Tomorrow is the start of the new year at HPAC. Some people new, some the same. But even of those that are returning, most are likely in a different place than they were a year or two years ago. The cyclical nature of the year, that we can mark personal change through some constant. Where were you a year ago at this time? What concerns, what hopes? Who did you see everyday, who or what was on your mind?
And now? What is different? What has changed?
For me it is comforting to return to this place at this time, an echo of a year before when I first moved to Japan. A difference in understanding, a difference in belonging. It is a reaffirmation that challenges need not be the same challenges forever. Surely there are still aspects of daily life that are and will continue to be difficult. But in place of last year's concerns over transportation, language, customs, and orchestral protocol there are new challenges with a new color and texture. In place of the buzz of novelty and uncertainty are the challenge of knowing that people that I care about are continuing life elsewhere. The challenges of figuring out a language problem or where to buy something I need have been replaced with the challenge of patience and connection.
But this is only this year for me. Every year, something different for different people and so we grow. On and on.