I often find myself questioning whether my vivid recollections are mere figments of my imagination or fragments of past lives lived.
In one memory, I find solace within the serene confines of an ancient Asian temple, my meditation spot on a balcony overlooking a lush natural garden, shrouded in the gentle haze of a summer day. I don’t think I was a monk, just someone seeking tranquility.
In another, I’m a resident of a small Japanese village, preparing to venture into the turmoil of World War II in Okinawa.
This tale is woven around my past life memories of Okinawa, a region famed for its tropical climate, sandy beaches, coral reefs, and World War II remnants.
My first encounter with Okinawa dates back to my school days when history textbooks depicted the harrowing Battle of Okinawa during World War II. Those images were peculiarly arresting, standing out amidst a sea of pages. It’s hard to explain, but something deep within me recognized these scenes, urging me to explore further. I frequented the library, delving into documentaries about the Battle of Okinawa, drawn inexplicably to its stories.
Perhaps in that life, I harbored a love for American culture, contemplating a musical career. Maybe I was a music teacher, or perhaps, my affection for music was just a passion. Despite my affinity for the arts, destiny led me to the battlefield.
I’ve visited Okinawa thrice, each visit etching beautiful memories in my soul. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, I unexpectedly found myself at Himeyuri-no-tou, conversing with a woman from the Himeyuri Butai. It felt like fate guiding me. I had planned to pursue a session musician career in Los Angeles, but Okinawa beckoned instead. I don’t feel like I’ve returned permanently to Japan; it’s more like I’m revisiting, my spirit tied to this land.
One profound moment occurred at an A&W in Ishigaki Island, where tears flowed uncontrollably. Memories resurfaced of childhood bullying, actions I deeply regret. These memories haunt me, occasionally resurfacing, even now in Sapporo, where I encounter faces from the past.
I’ve heard stories of others sobbing at the mere sight of Okinawan islands, reminiscent of my own experiences. Sharing my narrative with Pazu, my yoga teacher, he suggested it might be a form of healing. Since then, my fixation on beach fantasies has waned. Instead, I’ve immersed myself in my music, forming my own band, channeling my emotions and memories into my art.
These memories, vivid as they are, could be mere illusions, figments of a vivid imagination. Yet, there’s an eagerness in me to believe in their authenticity. I long for someone who can see through my eyes, understand the depths of my soul.
Japan remains occupied by the US, and while the culture thrives, the scars of war persist. I sensed an otherworldly presence in Tokyo, especially outdoors and atop buildings—a feeling difficult to articulate but undeniably strong.