"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next."

Friday, June 15, 2018

2018 Time Stamp #2

The world of words has a deeper well in written than in spoken, for which reason I find myself retreating to my written or typed journals--this blog being one of a few outlets, albeit the most public.

My wife just had her 36th birthday; I'll be turning 32 in a month. Our 3 boys gave us the most difficult year of our lives last year, and the recovery from it has been slow. In fact, from where I stand, it's becoming clear that the last 7 years has been hard, too hard, but I ignored my family's plights and subtle cries for help, and instead insisted on focusing on what subconsciously scared me the most--money.

My boss has indirectly been my mentor, via him, his family, and his tight-nit company. He recently told me that we are only afraid of that which we cannot understand. Once we understand the entity that frightens us, we learn how to avoid or control it, and by doing so are no longer afraid of it.

I blame myself for the mountain of problems that accumulated--nervous breakdowns, my stress-induced illnesses, my boys' stealing (amounting to over 100,000 yen of cash alone), my boys' school refusal, my oldest son's dropping out of JHS, losing all of his friends, and developing depression symptoms, and the list is endless, resulting in my marriage going into jeopardy.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

2018 Time Stamp #1

I used to show off my positive energy on social media, boast to friends and acquaintances about my family and lifestyle, and thereby feel a sense of pride and justification of living in the moment. It pleased my wife to have a public presence, and it motivated us to do more and be more. And yet, I felt a deep void. Many of my former friends, and those currently friends, who had much less fortunate lives than I envied me. As my younger brother put it in his speech dedicated to me in my wedding ceremony, "He was always the smarter one and managed to always get what he wanted. Whatever he set his mind to, he obtained." 
I stopped social media because it was too easy to make the underdogs feel bad, and I found myself wasting time justifying the various forms of feedback. Perhaps one day I'll start up again, but only when the need for promotion of a worthy ideal exceeds the resulting negative feedback. 

December 27, 2017, I luckily chose one of the finest days to climb Mt. Tsukuba. It was more invigorating than my trip to Okinawa or my trip to China, although perhaps slightly less than my trip to Bali. 

My sister-in-law's wedding took place in the middle of a violent typhoon. October 21, 2017, it was a wedding in tight quarters, with the wind whistling outside. 

 And yet, the day after the wedding, the beautiful Okinawa weather returned. It baffles me how some people are so unlucky. And yet, sometimes I admire her guts. In times like her wedding, when she really wants something, she will defy the forces of nature. Even as the peak of the typhoon lands on the day of her wedding, there are too many guests for the arrangement, her youngest autistic son screams bloody murder down the halls, and her mother-in-law to-be has an emotional breakdown, she forces the wedding through despite. 

I have no words.

My brother's wedding happened 2 months prior to my in-law's, on August 19, 2017. The whole arrangement was stressful as well. What can one expect? I guess. Glamorous as can be--too much food and drink, too much space, too many sets, and too much formality. The contrast between my brother's and in-law's weddings was night and day.  

To summarize 2017, it was a fucking roller coaster ride. My wife and I underwent the bumpiest year of parental struggles with our two older boys. My mental resolve was tried and tested more than ever before. My wife had countless emotional breakdowns, and it became impossible for me to maintain grip on all the facets of my life. 

As I sit here on a Monday morning at nearly 11:00, I find myself questioning the meaning of my existence, when it was just a few months ago that I was so close to quitting my job to tend to the demands of my family. The problems are just as prevalent as always, but they're being maintained because I've been regularly taking time off to deal with the issues. 

I question my existence because I've chosen to ignore social pressures to demand that my wife care for our kids while I focus on work. Instead, I've agreed to pick up increasingly more of the housework and care of our children. What was once straightforward has now become intrinsically complicated. 

Amidst this complex mix of life struggles and demands, I need to remind myself of my truly fortunate set of circumstances, and that perhaps I'm stressing myself out needlessly. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Let the Chips Fall

Zuma--2017, March 

Kenji--2011, April

Deryk--2011, April

Friends and family say "Oh my God, Zuma looks just like Deryk; he cries just like Kenji." At the end of the day, I know that somehow he has taken the perfect middle between the two. He obviously has Kenji's eyes, but he undoubtedly has Deryk's lower face.

It doesn't really matter. He was the glue that united us as a family, so secretly, he will always be the special child. Even as he grows up spoiled and his older brothers accuse us of being over-protective of him, Zuma will take the side that no one's on. Hopefully, he will be the smarter one out of the three. I hope.

Frankly, right now I struggle to keep the peace. I'm the only voice of reason in our house when opinions clash.

Friday, March 11, 2016

All About Kids

  This photo is a representation of my life--surrounded by kids. That's right, I wake up to them, go to work to them, and go home to them. Do they stress me out? The naughty one's do. But without them, I feel old. Children keep me young.

Friday, February 5, 2016

22. Journal

Reminder to self: (If blogger.com still exists 10 years from now) This blog is for my kids, who are my song and passion. One is strong; the other weak. A daredevil and a cautious observer. One is too young to tell. 3 boys that rule and dominate my world.
Mommy and I got together because of fate more than any other explanation. Truth be told, it wasn't pure love or attraction at the threshold. As every other intuition that has proven to guide and direct my life and actions, it was the same when I chose to marry mommy under such unconventional terms and circumstances.
It's clear to me, years later (it's been 8 years since meeting) that we choose what kind of lifestyle we have. It's all a build-up of minuscule decisions and choices that determine the present and what we interpret as reality. Our reality is what we fucking make it--as simple as that.
As crazy as this sounds to the average person, I've followed my gut from the beginning and it's always proven to work out for me and my purpose in the end. Getting together and marrying a person of simple stature and fatalistic thinking, I've accepted that I will forever struggle with misunderstandings and misconceptions concerning everything that makes me what I am.
You'll think I'm absurd when you read this, but my entire world is based upon my strong and unrelenting idea and expectation of my life. I have no doubt in my mind that it wasn't luck that made me manager of my school of 650 students. I demanded it. I would settle for nothing less, and everything gave way to my stubborn pursuit. Even if nothing else works out for me in my future, I will remember that I jumped into this career with both fucking feet knowing that I was un-certified and definitely uncertain, but expecting that my willpower and determination would get me through. It definitely did, and I will forever remember this.
Parents and experts at my school literally bow at my feet seeking for counsel and advice. Some beg me for counsel and are willing to wait months and years for results that I've promised. I'm head deep in school and business problems, but in this moment of selfless thinking I want to say that I never thought I'd get this far. When I was divorced and alone with a 10 month old child to care for, jobless, degree-less, uneducated, and fucked up, screwed over by a cult and a wench, I never thought that I'd be back on my two feet. Now that I am, and better than that--now that I'm 100% self-sufficient and a street-smart man of the world, I forget how lucky I am.
I'm lucky to have a supportive wife and 3 kids that love me to bits. I'm lucky to not have stress other than the stress of not having any stress. Fuck! I'm damn lucky to be able to say all this.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Shimo Family Update--December 25, 2015

It's dawned on me that our two older boys aren't little helpless kids anymore. I mean, look at that face--Kenji's a grown boy, soon-to-be-teenager. He's no longer willing to baby his younger brothers either; he has enough to think about himself (boy, his own life is stressful enough). 
I'm really feeling it lately--the real problems of two grown-ups. Man, I gotta prepare myself for much more. I know I'm hardly close to dealing with the biggest problems. They're due to come. Scratching the neighbors car, stealing, lying, cheating, bullying and getting bullied are the smallest of the problems in their lives. They're 9 and 10. Boy! Looking at mine and Fay's personalities we have very little chance of smooth-sailing with any of our kids. 
Thankfully, I'm still fairly young and my mind is quick. I'm able to catch problems before they get too big. I can outsmart both of my boys every time. But I know that the time is soon to come that they'll outdo me. It's a matter of time. 

I tell you, I haven't had a better job in my life. 12 days off at the end of the year in winter; 5 days off in spring; 10 days off in summer, and another 5 days off in fall. I don't know how much more I can ask for to spend with my family without spoiling the £$%& outta them and spending too much. 
I have to say, though, this time off is much needed. I'm a boring person when my mind is focused on work. My workplace becomes my world, and all I can think and talk about is my work. This time away from care and worry is exactly what I need periodically. I'd be living a very different life without it. 
Time to think and plan with a clear and relaxed mind makes it possible to make true decisions. Often, when pressure is all around, proper judgment becomes impossible. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas of 2015

  It's been a great year. It flew by like a flash. Photo's of last year's Christmas is still on the same camera that took this photo. That's how stretched I've been.

  I won't lie and say it's a walk in the park having 3 sons. They certainly are the cause of a few white hairs, and the quote is indeed true that goes, "All my paper money is replaced with pictures of my children." Choosing to start a family for me was not a business move.
  Having 3 kids isn't cheap. They need things and want things, and then they break things. They get sick at the most inconvenient of times. They live a lifestyle that is virtually impossible to support by essence of the expectations of their schools, neighbors, and friends. I won't say it's impossible to have a top-notch and excellent family and business life simultaneously, but it virtually is. I would venture to say that 99% of people cannot maintain it for more than a couple years. Choosing to have a family, though, is the most fulfilling and rewarding of them all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 2015 Update

Man, I almost forgot about this blog. With so many other social media avenues, blogging is starting to feel old school. Regardless, though, this is my collage of personal family photos. Pictures of Tateyama and summer fireworks of August, 2014 aren't too many posts behind. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Golden Week Aftershock

I'm exhausted after Golden Week and here's my rant...

There are moments that I wonder what it's all for. I wake up Monday morning with the Monday blues, I tumble through the morning, and by the afternoon I manage to get my bearings. I'm feeling pretty good on Monday night. Friday comes around like a flash, and I realize that I should probably let my hair down. 
The stress of the week is apparent in my wife and kids, so the first day of the weekend is a struggle to help each other kick back a little. On successful first day's everyone's relaxed by the evening. But not always. 
Monday rolls around again, and another scratchy morning, but then Friday comes back and the drama at work fades into oblivion almost as if automatically not a part of my memory. The weekend again, and then Monday. Friday again, and then the weekend. 
Once in a while it'll dawn on me that this routine is killing my spirit. I get reminded of the spunky little dare-devil I once was, and I miss it. So a determined part of me squeezes a chunk of days off of work to do a few things out of the ordinary. Yet even that is exhausting. I make the same mistake every time, and I fail to remind myself that my responsibilities at work and home don't change, and taking a substantial amount of time off of work just means less time to do what I need to do. 

They'll all grow up one day, and I don't wanna regret not being there to watch them grow. So however exhausting it is to be in the midst of their craziness, I will. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Zuma's Funny Toe

In memory of Zuma's funny toe, the facts are that he was born with a minor deformity in his pinkie toe of his right foot. I noticed it on the 2nd day. We took him for an X-Ray a couple months later and were told that there was a second bone growing in his smallest toe.

He had an operation on January 30th. His leg was in a caste for 10 days. Photos of his fixed toe is coming soon. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sub-zero Temperatures

January 24, 2015

  This pic was taken on New Year's Eve on the slopes of the snow-covered mountains of Nagano. I didn't know that nature could be both so cruel and benevolent at the same time.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Miniature Theme Park

December 29, 2014
This miniature theme park is about as close as we can get to the wonders of the world. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

21. Journal

December 28' 2014

  I'm on a 12 day winter vacation, the longest I've ever had in my work life. And yet, as a father of 3, it is hardly a vacation. Even as I type this, I have my blog page on one half of my computer screen; the other half of the screen has a video for my youngest son, as I multitask with him on my lap.
  'Tis is the life of a family man, as one who sets priority on the happiness of his wife and kids. The fundamentals of his work quality depends on whether he can get enough time to spend with his family.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I'll tell you a Christmas secret. When I was 14, I had a dream that I would marry a person of defined features. She was dark, but not black; stern, but not mean; a woman, not a girl. My first infatuation did not fit the description, and neither did my 2nd and 3rd. Soon enough I accepted that it was just that, an immature dream, and disowned the concept of "a one true love." 
Darren Hayes, my music artist of choice, said "love is elusive when you search for it." Fay came into my life in the least expected way. Every day I'm discovering more and more that she is as close to a soul mate as can possibly be. 
I am now a realist in a real world, and every moment is a real moment that passes joyfully or painfully. Every minute, every hour, and every day is either a good one or a bad one--never irrelevant. 
My dream has come true of a happy wife, happy kids, happy friends, and happy life in my own house independent of my parents. That dream, and another--a job that I can invest in, a potential career that I can build on--have made me a truly happy man. And yet, I am dissatisfied. Dreams come true bring disillusionment. Once obtained, they don't flood your mind with endless happiness and joy. Happiness is indeed a choice that one makes whether one has little or much. I'm still learning that every day. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

December Update

Kenji's 10th Birthday
He's now 10 years old, and very much loving it. This time he asked for a savory cake, so the cake you see there is a sushi cake. Quite popular. 

 Zuma's Penmanship
His and my interests are very much alike. He loves books and pens. And he loves sports. 

Christmas is in the air. There will be lots of Christmas and New Year pics to come. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The life of the family man

  These photo's were taken back around the end of August when we visited Tateyama. I've just been so busy lately. Haven't had time to post. Just 10 minutes of Facebook outdoes me, ha! Such is the family man's life when he's taken on a career that exhausts his remaining energy and time.
  Whatever energy that I have left over after work I spend it on my wife and kids. If I haven't exhausted everything after that, I use it on my career. I become superman if I can squeeze up time and energy for my friends. That's why social media is the way to go in this generation. lol!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fireworks from our porch

It's been a tiring couple of weeks--packing, moving, then unpacking--all the while continuing work and caring for 3 kids who are on summer break. Fay and I are exhausted! 

Still, though, I've managed to get up at 5:30 this Saturday morning, so that I can be a total bum for a few hours before the kids wake up. Once they do, it's either they hug the TV for the following couple of hours or they need my undivided attention for their nonsense. Which tends to end in an uninteresting lecture from me. Lol!

Now, I'm on a 9 day vacation, another benefit my new job gives me. It's the first time in years that I'm able to take a summer break. Hopefully, this will be the norm from now. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

They Make Me Proud

  Here I am again, blogging about my life, because it's the best semi-private online avenue of biographical documentation. There's a chance that it will still be here decades later to go back to and use as a weapon against my teenage/adult sons.


  My immature childhood years have long gone by, and I'm left to relive them in the lives of my boys. My carefree teenage years that also went by all too quickly, will be here again to haunt me as my boys walk in my teenage footsteps, but only with memories of frivolity that I wish I had lived more freely and fully. 

  Gone forever are those good years of trial-and-error. I did a lot, and learned a lot. I'm happy I didn't step on too many people's toes in the process. I owned up to my mistakes, and made amends with my haters. I am a free man now. I feel that the sky's the limit. 

  Kenji and Deryk are becoming more bilingual by the day. It makes me proud. I feel like, for their sake, I better up my game and be the best dad, and husband to their mother, that I can possibly be. 

  It's an understatement to say that they make me proud. They make me "fuckin'" proud! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014 Spring

April 27 -- Spring is a happy time with color, warmth, and high-spirits. We definitely do have hard times, difficult decision-making times, and times when reason is absent. Our two older boys are developing more in-the-face attitudes. And life, in general, is a series of good times and bad. But I can say that I'm living a good life, for sure. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

All Grown Up

  I know I say this often, but it really is shocking to realize how big my boys have become. It goes to show how busy I am, that I lose track of time. I'm simply not conscious of the minutes and hours that go by, some times not even the days. Am I not really living, or is this how life is? Before I know it my boys will have all grown up. Wahh!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year of 2014! I have a feeling that this is going to be a good year because it started off with a bang. I quit my job of 3 years, had a 2 week vacation with my family, and started my new job day before yesterday, and so far it's going great. 

Our two boys have stepped up a notch in their maturity with the added responsibility of our 3rd child's coming. For a while we had a streak of difficulty in their getting along with each other. But after setting a higher standard and making it clear that we'll be expecting more of them, they're doing a lot better. 

Kenji started soccer club, and Deryk is learning how to make friends. It's clear that they're both progressing real well in their lives. I can't say how happy I am to see that they're happy. 

And babe, the following is to you. I don't know when you'll get around to reading this, but I'm about to spell out some very true words:

In the busyness of our lives, you may not have the space to breath enough or to ponder enough to realize the extent of the sacrifice you're making for our child. Or perhaps you are fully aware of it, and you're braving the hardship feeling that very few around you would understand anyway. 

Maybe you're feeling also that I don't understand or that I'm too busy to care enough. Truth be told, part of that is sadly true. But I want you to know that I do see the enormous amount of self-sacrifice you're giving for our child. The little freedom that you had before is now completely gone, and practically you have nothing left of yourself to give because you're giving your all. I see that.

I may be too busy to care enough at times, and I'm sorry for those times. But in my heart I feel what you might be going through, and when I can I try to support you. I also know that no amount of care could suffice to shoulder your load, as there are so many things to a new born that only the mother can do. 

So I hope and pray that I can find the right balance and still financially support our family in this falling economy. I know that I'll continue to need to make difficult decisions or decisions that take me away from being there for you when you need me. But I hope that those situations can be few and that I will be able to find a place in this new job I have and that it'll be good for me and our family. 

I have a lot more to say, but here I am typing away with our little baby on my lap, and he's getting a little restless having to stare at the boring computer screen. I'll end this by saying that I love you and that I'll do my best to be a support when you need me. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

2 months old

2 months old and growing. People say that he's quite advanced physically and psychologically for his age. I love it how, when he's wide awake, his eyes get really BIG. Suddenly he's looking at everything in his surroundings. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My extra Spark

Little Kazuma, you have given me one more thing to look forward to every day. Coming home to carry you, to change your diaper, to rock you to sleep; to spend the weekend with you--is a delicious cherry on top of my pie. You have added an extra spark to my world. I love you to pieces!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Update: October 9

My mind is nearly blank now as I sit to write this post--mentally exhausted from the added responsibility of baby's coming. This coming weekend is Kazuma's one-month medical check. Everything that has led up to here from the moment we found out that Fay was pregnant 9 months ago almost feels like it's coming down on me now. 
Then, of course, there's the life I'd like to live which I feel even more limited and unable to with a busier schedule. The goals I set, the time-line for them, and the ambition that propelled them through unideal circumstances, is now completely on hold. And time doesn't stop. 
Meanwhile, Kenji and Deryk's personalities are crystallizing in an increasing measure by the day, perhaps also with this change and added pressure. We're expecting quite a bit more of them, trying to keep them on a tighter leash. All that to say, life has been pretty tough this past while.