Keiko, "We don’t need to belong. We’d rather be connected." Yes, so true this statement is for me. I like how the pigeon took his spot in one of the sqaures.
Rebb,Besides, if I have no connection, I don’t see a reason to belong. In Japanese life, many people belong to groups or clubs. In those groups, we’re either in or out. If they’re not open, I stay out. Some people stay there because they’re afraid of quitting. You probably cannot imagine that. It's good and bad as usual.
We are all connected, to each other and nature. Sometimes we just forget the simple, beautiful truth of that. The pigeons know. And you too, Keiko. Thanks for sharing this.:)
Keiko, Are some people afraid of quitting because of what others will think of them? I have never liked “groups” too much for the simple fact that I know myself better when I am connected but on the outskirts, not a part of a herd. But that’s just me and works for me. I know that I was in a relationship a very long time ago and I wouldn’t quit even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I felt like if I couldn’t make it work, I was somehow a failure. I know that’s different than groups, but in a way it could have the same characteristics.
Rebb,I think you’re right about the same characteristic. True. This happened only once, but a woman thanked me for giving her courage to quit. I didn’t do anything for her. She said she had been thinking of quitting the group but she couldn’t. It was a nonfiction writing class--we’re all Japanese—and because of me, she said she could quit. I became good friends with them, but I wasn’t going to sign up again. The teacher and the whole class kept asking me, “Are you quitting? Why?” I replied to the teacher in front of the whole class, “I enjoyed the class, and I’ll recommend it to people. But why do you keep asking “Are you quitting? In the U.S., usually no students would take the same class. Why should we take the same class over and over again?’” I guess that made sense to them because after that, they stopped asking, and they also didn’t give other woman a hard time. After that, I kept in touch with the teacher and the group, and joined their teatime once in a while for several years. Many students were 10-year or more old timers. You probably cannot imagine how that is possible! And the fee is not cheap. Because I grew up in this kind of closed-up culture, I love openness. My mother was a traditional ocha teacher, and she was a queen of such tightly-knit group. I’ve seen everything behind the scenes. I really don’t know how she did it. I’m allergic to notoriously closed-up groups like ocha groups, but I have tremendous respect to my mother’s leadership. I guess even among Americans, this kind of situations could come up in different degrees.
Dorraine,Thank you for a great connection! I needed that.
Keiko, Thanks very much for sharing this story. It helps put this particular group and quitting into perspective for me from your point of view. I’m glad that you and your friend were able to walk away from the class and the teacher stopped asking why. It sounds like it turned out to be a very good experience. Now that I understand the story, I must say, if I could repeat one class over and over it would be poetry writing. Unfortunately, as a rule, at our community colleges here, you cannot repeat the same class. I would probably keep taking the class for years if they let me. For the groups you speak of, with the fee not being cheap, I can see how that would be a challenge. I can relate a little bit. Even though school itself is not a group per se, I have been taking one or two classes for the past 18 years. I think there were only a couple of semesters that I skipped. I like the process of learning and needed the structure, but I think this is my last year. I keep saying that, though. But I feel ready to start creating my own structure and continuing my joy of learning and reading on my own, unless of course I see a class I’d like to take. I did see a poetry class online for a 6-month period. It’s not through a traditional college. I might take it. It’s self-paced and you have an instructor that gives you feedback on the assignments and it’s not expensive.The Ocha groups that your mother led sounds interesting, especially since your culture is so imbedded in these groups. I can’t think of any strong American groups like that. Your mother seems like she was a very strong and respected woman. I really enjoyed reading and learning more about your culture, Keiko!
Rebb,I’m all for taking classes for the rest of my life if I find something interesting. It’s always good to meet different teachers and students. Some classes I took in Japan, I quit going after one semester. But even negative experiences have been enriching my life and writing. So I’m still taking some including a study of Kant’s books. It’s probably only such group in the world. Who would study Kant in detail nowadays? Many people probably laugh about it, I think. But the classroom is packed, and we’re serious students. It’s interesting and good to know how Kant tried to prove his logics especially regarding on God. And I find something interesting on language and thinking through reading and discussions. It’s fascinating. About poetry classes, I wish I can take some later on. I took one haiku class though. And for the first time, I learned the rule of haiku workshops. It’s systematic like fine games. I was impressed by it. I bought a summer season book then in order to make formal haiku. But I need three more books of seasons in order to write haiku for autumn, winter, and spring.Perhaps you can join a poetry group. You can even start one. I used to belong to several writing groups. I really enjoyed those meetings. It’s fun.
Keiko,Since you’ve got me thinking more about the meaning of words, I realize now that I don’t like to use the word quit so much because for me it carries a meaning of giving up. When I sign up for class and then decide it’s not working out for me or I just don’t like it or the teacher, I consider that I “dropped” the class. That way, for me, it’s not like I gave up, which is what quit makes me think of. But yes, I have done the same, dropped a class after one semester, but still got something out of it.That’s fantastic that you have the opportunity to take a course that study’s Kant. As I understand, he was quite a significant influence on Philosophy. I’m glad you brought him up because, you made me go to my bookshelves and look in my general overview philosophy books and read a little bit more about him. I did a quick search online, and I only came upon a study abroad course on Kant through the University of Sussex. I would think that some other Universities with strong Philosophy program study Kant. A long time ago my brother had a Kant book lying around. It was Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. At the time, I was unable to digest it. The material was too dense for me and I didn’t have an idea of the history of philsophy, which helps. I would love to take a course on the history of philosophy, but I’m not sure if they offer one at the community college level. I’ll have to check. I have books, but with philosophy, it seems you really need to be in class, not online, but face to face. They don’t even offer philosophy online anyway, at least not where I can take them.It sounds to me like you have a great university there, Keiko, with lots of fascinating courses! You are fortunate.I’ve never taken a Haiku class. It sounds fun. Something to put on my list, if I ever see a class to take.
Rebb,About the meaning of quit, you’re right about it. I just checked my dictionary. It does not give that bit negative meaning. Isn’t that interesting? Only the people paying attention to it know the existence. Therefore, nonexistence is an existence because we recognize the nonexistence.About Kant, that’s the book your brother had. The class is reading toward the end of the Critiques of Pure Reason. The instructor said it’s very difficult to read it alone. You’re right. He also said he still does not understand some of the paragraphs. The class is one of cultural centers, not universities. I like it because it’s close to a major station, easy to register, and no test or any obligation.
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