A Life In My Day

I. Dreams

Akarui - "Bright"

This is a combination of the characters for sun and moon. It reflects ther brightness of dreams in comparison to the harsh reality in which we live our lives.


The Sun and The Moon

At night when I dream, I dream of the day I reach the stars, the day I become my own person. Maturity personifies my ultimate goal. My dreams show one in search of the lost moon. I dream always of a man searching. His search continues every night, each time getting closer and closer to completion. He searches to find that which is rightfully his. Every time he searches, he finds. While he searches to unite the living elements, the sun and the moon, I seek to unite my childhood with my adulthood. I seek to become a man.

A cool wind breezes by his face. He stands in the middle of a deserted street. He has only his eyes to see, his ears to hear, his tongue to taste, his nose to smell, his finger to feel for life. The look of his dried eyes, a heart to appease. A desire born the day he came into being, a goal soon to be reached.

He stands there in a still calm. His face is red with heat. His eyes are a faded white. He can be heard breathing so heavily, but his face shows no sign of fatigue, no sign of fear. He seeks to carry on. This is his day.

I remember the day this searching man came into my dreams. The sky itself dominated my vision. It was split in two, right down the middle; and, there he stood, just below the dividing line. There he stood gazing at the pink glow of the sun’s rays, and the sparkling stars sewn into the quilted nighttime sky. Suddenly, a quake fell upon the land. It descended from the heavens like a bird swooping at its prey. With such commanding force it shook the ground, causing the man to fall to his knees. I could hear him begin to sob. His cry vibrated throughout my ears. It stood out above all else. Then, it happened. The moon’s shimmering aura fell away into the golden sky. Soon it became nothing. It happened in such haste I lost my chance to see. When I regained my vision, I saw the sun, bright overhead; the moon, vanished forever.

Ever since that fateful night I have come continuously to this exact point in the picture. He stands there looking up at the sun, weeping. Every night I see him there, and I am forced to weep as well. I feel his pain, his anger. But, I wonder why such anger is present. I haven’t the slightest idea. Just there, an emotion too strong to describe in words.

To his right is the valley and to his left is the ocean. The road he stands upon divides the two. Every time I see him, he takes the same course. Without raft or boat, he walks into the shadow of the valley. As he stands in darkness, I enter his mind. I see what he sees, David staring at Goliath, a man looking to enter heaven. He has not a chance in the world to overcome. He looks to the ocean again, yet another impossible feat. Yet, he knows. He will not have ascended, his efforts then made worthless. He looks back into the shadows again, looking for hope.

In the middle of the valley there lies a mountain. It is directly in the center, and rises far above the walls of the valley. Its peak shines with the shimmer of the moon. It touches the sky. He finds his hope.

As the sun begins to fall to the sea, he slowly treads the outskirts of the valley, slowly approaching the beginning of the mountain. I see from his eyes again. His purpose is now ever so clear. Before the sun and sea are one, the moon must shine, or else submit to eternal darkness must the entire world. The sun falls every so quickly. He begins to climb the side of the mountain with haste; his time is nearing.

A blur of green a red, trees and bloodshed. Higher and higher come has he. Rays of gold and pink shoot across the sky to the sun, now half hidden in the water’s edge. The brilliance now fades to gray. The moon’s shimmer at the mountain peak begins to fade. Tears fill his eyes.

Give me the strength to carry on. A quest paid in blood. He treads softly across steep edges and sharp rocks, climbing trees and leaping in faith. Finally, he has reached the top. In the darkened sky lies the hope of life. A small crescent, sewn into the quilted nighttime sky, shining alone, shining with hope. I see the moon, brilliantly lighting a valley. The quest is over. A man, I have become.

Good morning. It’s time to wake up. The rest of my day to come . . .


II. Adversity


Katai - "Difficulty"

This character consists of the roots meaning "achieve" and "in the purest form." I chose it to represent the hardships I have encountered in my life, and as means to say that with overcoming hardship comes success.


Endless Maze

Inferiority. Frustration and embarrassment. To know there are those in the accelerated pace, those learning so much more. Yet, in every other aspect, they reflect your character, your persistence. The greatest opportunity of your life, stripped by a single miscomprehension of our English language. What a bummer huh? This was the greatest opportunity, the greatest privilege my life could have ever accepted. Why have you been left behind?

As a shed of light shines on your second chance, you rise to the occasion. Now’s not the time to make a mistake. Now’s the time to prove to the world you have the potential to be something. Now, on an even plain with those you envied, survival is your only concern.


Number upon number leads to function upon function which leads guess upon guess. They call calculus the math of approximation, because it is all simply a guess. All part of an endless maze that defines the language of mathematics. In its infinite capability and potential, it can send a man to the moon. Without proper usage, it’ll get as far as the paper in front of you. Great men after great men, all in a sequence, have a made a difference in this ultimate language. They’re lives were most likely dry, sad, and overall lonely.

There she stands in front of the room. The lenses of her glass reflect the brightness of the sun shining through the window. I get a glimpse into her mind, her purpose, what she expects of me. Ominous. Intimidating. The one I must appease. A small woman with a weak yet sweet voice; my worst nightmare.

The feeling of being unworthy among the worthy engulfs my mind as I sit amongst those I’ve held utmost respect for. Almost like a dream come true, I sit amongst the geniuses of tomorrow. The first female president; the first to find a cure to cancer; the first to send a man to mars; they all sit amongst me this day, and for that I shake in my seat. I now sit with the elite, the most revered. To realize I could be unfit for such a privilege would destroy the very esteem that aspired to such greatness. To watch my grade sink as a boat that lost its will to sail. Failing is unforgivable, but ultimately inevitable.

Day after day, I sit in this still chair, listening intently, expecting the hardships of life to return to my being. Comprehension to me is like second nature. Application is a realm I have never been able to grasp during my time in this world. I had the potential to rise above and excel, or sink below and fail. All an endless maze of shattered goals and dreams.

Test after test, failure after failure, why do I sit in this chair? I am undeserving of the privilege I lusted for my entire high school career. On an even plain, shattered dreams. Beaten, defeated. I know I tried my best, but I still wasn’t good enough. For me, this is the hardest to cope with. This endless maze truly has an end. No quit. I just couldn’t survive.


No Guts, No Glory

As I stand here on this deserted field, my mind thinks to those times of pain and suffering, the unbearable weight I bore upon my back, the hardships that make up my life. I stand here, waiting for my time to come.

The day is unusually bright. The suns rays, shooting from the sky to the field, burn my skin. The heat consumes my body. My blood begins to rush. We were matured as rushing bulls, one to three hundred miles per hour in a fraction of a second. We are taught to swiftly inflict pain. The key is quickness. We are raised as defenders, molded as soldiers to protect; now, here we stand, ready to fulfill our purpose.

The everlasting battle between mind and spirit came to an ultimate clash the day I walked off the field. It waged long and hard. My over-ambitious mentality drew me astray. I sought too much too soon. Those years ago, I was but a young child set in the middle of a war-zone, bullets flying overhead, warriors poised to kill. Never could I have prepared. Never could I have known the severity. I was thrust into this world without support, only my aspirations to show the way. To war with them, to war with my fears.

My legs gradually sink to the dried mud. One after the other they come in a pack, ready to pounce on me with power and speed. My own endurance wore thin. The sun scorched my skin as a bathed in sweat. I didn’t have the strength to carry on. Physically I was fine; mentally I was destroyed. That day, I succumbed to the sun’s heat, and the overwhelming power they possessed. I can still remember the look of pain in their eyes, the smell of their flesh. Burns and aches escorted me from the field. My trusted friends, worst enemies in the snap of a finger, the shrill shriek of a voice. A violent crack from a shoulder to my head rang ever so dominantly as I limped off the field. Blackness consumed the majority of my vision. I fell to the burning grass.

Into the night I dreamt of glory and my enemies when I overcame. They lay with their faces in the dust, as the pain of loss encompassed their beings. When I dreamt I stood on the field and looked across to his eyes. Bloodshot eyes of ferocity. Strength, unmatched eyes staring across at in all the land. A passion to destroy dominated his soul. Mechanical, maniacal, and powerful, he fell into a set position. The resounding call of the wild as I see sheer power at its finest. The eyes I saw were not those of mine enemy. No, they were too distressed. A cold sweat rolled down my face as I woke to see the sun’s light in my eyes. The eyes I saw were not my enemy’s. The eyes I saw were my own, the monster within. A display of inner fury, my successful failure.

The fury from within proved no match for the physical brutality that was the boundary separating the glory and myself. I saw no other way out, but to succumb to the pressure, to the distress of failure. I could not see through my failure to any accomplishment. I held my head low, slowly walking the quitter’s path, never to set foot on the battleground again.

To quit was a tragedy. To succumb to mere utterances and a few hard knocks. Blessed a chance of redemption at the sound of a merciful voice, I began to work. Countless hours battling metal plates and the locking pain in my chest. Day after day, week after week, I increased endurance, in speed, and in strength, both mentally and physically. Month in and month out, the weakest became the strongest.

The demons of the past are long since dead. I have returned, I have overcome. Now it is my time. Here they come, even bigger than before, ready to pounce on me just the same, and to inflict lasting wounds. However, this time I’m ready. I’ve been waiting for an entire year for this moment. I stare on straight in the eye. It is as if he taunts me like a ghost in the shadows. His eyes blood red, as if ready to consume my entire being. This time, I do not tremble in fear. No, this is my turn to inflict pain. I place my forearms on my bent knees. For this I have waited an eternity. My fingertips finally reach the ground. The opposing commander general bends his knees. His eyes are clear with determination. "Ready, HIT!" To spectators I move slowly. To my enemy, I react at the speed of light. The same crack I felt in battle, I once again feel. Yet, there is no pain; this feeling excites me. A feeling of satisfaction comes from my shoulders to my toes. It is for this moment that I am free. No wrongs, no rights. I unleash my fury. As I re-align, I see his eyes. No longer determined, they are red with fear.

My redemption came at a dear cost. I have come to accept my consequences and live on through. Going back to football was never easy; I knew it wouldn’t be. It was just something I’d kill to reclaim.



Added Value

I sit here, staring into the reflection of my eyes, staring into the problem the moment presents. As I gaze into the mirror, the aggravation I hold make the unsightly features of my faces stand out. My eyes have become red. They are ever so watery from the lack of time dedicated to rejuvenation. Thoughts in my head of a girl, a test, the end of an era cloud my vision. In the reflection I see the window I could not open, the marble I could not carve, the ghost, my inability to accomplish. Through the window I can see the clouds encompassing the sky. The sun’s light brought hope, but now it rests, softly hidden in the clouds. I see the after-images of friends long since gone. I still hear their voices, happy chatter, the life of my freedom. Here I sit, alone, the un-open window, never to allow the flow of fresh air. Soon the cold, still air will overcome. Green with impurity, I hold my marble block. This is my last chance; to fail would be unforgivable. To fail would be my end.

Straight lines imprinted on a piece of rice paper, so simple to the naked eye. A simple blade, used not for its sharp edge, but for its easy handling, making the lines so precise a microscope 1000x magnified could not see deviation. A hand, wrinkled throughout the years, missing the tip of its middle finger, takes hold of the blade and begins to carve. Slowly, precisely, always moving. Marble in hand, with force, is applied to the thin sheet of paper. An ancient Asian art, fourteen hundred years in the making, a blood red box, disturbed by lines of white. Sincere eyes of the master bid us good luck.

An uneven shape meets the roughness of sandpaper. A fine powder, here I have collected in a mountain as to make myself of some worth. My mind begins to drift further and further, through the closed window, out onto the pathway leading to the quad, above the buildings, above the mountain, to the clouds. I am stopped here. I travel up the pathway to see the ghost of sincere eyes, the ghost of the sparkling sun, the ghost of my grandmother’s home, the ghost of hope long since gone. Tears roll down the image of my face peering through the window as I see her slowly walking away. To embrace would be freedom. Yet, she slowly drifts away. I suffer as reality never holds true. She has disappeared. It feels as if this undertaking is one too great to achieve.

Now, here I once again sit, staring into my eyes, my greatest challenge, my life has yet to succeed. Redness spreads from cheek to cheek, the disease it is, showing its true colors. The ghost of my dream haunts me through the reflection of the closed window. Simple lines I see right there on the paper, I cannot see it in the block of marble. The temperature drops little by little. My fingers quiver as the cold treads up my arm. Just as I failed the sincere eyes, just as I failed the sparkling sun, just as I failed my grandmother’s home, just as I failed the ghost of hope, to fail now would be my end. I could always dream, but I never could do.

The tears of anger slowly trickle down my face, as if escaping my being. I bring my hand to calm my face. I hold my face in water until the frustration has left in tears. I sit down with clear eyes staring at me from the mirror. The dark granite lines on the thin rice paper have become white lines etched in the marble. It sits there, its impurities now reflect its true beauty. My face slowly becomes tender and peach. The light entering the room hits the table first, then the mirror. The palm trees swaying back and forth make the light shimmer, my sparkling eye.

My own personal seal. An Asian art, created in the days of the ancients, I have now overcome. One and one-half hours of free time, strength, and will etched into the white lines in the marble block. My eyes are red again, yet they now tear with joy. A blood red stain interrupted by flowing white lines on my small piece of paper now bare my name. As I sit here, alone, my dream, I have overcome. As I open the door, the fresh air flows in. There, I can see the sparkling sun; she waits for me. The rest of my day to come.


Shin - "Faith"

I chose it as a representation that one must have faith in himself to overcome adversity, and indeed to succeed in life.


III. 5th


Ani - "Brother"

For me, this character represents my brothers, and how, though over time we have drifted apart, I can always look to what they have shared with me in the past for comfort. This character does resemble something on legs, just as my brothers grew legs to drift away from home. However, our happiness will always live in my memories.




High on the wall in my parents’ room,

Two shadows and one boy

A forced smile gleams as ghostly eyes look on

How did I lose them?

Drift across the wall, on the other side of the bed

There hangs a rusted frame, three wandering children

Their dress that covers them,

Their eyes that unite them,

These three are as one.

A lowly plant that defies our upbringing,

Burn and defy the law.

Attraction and self-indulgence,

I am the best.

Innocence, incompetence,

What have I to achieve?

Two shadows and one boy

Smile at all who pass by,

The boy’s smile is fresh,

The ghosts smile, a time long since gone.

Separate to achieve.


The Last


The last to smell the soothing air,

The last to breathe the freshness of life

The last to leave my former life.

The last leaf of autumn,

Waiting for its time to fall,

It hangs on by a thread

The last breath of a dying soul,

Hindering passage to the next life,

Lingering in strong will.

A lone scavenger,

Salvaging what he can to survive,

The last of his kind.

A lost child, unable to find his way,

I am the last of my brothers,

The last to venture into the world,

The last to forsake my former life.




IV. Sounds


Go - "Magnificence"

I have chosen it to represent the magnificence of music and its amazing impact on my life. It can also be reflective of the effects of playing in the spotlight.



A journey across campus
To freedom, to freedom

Walking through the front door of Alexander, I follow the hall through to the end. The last left leads to the dean's office. It is here I have kept my secret. Stowed away in her room every day, I keep my guitar.

A blend of old and new,

Soft touch, sliding fingers mute and pluck

My guitar for four years.

I exit Alexander on the side closest to the locker room. My friends are waiting up at the tree. I slowly pace; they all wait under the tree.

The tree,

Shelter to all,

Bringer of hope.

I see them in the distance. Josh brings out his "big white book."

Two hundred forty-six and counting,

The big white book,

He who possesses freedom in his palm.

I open the case and bring out my massive classic guitar. A sweet melody begins to hum from its face.


A blend of old and new,

Soft touch, sliding fingers mute and pluck,

My guitar for four years.

For four hours, we sing and play music. Expressing the freedom forever, I play to my heart's content.


The sweet melody fills my ears,

My heart to appease.

For these four hours I am free of all responsibility, free of all pain and hardship, filled with the power of the spirit.


A journey across campus,

To freedom, to freedom.


Coming of Age

One by one they flow through the valleys

Fighting each other for a place in time.

A bright light,

Shining from above,

blinds me for a moment.

A yell from afar,

a war cry,

my hands tremble in fear.

Shaking knees,

My stomach twists.

A darkness blankets the landscape,

There is suddenly peace.

Thousands of eyes protrude the sea of black.

The never-dying voice of the multitude,

Ringing forever

The twitch of my finger

sends a vibration throughout the lands,

the peace is disrupted by silence.

I stand alone, waiting.

All eyes have turned to me.

A shimmer of fear,

My head shifts down and to the left.

Too great, nearly impossible,

I choose to ignore.

My fingers begin to flow like magic,

Moving across like jumping fleas.

Here I stand, alone,

Success only five minutes away.

A shrill voice fills the air,

Singing to the assembled

A slash of confidence,

The music flows well.

I can feel the power.


V. Love

Ai - "Love"

Ai literally means love in all its forms. This includes love, being loved, giving love, and sharing love. It includes the root that means "heart." It represents the feelings we all have or once had growing up.

Ideal Love

By my ideals do I suffer,

By my dreams I am set free.

The words I say this day

Are not the words I utter in the midst of the night's calm.

Love, a familiar storybook,

A simple hello,

A painful goodbye.

The feelings I have for her

Tempt my courage;

I want her to know.

She sits just out of arm's reach.

Her still frame, calm and peaceful,

The sparkle of her eyes.

My bold voice trembles,

A sound mind reason.

I'd rather watch love flourish in my dreams

Than make it reality

And witness brutality.

By my ideals do I suffer;

By my dreams I am set free.

There she is, all by herself. Now's your chance.



A Dreamer's Wish

The look of your eyes withers me so.

I have become myself a dreamer,

Reality a closed door.

Your eyes have never left me since that day,

And when they look to me,

I sadly ponder

What could have been.

Had I only the courage.

Had I only a man's voice.

Had I only us in mind.

The love I have for you this day is not real.

It is merely a dream.


For just one night, to hold you in my arms,

Only to catch a glimpse of life.


Ki - Inner Character

This character is meant to represent the inner being of a person, displaying whether his or her character is strong or weak. I chose this to fit in with the theme of love, in that it reflects me as a person, and how I have the potential to make choices, both good and bad.


VI. Return


Arigato - "Thank You"

Arigato was derived from the Portuguese phrase with the same meaning. It is generally used when one shows appreciation for a deed done, or a deed that will be done. The kanji that compose the word literally mean "to be with difficulty." Every time one says "arigato," he is showing appreciation for the hardships the other has undergone, regardless of severity, for his own sake. These characters represent my intent, as I am appreciative of all those who have undergone hardships for may sake. All of these have contributed to making me who I am. They all sacrificed something, from time, money, and patience, with the intent of making me a better person. For all this, I owe them my endless gratitude.


Journey Home

Yet another day in my life soon comes to a close. As I reflect upon things I hope to accomplish, I look back upon the day that is done. I’ve always been told to live in the moment, but for once I’d like to live in the past, for that is where the true lesson lies. Every day in my life has produced a lesson I will keep until I am no longer able to comprehend. This long day was filled with mischief and pain, yet with accomplishment, and the feeling of love. As I sit on the cold steps of the science center after dusk, I look back at the life that was my day.

I had this weird dream last night about this guy in search of the moon. It felt almost like a storybook, because the sun and moon are opposites, and, to have their coexistence represent peace and harmony was something beyond my imagination. The most intriguing part of the dream was the small crescent, sewn into the quilted nighttime sky, shining alone, shining with hope. I remember seeing the moon, high above the mountain peaks, shining all by itself. This was my hope for success, in climbing the mountain, and in overcoming life.

I had a hard time in math class today. It’s tough to have it in the morning, I guess, because, after I’ve just woken up, I have hard time getting motivated to learn. Yeah, I got another B on a test. I know I’m struggling, but the teacher is just too ominous and intimidating to conference with. I guess you could say I’m scared of her in a way. That class really is an endless maze of shattered goals and dreams.

Calligraphy was no exception to the pain. I went to class right after math, and well, I wasn’t in a very good mood. We learned to carve seals today. You wonder how those old Chinese guys are so precise with their lines. In that class, our sensei asks us to leave our problems at the door. I had hard time, a lot because of her, and well, I just couldn’t focus. I remember at one point dozing off. It was almost like I was flying up into Manoa valley; I just couldn’t pass the clouds. Then it flashed before me, all the times I had failed in my high school career. It was tough, and it didn’t make carving any easier. But, hehe, the sun came back out of the clouds eventually, I carved the seal. Don’t ask me how I did it; I just did.

During my two-hour break today, I had to call my brother to hear about the afternoon’s plans. I don’t talk to either of them any more. When he hangs up, he doesn’t even say "bye" anymore. I remember when we were all ten years younger. We were so close; we’d hug every time. Now they’re like ghosts. I never see them. My picture, hanging on our parents’ wall, is the only fresh one. The others haven’t been renewed since their graduation.

Thank God for music. If it weren’t for music, today would’ve been all that much worse. The latter part of my two-hour break was spent jamming on the guitar w/ Josh and da boyz. Playing has always been my way of release. It is for that moment in time where the words come out perfectly, that I truly am free.

I only saw her once today. But, she gave me a little smile. You think there’s still a chance for us to make it or what? I spent most of my time thinking of her, wondering about her life before she ever knew me. I had the chance to talk to her again, but I just chickened out. The smile is all I really wanted. I’d rather see her smile everyday than become her boyfriend and break her heart. She’s too precious to know.

Football practice wasn’t very easy today either. After quitting last year, I’ve had a hard time gaining back the respect of those who once revered me. I know there are consequences, but football has been something I’ve loved too much to lose. I realized this when I quit, so now I’m back, right where I started. Through all the blood, sweat, and tears, though this may seem unrealistic, I actually enjoy the pain. I love the game too much to ever let it go again.

The flashing headlights protruding the night’s darkness. It’s my mother, finally arrived after a long day’s work. I grasp my chest to salvage all the warmth my body can offer. I quickly make my way to the side of the van. "How was your day?" she asked.

"Nothing out of the ordinary," I responded. The long ride home is always what leads to the next day. Thus begun my journey home.


It came to an end just as it came into being. It in itself was my way of release. A world of thought on a few pages of writing, a few hours in the world of the brush. This is my effort, my product. Live a life in my day, and tell me how you feel.




VII. Final Reflection



A Life in My Day


It came to an end just as it came into being. It in itself became my way of release. A world of thought in a few pages of writing, a few hours in the world of the brush. This is my project. Live a life in my day, and tell me how it goes.


A Life in My Day consists of a written component as well as an artistic component. The concept is a process by which I can evaluate the events of my day, both good and bad, and how they affect my life. I sought to include the aspects of my day that make it worth living.

The original writing component of this project came about by an idea for a cycle paper. At the time, I was going through hardships, just like any other student, and felt that doing a line of papers in this manner would be a way of release. It wasn’t until after finishing the first paper that I felt compelled to write a few more, which became a few more, which became about twenty-three all together. Writing is a good way to release stress, or the hardships one encounters on a daily basis. I found this to be this case with each piece I wrote.

The calligraphy component to this project came about as a last minute addition. After looking at the projects of students who successfully achieved quality, I felt my project, merely a big piece of writing at the time, was missing something. One day, I was late for a conference because of my need to finish my calligraphy project. I brought a version of the piece with me to the conference, and it was suggested that I find a way to work the calligraphy into the project. I thought it would be an interesting endeavor. My original interest in Asian art was a direct result of my upbringing, and taking calligraphy was the next step. I patiently tried and tried again, struggling to think of characters that would be most compatible with my pieces of writing. That was only half the battle, as I then had to write them with brush and paper. I feel that calligraphy is also is a release, as it is a method by which the mind can come to complete focus and concentration. A focused mind is a productive mind.

The combination of these components resulted in an interesting product. I realized that the characters went well with the themes of certain pieces. That is why I chose to develop each piece of writing with different pieces of calligraphy in separate sections. Each section represents something I go through in my everyday life. This helped me to organize my thoughts, and to better deliver my message.

I’d call this a quality piece because it means something to me. The effort I put in is reflected in what’s shown. To many others, this collection might be a bunch of crap with no meaning at all. I believe quality, which can be related in many ways to beauty, is indeed in the eye of the beholder. I feel this holds much value in that it reflects my perspective on life.


Matt Y.
Grade Ten
May 2002