Another Namie Amuro song that I adore is Brighter Day from the album of the same name. The song is almost entirely in Japanese, so that will make it hard to really quote, but the general idea was that it is told in the eyes of Namie, to probably her son from the sounds of it, because she talks about being proud of this person and always cheering them on. The song itself reminds me of my own relationship with my mentor, who I will call Rayna. Rayna and I, we are very, very, very, VERY different people. I could use more very’s, but I don’t want to sound any more like a teenaged girl than I already feel like I do with my CAPITALIZED words, exclamations!, and general usage of slang or cuss words, you dumb bitches. But back to Rayna. She became my mentor when I first joined a cultural organization, and I had to get assigned to a mentor. Like I said, we are very different.
Rayna studied physical therapy, loved K-Pop, dancing, and was super Asian. She was very free-spirited, bubbly, and easygoing. She was okay with being 15 minutes late to things, really never worried too much about her career, and was willing to take risks, like moving cross-country with her boyfriend of 7 months despite not securing a job yet. I, on the other hand was super white-washed, loved J-Pop, cooked and baked, and studied hospitality (accounting, food and beverage) and business. I was shy, timid, and very neurotic. I needed to be 30 minutes-1 hour early for everything, I constantly stressed about what I would do about my career, and dating? No time for that, too busy working and stressing. So you could imagine, from an outsider’s perspective, how hilarious this dynamic must have looked. So many people ask me why I chose for Rayna to be my mentor because they can’t imagine what compelled me to choose her over somebody who was more compatible on paper. The reason why I chose her was because we were so different that it would be interesting to learn from somebody who almost completely unlike me.
My relationship with Rayna was a mix between older and younger siblings, mother and child, and just friends. She was very open to my interests and supported me in her very free-spirited ways; while she might not have understood my industry too well, she still encouraged me, reminding me that with my strong work ethic and caring personality, I can get far in life. The song, Brighter Day, I jokingly call it our song because it came out the same year I became her mentee, and it just reminds me of how she’s the one who is always proud of me, but I would always be proud of her as well, so long as she was doing what made her happy. Because of how optimistic she was, the song just seemed to fit her personality in my eyes. Somebody who always found a way for herself. And even if that way was not the traditional means of being successful, she managed to be perfectly happy with whatever it was that she was doing. Granted, at times, I found myself stressed out for her, because of how little she seemed to have her life together, it was just refreshing to know that she was still so happy, no matter what happened.
Would I say that my mentee-mentor relationship with Rayna was flawless? Probably not. We have very different personalities. But because she, being the more free-spirited and open-minded one, was the mentor, it worked. She managed to actually keep me relaxed when we did interact about things that did not involve careers, which is hilarious because of how bad my reputation for being a stress-head actually is and how her employment status would freak me out. Interestingly enough, she would stress me out more in her absence, but when we were together, I would somehow be relaxed. Being in her company was calming, but thinking about how free-spirited she can be would freak me out from time to time. But by being mentored by somebody like her, I can see now that with the right balance of both of our habits, life could be really fun to live. It’s okay to have some free-spiritedness, but in moderation, and in the right outlets. Life can have brighter days, with a good attitude, an open mind, and a willingness to relax and actually enjoy the moment, even if it is just for a split second. In my feather-light world, everyone can have that balance of working hard at work, but enjoying life as it comes, but keeping the two distinct and separate entities.