Three days after Christmas in 2004, I was on a routine flight from Japan to Los Angeles, where I was headed to spend the New Years holiday with my family.
New York City is a place where you get a lesson in 'entitlement' every day. Either someone is yelling at you to listen to them on the subway, billboards around Times Square smile down at you with an entitled look, or shop owners remark that this is their wine store and they know what they're talking about, not you.
Hello Kitty isn't just for little Japanese girls anymore.
Many years ago, while I was teaching aspiring singers and dancers, and producing a television show in Japan, I wrote a blog called "Telling Stories." It lasted [how many days/weeks/months/year?], and eventually I writing in it because I wasn't telling the truth.
If I am truly to celebrate the New Year in a Japanese style, I would "oh-soji" more than just the surface of my life, and quietly observe what's really going on beneath.
Two years ago, I was hurrying through Roppongi Hills, the trendy and central Tokyo hotspot known for its Christmas lights, thinking it was all very beautiful, and also very empty.
On Day One of my teaching job in Okinawa, I held a class with my dancers and singers that had nothing to do with performing. What happened in that classroom every single day for years, changed my outlook on Japan.
In a grimy New York subway station today, I had a revelation about life and all its misgivings: I no longer resent my body.
If you've visited Japan, you may have wondered once or twice if Japanese people are really that nice. It took me years of living there to find out—they're not.
When I was 24, I went back to my birth country in search of a childhood romance.
Growing up, did you ever feel you were hiding your real self from the world?
Kiki is a writer and certified yoga instructor based in New York City. She was born in Tokyo and raised in Los Angeles. Kiki spent ten years in Japan, teaching aspiring performers, directing musicals, and writing a weekly television program.
Want more Kiki? Follow her blog Kiki Media and on Twitter @kiki_murai.