then I wouldn't be stuck on P. My roommate – I don't know. There is no one at college that I really click wit. A's going to be working at a travel agency. Girls' lives in Japan seem so different than mine. I feel so much pressure. I feel so much competition. Are the girls at college ambitious, terribly so. I mean, I know my grades aren't going to get me to a great or not even an average grad school. Why does that mean so much to me? I guess I'm not sure about the Peace Corps., either. I mean now do I know I can survive out there? After all, I am pretty weak. but I guess I don't know until I try. Next semester – ugh. No, I have to have a better attitude. Tha's what's wrong. I focus on the immediate; am blind to other things. Where will I find a true friend? Am I blocking myself off, or do they just not exist? Maybe they do. Iguess it's never too late to make friends.
December 31, 1990 I feel happy for some reason. My grades suck, but I'm still a scholarship scholar. I am going to grad school. I'll go to Oxford. I have friends. I'll make it. In the end, everyone dies – we are all equal. But he who enjoys his life and is happy is better off, don't you think? So, I'll be happy. Even if I don't go to some awesome grad school, get into Phi Beta Kappa, graduate with honors. I have the respect of my family. Anyway, respect shouldn't be based on academic performance. Sometimes I feel that my school stresses that, or at least, the friends I have there stress academic success as respectful too much. It's icky. Perhaps A does. I guess so. Perhaps that's part of the P attraction, that he does so well in school. I don't know. Since I can't tell him, and I can only write down these thoughts here, I will. I want to be independent. Free. So I will be. I wonder with next semester will be like. Geez, I'm getting old though. 21. That's close to marriage age already. How scary. Why do I like writing so much?
January 1, 1991 I'm waiting for my nail polish to dry. I worry about the future a lot I'd like to get a laboratory position at school. I think it would be best for me to get a Master's degree at grad school as soon as I can, wherever I can. I'll ask J where I should apply, where I'll have a chance for a fellowship or assistance. She'll know. I have to focus next semester. I have to do well. I think I can, if I don't let things stand in my way, as I can't predict. But certain things you can avoid. Japan is very relaxing and it's great that I can't have contact with him. But, I'm longing to listen to my CD's, watch American movies and TV, talk to my siblings and friends. I plan to take a CPR class. I wonder if they offer one at home. I hope so. I would like to go biking with R. I guess I'm a little bored nowadays. Grandma is still a sharp lady. but Grandpa is getting old. Hm. Tomorrow I would've been going to Nara, but we have that family dinner. Which I'd rather not attend, but I guess i should. Well, It's 5 pm...12 midnight in LA. – 1991! Eleven years since 1980 new year. A new diary. A different moi. I should have told mom I'd leave on the 3rd. Blah. Oh well. I still need to get a gift for A, but I have no idea what. Clothes are tricky. We have different tastes. Hm. I'll go shopping on the 3rd. I want to go somewhere. Not just sit at home. Argh. And not go grocery shopping. Grandma's method is extremely tedious. If I had to do grocery shopping, I'd be speedy. Not that my time at the moment is so precious. I wonder if I'm ever going to read all this crap I'm writing right now. Oh! I'm going to try to buy the soundtrack to “Stand By Me” CD when I get home. And see Officer and a Gentleman and East of Eden and Edward Scissorhands. I wonder if I got any phone calls. Blah. Friends. I guess one needs them. Sometimes I think it would be great if I could go to school but live at home. I'd probably get better grades. I wouldn't need friends. I can't be a loner. it doesn't work. I tried that, but just got depressed.