Rachel's Japan Opportunity

This has been a lifetime goal for me, an opportunity that I have to put my all into.  Sensei (teacher) will take her students to several locations in Japan.  I have independently studied Japanese for a few years.  Anywhere.  Anytime.  Studying at the local bakery before work and into the evening after seeing to my responsibilities.  I worked towards this for a very long time.  I also tutor Beginning Japanese to youth and adults in order to strengthen my knowledge and desire. This dream is about stepping out on faith and realizing what this world is trying to tell me. I've never left North America. I don't even have a passport, yet.  Fear has given me the wrong voice for too long, making it harder than it has to be. 

I've always had a love for language studies.  I am one of the original graduates of Detroit's Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School; the very first Valedictorian. The school educated us in our respective chosen languages, originally only Spanish.  International trips were also part of the experience but my family could never afford them. Watching my entire class and teacher leave was hard. It left a longing that remained for many years. I was from a very sheltered life and it kept me from many things when I was younger.  Something I want to rectify.

My artistic background has also pushed me to this culture.  Exposed early in life to the art, music and history, I knew it was only a matter of time that I needed to fully immerse myself.  I want to bring what I learn back to my city.  Back to Detroit. I want my art to speak of what I may learn.  So it can have that influence only I can get by experience.  The locations are amazing: Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.  The most awe inspiring experience will be to actually climb Mt. Fuji

My trip may also allow me to exercise my abilities in becoming the future Dilla's Delights Ambassador.  Dilla's Delights is home to the best donut shop in Detroit and I'm honored to be a representative.  Herman Hayes, better known as 'Uncle Herm'  founded the shop in honor of his nephew James D. Yancey, better known as J Dilla.  It's humble goal to promote a culture of hard work and dedication! Dilla's Delights will someday make it's way to Japan to serve Dilla's many fans.  Until that debut, I want to make friends and share some of our Detroit made fanfare. 

I have barely maintained through recent financial and personal hardships because of my very independent personality.  Yet, I know that the biggest and hardest thing for me is to validate that life will make changes for you but your character will mold you.  The trip is slipping through my fingers.  It occurs mid July and the expenses are crucial:  Care for myself, care for my senior dog Poochie while I'm away and the inevitable expense of travel fees. I would begin my 38th journey around the sun while I'm there.  I can't imagine a more beautiful thing. 

This is hard to do.  I'm actually scared.  It's hard to accept that you can't do everything alone.  Sometimes you need the help and support of those around you.  I consider myself a proud, strong, independent woman.  Perseverance fuels me.  Yet, this is bigger than I ever imagined it to be and I'm humbled to a degree that reminds me of a lesson that some who know me well always say to me: "You have always done for everyone else.  Ignoring your own needs and wants.  It's time to do for yourself.  Stop worrying about what other people think of you.  Live your life for you."


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Rachel Barker 
Detroit, MI
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