Futher good-luck advice from Prof. Shirane's graduate seminar students

Good luck guranteed!

Question from Mentaiko

I’ve fallen for someone, but I don’t have the courage to approach him…

MetaphorLike birds in spring.

Divine Waka MessageMoe izuru kusaba wa hana ni narinikeri yūbe nodokeki kusa no muramura

(The season has come for budding plants to flower. What a peaceful field of blossoms in the sunset.)

I have someone that I like right now. But the situation is that there are at least two or three other girls who are after him. Compared to others, I am not that pretty or stylish. My work or family background aren’t anything to be proud of either. Is it normal to like someone and even think, “I want to go out with him,” when I have no faith in myself? I can’t help feeling that I am doing something that is very presumptuous (unworthy, pitiful, embarrassing). It’s because I have these feelings that I keep hesitating to approach him. My feelings for him are the same, but I’m scared that being liked by someone like me will just be a nuisance to him. The fortune said, “This is your time to make a fresh start. Don’t miss your chance.” But I don’t have the courage...

Good-luck advice from Stephen Choi, Prof.Shirane's seminar student

It's difficult to have faith in yourself, especially in front of someone you really like. But the poem shows such a positive fortune that I think you can allow yourself to be encouraged!

Spring, the season of love, is the main theme of the poem. This is telling you that, yes, it is perfectly okay and “normal” to like someone and want to be with him. Just like how spring comes to the grassy fields and makes the flowers bloom, love is something that comes to you—to everyone. You can’t tell spring to wait or go away, nor will your feelings listen to your reasoning. It’s not your fault that you like him. It’s just the changing of emotions, just like the changing of seasons.

Now let’s look at the picture and its caption. There are a pair of birds enjoying the new spring. Does it matter whether the bird is a rich bird? A pretty bird? Or a bird from a good family? Does one bird deserve to enjoy the spring more than the other? Anybody can enjoy the spring, and the best way to do it is together with someone else. Love is the same way. It isn’t something you do. It’s something you share and enjoy with another person.

It is time to make a fresh start. Why? Because fresh new feelings have come to you. There is no need to think whether you are ready for it. Spring doesn’t come because flowers have already bloomed. Flowers bloom because spring has come. Nobody is ready for love before it happens. If you choose to embrace your feelings and be true to it, you will grow and blossom. Flowers could be a metaphor for many things, but I see it here as self-confidence. If you act on your new feelings and approach the man you like, you can give your self-confidence a chance to grow. If you don’t do anything, you will stay the same as you are now.

The important thing to remember is that spring comes and goes, but it always comes back again. Your feelings toward this person may change, whether you decide to approach him or not. And after a while, spring will come again and you will fall in love again. Until you find the right person, love will come and go just as the seasons do. Remember, if you fail or embarrass yourself this time, there will always be a next time. When it says “don’t miss your chance,” it doesn’t mean don’t miss the chance to get this guy. It means, don’t miss this chance to grow and learn more about yourself. There is a flower within you ready to bloom. Why not give it some water and find out what color it is?