Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Gate in the Wall

The last eighteen months have been very Full, and my life has changed in so many ways.  While I have been able to speak publicly about some of the challenges I have faced, others I felt were best kept private, partly in an effort not to create more problems for myself.  Perhaps someday I shall write a book...

It is with immense Gratitude that I now share with you my most recent Good News: with literally just days to spare, I have been given a new working visa!!!  And it is with this new visa that I am now officially able to begin my new position as a Research Fellow in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies at the University of Tokyo.

They say that with every one that closes, another door opens.  For me, it was a Gate.

In front of "Aka-mon", the gate to the University of Tokyo's main campus
Last year, my application to renew my visa was turned down by the Japanese government.  Without working status, the company I was working for put me on unpaid leave.  Without a salary, I had to give up my apartment.  The little savings I had was soon gone.  But the initial shock quickly turned into something else: a sense of freedom.  Without an apartment or money, I couldn't buy anything, and so I stopped buying things that I never needed in the first place.  And the job that I was secretly wanting to leave in order to pursue a serious career in filmmaking (but never quite knew how to make the switch) was suddenly gone.

Through the support of the friends and family who knew what was going on, I was given the strength, resources and Peace to embrace this newly found freedom and to do something I never would have been able to do had so much not been taken away from me: embark on a World Tour with my film 'A2-B-C' (website ENGLISH/ 日本語).

I was eventually given a one year visa (which I wrote about in THIS article for a German magazine), but I chose not to go back to work and to forge ahead.  Through the continued encouragement and help of supporters, I remained on tour until the May screening in Brazil, after which I returned to Japan for the domestic tour of the film, which is currently ongoing.

That one year visa expired today.  The question of whether it would be renewed or not has been looming over me for the past 12 month, and it was just a few days ago that I learned that I would be granted another visa.

To some, the Tour might have looked easy and like great fun, but I can assure you it was neither.  Nor could I have accomplished it alone.  From July of last year until this month, I did not receive a salary and survived purely on the kindness of others for food, housing and expenses.  While there has never been anything left over, there has always been exactly enough, and I simply can not put into words how grateful I am.

As I write yet another blog from the airport in Tokyo, this time on my way to NY and Montreal for screenings of my films (INFO), words that I wrote almost exactly one year ago today from this same airport in Tokyo come back to me:

And as I write this, I realize something for the first time: the more I embrace the resistance, the more I am becoming it.

Do not give in to the resistance.  Become it.  
(FULL story HERE).

I am Grateful for all that I have received, and it is with Humility that I ask for your continued support.

In Peace,
Tokyo, Japan


Unknown said...

That's an AMAZING story Ian. I hope you took notes along the way.

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Thank you for reading and for your support, Pat! Much Peace, Ian