"Yesterday Once More”. This is the title of my very first “English” record I listened to in my life, when I was only 7 or 8 years old in Japan. The American pop-singer group, Carpenters, got a very big hit with it in 1973.
On the very first time I heard the opening phrase “…When I was young, I’d listened to the radio, waitin’ for my favorite songs…”, I thought it was some kind of bewitchment/conjuration or sutra to me, because, at that time, I did not know and understand English at all.
Since then through my daily life, “yesterdays” for more than 40 years until today, now I can understand the meaning of the phrase and song, thanks to my English.
“Yesterdays and today” are made by our Mother Earth turning around daily. It goes around the Sun annually, and that makes a year. Go and come around back and forth, the goal of the year turns right into another starting point for the next around. And keep going around and around with creating our LIFE.
Day by day, year by year, we learn something through our daily life, then grow and mature more and more every day.
By the way, language is also learned and mastered step by step, day by day since childhood. My mother tongue is Japanese. But today, I can speak/read/write in English as a second language to communicate with English speaking people, even though it is a little bit broken…
Do you remember the very your first English words you learned in your life? Talking about my English, the very first English words that I learned in my life were “blue”, “yellow”, and “pink” printed on tissue paper box, when I was only 3 years old or so.
One day, a postman brought a very huge box and called my father’s name at the entrance of my house. My father answered him and received the huge box with his face surprised to see. All family members got together around the huge box and wondering what’s inside… My father opened it and yelled with his astonishing, “Wow, so many tissue paper boxes and toilet paper rolls inside!!!”. …He recalled he had applied lottery through a radio program campaign to win “Totally-whole-year amount of tissue and toilet paper” as a gift.
Since then, in my house, tissue and toilet paper were all over the place… Wherever you go in my house, when you sneeze and need to wipe your nose or mouth, just pick up a sheet of paper in front of you anywhere…“Totally-whole-year amount of tissue and toilet paper” are around you!!!
There were three colors of tissue paper boxes; blue, yellow, and pink. These names of the color were printed on the boxes, and I learned them. That is the good memory of the very first time in my life when I learned English words; blue, yellow, and pink on the tissue boxes. The beautiful memory is surrounded by “totally-whole-year amount of tissue and toilet paper”!!!
The very first English phrase in my life that I spoke to English speaking people is “What time is it, now?” That was spoken to when I was in the seventh grade. I was living in a rural small town in Japan. Nearly 40 years ago in the small town of Japan, you could seldom see English speaking people there at all.
One day when I went for a shopping with my friends to a small shopping center in the neighbor town, we happened to find two non-Japanese people sitting on a bench. One of my friends insisted me strongly that I should speak to them in English, because he knew I like to study and learn English very much. When I saw them at first, I felt they were some kind of alien to me because I was very afraid of speaking to them and had to have so much courage to talk with them in English. I bravely made up my mind with a lot of courage to walk to them and tried to have my face with big smile…then said, “….What time is it, now? Excuse me…” “….” The very brief moment waiting for his answer made me feel for so long hours…
“…It’s almost two o’clock.” That was his answer plainly. Even though his answer was so plain and callous, it led me to something like the “seventh-heaven”!!!
Yes! I became a “hero” among my friends by bravely enough to speak to non-Japanese people in English. It was a very small experience when I reflect it today. However, that very small successful experience gave me much courage and energy or desire to learn more English to communicate with English speaking people to know the world outside of Japan and Japan itself deeply. My dream was going to the U.S. and learn its culture/custom and daily life to become something like a “bridge” between the U.S. and Japan.
Since then, my desire to learn and master English grew stronger and stronger. I always brought an English dictionary with me anywhere to look up any English words I did not know. I even felt something like the dictionary would bring me to the U.S. someday… And, because I was a great fan of “ABBA; Swedish pop-sinter group”, I wanted to sing along with them in English. I looked up the meaning of the English lyric phrases with the dictionary and tried to sing along.
December 21 is my “English Day”. When I was in eighth grade, my parents gave me an “English learning/mastering educational cassette tapes” as a Christmas present. Since December 21 of that year, I started and kept studying English with the tapes every day without any skips, even when I caught a cold with high fever, and when we went for a school excursion to Tokyo, I brought the English tapes and kept studying English after the curfew with special permission from teachers. I kept studying/learning English with the tapes every day without any skips for about three years, and that helped greatly to develop my fundamental English abilities.
I also challenged and attended to English oratorical/speech contests and won many times. That also helped to create much firm courage and enthusiasm to study/learn more English continuously day by day with my dream to know the world outside of Japan and Japan itself deeply by going abroad to the U.S. and see/experience/learn American culture and custom through American daily life.
One day in my junior year of high school, I happened to find a special notice on the bulletin board in my class room; it said “Only one representative of each 46 prefectures in Japan (= like 50 states in the U.S.) which is “total only 46 students out of all Japanese high school students” can receive scholarship from American Government to stay in the U.S. with American host family for one year as an exchange student to high school.”
At first when I found the announcement/notice, I merely neglected it because “only one” student out of all high school students in Aichi prefecture where I live in would be able to receive the scholarship to go to the U.S. I thought the chances were too slim for me to win. I did not have any courage to apply to it, also.
Several days had passed without doing anything… I abandoned my dream to go to the U.S. without any challenge…
Mr. H, my class room teacher, happened to give me a small advice, “Hey, Magatamapajama, you should try and challenge. You can apply to it, it’s a very good chance to go to the U.S. that is your dream, isn’t it? Even if the result would be a failure, you wouldn’t lose anything at all, only gain/receive good challenging experience, right, Magatamapajama…So, why don’t you TRY!”…
Thanks to his advice, I made up my mind to apply to it. After that, I tried and challenged to take a lot of examinations inside of my high school and then in my prefecture to be selected as the representative to go to the U.S.
Yes, I was very lucky to be selected as the representative of the scholarship.
In 1984, I was so lucky enough to make my dream come true and went to and stay in the U.S. for one year to learn American culture/custom and daily life with the scholarship. The place I stayed was P., Nebraska, located in the “map-center” of the U.S. Even though it is a very small village; the population is only about 400, the people there are so kind, frank, friendly, and warm-hearted, something like a “big family” in the village. Through the year living in the U.S., I was able to communicate with American people of very wide range of age; from small children to elder people, like a big family in P..
Even though I had studied English with the learning tapes given as a Christmas present when I was in Japan, I was not able to speak it with American people very well at first when I started living in the U.S. However, gradually, thanks to a lot of friendly support from American people, my English improved so much through daily life in P..
Wonderful memories and experiences of my American life are still shining in my heart; dry-heat Nebraskan summer, high school football training and support, cheering for football players to win, hurdle-race even to State competition I scratched and cried, “trick-or-treat” Halloween candies, big dinner of Thanks-Giving Day, lovely gifts family Christmas, clear winter night sky with a lot of shining stars on hay-ride, too much snow and blizzard freezing cold of Nebraskan winter, symbol of youth Prom party, student to adult Graduation, only-two-week spring then sudden summer-arrival in Nebraska, horrified tornado warning siren summer vacation, and, etc…
Among these unforgettable precious memories in P., I can still see a lot of big smiles and friendly happiness shining inside of my heart. I learned fundamental English and a lot of American life and culture/custom through the year. Most of them are the “friendship” from American people, which is the most important thing for us all human beings to live happily and peacefully on our Mother Earth.
During my university/college life in Tokyo, Japan, I also kept studying and learning English along with watching American/Western movies, and etc,. At that time late 80’s, there were no PCs and internet nor cell-phones at all in Japan. American movie was the best resource to learn American culture and English.
One day, I went to see an American movie “Back-to-the-Future II” with my friends for the premier roadshow; that was the special first run for the very beginning of the roadshow period started at midnight of the opening day. So many people were standing in a long row in front of the big theater in Tokyo waiting for the door open for the special premier show that night. I was so excited to see the American movie “Back-to-the-Future”, thinking and wondering how you could go BACK to your “Future” this time…???
It was one of my best and fun memories of my university days in Japan.
In 1988, I came back to the U.S. as a one-year exchange student to the University of Missouri-Columbia. I was very surprised to experience the American university life; they study so hard, not like Japanese college students at that time. In Japan, at that time, high school students studied very hart to enter university or college. However, once they enter, they study not only educational aspects, but also “social” aspects; such as enjoying club activities, having part time job to learn Japanese social system, or join voluntary social group to support social activities along with learning it, and, etc. (These situations have changed in Japan these years, I believe.)
On the other hand, American university/college students study very hard from in the morning till over midnight. They study so hard and concentrated. I understood, in the U.S. the university/college life period is concentrated into “studying”, which is the main purpose to enter. They learn “social” aspects during high school period. That was one of the biggest differences in social system between the U.S. and Japan, I realized and experienced at that time.
As I followed American university students’ life, I also studied very hard from morning till over midnight like I did in high school days in Japan. I attended many classes during day time. After class, I went to the campus library every day until close hour, over midnight, to complete home works and to read a lot of English books to study subjects deeply.
Even though the life in the University of Missouri was very monotonous and in regular pattern, which was very different from that in P., I was able to concentrate into “studying all in English”.
Because I read so many English books during the one-year exchange student period, my English reading ability grew so much, even up to getting a kind of “quick-reading-ability” in English.
I studied Journalism, Advertisement, Economy, Sociology, and English. Because I knew I was able to stay in the university “only one year” as an exchange student, I decided to study not narrow-focused certain subject matter, but wide-range of educational fundamental field to develop and expand my practical perspectives toward the world.
This wide-range of fundamental educational experiences DID help me to study very quickly for transiting between different industries each time I developed my career. Moreover, the best of all is to create and develop so-called “Eagle/Hawk-Eye perspectives” or “Global-Over-Look perspectives” to prospect the global trend.
After I graduated from university in Japan, I started working for the biggest Japanese AA, as a member of international communications division. To develop my career, I joined into American computer/IT-related companies such as I. (ad section) and h., and after that, into American financial-related companies, Ct Group, and etc., with advertisement- or marketing-related missions assigned.
Through my all career, unchanged and fixed/stable element has been related to “international communications” between Japan and the overseas by English language. I do not deny and neglect that I had a lot of difficult and hard time through my career. Even though they were hard time, I learned so much from the experiences over my life.
The biggest and the most important things of all that I learned is; communication, computer/information technologies, money or finances, etc., are very important to make our life happier and thrived more. However, it must be KEPT in mind warm-heart, kindness, and conscience as a fundamental business practices to keep this world continuously thrived in the best balance sustained.
Some say, “business is a mere game; win or lose.” That could be true under a certain narrow point of view. However, when you lose the “warm-heart, kindness, and conscience” as a fundamental business practices, you will never win sustained and truly. Only once you feel and could be judged you are winner in a very short period of time, without the fundamentals in the business, you will soon lose in/under the wider/higher range of Universal perspectives. And, the opposite is true; even if you feel lost, with the fundamentals, you will win truly at last in a long run by the Universal perspectives.
And, to keep the business go successful and the life more thrived sustain for your kids and grandsons-and-daughters, our world must be kept peace. To keep our world peace sustained, with the fundamentals, “warm-heart, kindness, and conscience”, “friendship”, “respect” and “mutual understanding” are the keys and much important rather than “win-lose competition”, “blaming the differences by immature narrow-sighted criteria”, and “selfishness, never care about the others”.
These are the precious treasure-like lessons that I learned through the life in the U.S. and American companies through my life; “Yesterdays”.
When you go to different town or city, or go abroad, or start new job or working for different company, you will find any differences in each place. When you go to different city or different state, you might find some different dialects or intonations, or, different sceneries or different climates, or custom. And, also, you would find different people living daily life over there.
That is true, when you go abroad, the differences would get wider and bigger. These differences are the important clue and hints for us to learn each other. No judgement good or bad to the differences, they are just the “differences” and they have very profound reasons behind them which need to be understood each other by respect. Also the differences are the very important starting point of knowing, understanding and learning each other. Each person or country has its own history, policy, and culture or custom deeply behind them; each be respected. These differences do create the uniqueness of the person/country distinguished from the other in this world. You are understood as “YOU, your self” by the accumulated hidden/obvious differences from the others.
Differences are no good or bad; they are just “differences” be respected and mutually understood. And, those differences create this world more diverse and rich in varieties.
This is what I learned through my “Yesterdays” by life experience in the U.S. and career in American companies.
With the fundamentals “warm-heart, kindness, and conscience”, and the keys “friendship, respect and mutual-understanding” will help us all human beings to learn and understand the differences you get from the other people or other countries.
Learning history of own country and the other will also help greatly and profoundly to understand the hidden reasons under the differences and to develop diverse perspectives of this world. And that leads all of us to unite into ONE LIFE on our Mother Earth for the Global Peace sustainable.
Learning, respecting and understanding is the greatest way to lead us all human beings to the Global Peace into “ONE”. Even though the daily life of our each is very small compared with the global size, each of us, one by one, IS the most important element and miniature “PIECE” to compose the Global “Peace” as a whole; the “PIECE/PEACE” includes not only physical “piece/peace”, but also “Metaphysical PIECE/PEACE” such as “peace in Heart/Mind” and “Climate Peace” also, that makes the “global climate change” stable in Nature.
The fundamentals; 1) warm-heart 2) kindness 3) conscience
The keys; 1) friendship 2) respect 3) mutual-understanding
With these each important “PIECE”, let us enjoy and learn AGAIN as what we DID in our youth to know and understand each other some more…
“When I was young, I’d listened to the radio, waitin’ for my favorite songs. When they played I’d sing along it made me smile…” ---the lyric from “Yesterday Once More” of Carpenters
What time is it, NOW?
It’s high time for us to go “BACK to our brighter and happier Future” for our children and even for our grand-sons-and-daughters, that will be recalled as;
“New Yesterday Once More”…
to make our Global Peace sustainable FOREVER...
Thank you ALL very much for your true LOVE…
Magatamapajama with ALL Gratitude and Appreciation
( >>= ATTENTION =>> To non-Japanese speaking people; "Automatic translation function" of Web browser, such as "Live S. Translator" will sometimes NOT show CORRECT meanings of this blog. When you translate this blog into different languages, please Do NOT be MISLED by the wrong translations. Thank you very much.)