I had the chance to give a talk to some ST readers in Osaka recently. In that talk, I mentioned a line from "On Joy and Sorrow" by Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran: "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." This line has been a great support to me over the years and I would like to share it with other ST readers, too.
When I give a lecture, the question that I'm asked most often is: "What was most challenging about your seven years abroad, apart fromgoing without soba, ramen and natto?" And I'd have to say there are two things that were equally challenging: going without friends and family for such a long time, and not being able to communicate with the people around me.
I don't think I'd care to repeat the experience. Some of it was horrible and almost unbearable. But in the end, the sorrow, the hardship, was unmasked and I realized that behind the mask of suffering was the joy of being able to share my ideas in English with others.
Most importantly, going through that process of realization made me aware that no experience is entirely happy nor entirely unhappy, and it brings to mind a few more lines of "On Joy and Sorrow":
"When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
Q1 The two most challenging things for kana while she was in the States were:
A1) Being away from loved ones and being unable to communicate in English.
A2) Being unable to eat Ramen and watch Japanese TV.
A3) Being unable to complete a sophisticated jigsaw puzzle.
正解： A1) Being away from loved ones and being unable to communicate in English.
Q2 The last line of the column — a line from "On Joy and Sorrow" — states that:
A1) We can only feel happy once we have experienced sadness.
A2) Things that make you happy also once made you sad, and vice versa.
A3) We will never be happy unless we get rid of all things that cause sadness in life.
正解： A2) Things that make you happy also once made you sad, and vice versa.