On the night before I went back to Japan, I had a long talk with my Dad. We’re not ‘best friends’ like my mom; he’s still trying to teach me the ‘correct’ ways of the world. I don’t always agree. However, the older I get, the more wiser my father seems. Looking back at some things he told me in the past, I realize now that he was right, and he was telling me things from experience. For example, in college I really wanted to study Portuguese. I did BJJ and my friends spoke it, so I wanted to master Japanese, Portuguese, AND Spanish, so I took all these language classes. He told me, “You better drop Spanish and Portuguese, because although you’d become ‘okay’ at it, you wouldn’t become fluent enough to use it for financial benefit. You should focus on your Japanese studies.” I was like, “No way, I really wanna do it! I can do it!”
He was right. I forgot most of my Spanish and Portuguese.
I also find that the little voice in the back of my head is usually right. It says things like, “You’ll never become really good at boxing.” “You’ll never get good at math.” “You’ll never get a job using Japanese if you don’t study and take classes and focus.” “You physically don’t have the time to have a boyfriend.”
I usually just ignore the voice because I don’t want to hear it. But usually it’s right. And it’s been proven again and again.
Dad showed me this newspaper article about successful businessmen writing goals down in steps, and inspired, I wrote a list of my goals. I showed it to him, hoping to get fatherly approval. Things like, “Graduate from college. Check. Become proficient at Japanese. Check. Become fluent in Japanese. (no check yet). Get good at teaching kids. Check. Do translation/interpretation (check). Make a lot of money being a translator/interpreter (no check yet). Become the number one female fighter. (No check yet).”
etc. He read half the list and then stopped at the “make a lot of money doing translating/interpreting.” He asked me what job I was thinking of that would do this for me. I said I didn’t know. He said, “Well, you obviously don’t have the confidence in your Japanese ability to do this job, because you didn’t write ‘check’ yet. I’ve been in the business field and I have yet to find a ‘translation’ job other than the UN. People use language skills in their field as a tool, but I think this is a very important point you need to consider.”
After further discussion, I realized that I had an incorrect assumption that if only I could become fluent in Japanese, I could have access to high-paying jobs. No.
Website owners like Marq (wombatsports.com) and Rob (MMArising.com) say “Hey, can you translate this interview for me?” or “Could you translate Megumi’s post-fight comment?” And I’m like WEEEEEEEEEEE happy, because that’s my dream! I want to give an English voice to the Japanese fighters and help promote them. I feel that’s one of my callings.
And it amounts to exactly zero dollars. 🙁 There’s a problem there….. (I’m not implying they need to pay me) but basically these little translations I love to do so much are far and few between.
So therefore, I got on the plane thinking, “Gee, I actually have no career goals.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the end to begin with, when I first started college. I thought I’d come across something during my studies, or during being in Japan.
I told Dad that I wanted to focus really hard on MMA this year, because I can only do it while I’m young. Of course I knew he would say this: “By that time, you’ll be too old, and younger people will be favored in the job market over you.”
He does have a point. But I’m going to ignore that advice. This year, I’m going to apply myself wholeheartedly to turning around my MMA career. I believe I’m not out of this sport yet. A little later, I’ll focus on my non-fighting career. I’m going to delay making that effort. And pray that my father is wrong. Even though he hasn’t been so far.…