Hitoha Miyamizu: Treasure the experience. Dreams fade away after you wake up.
Mitsuha Miyamizu: There’s no way we could meet. But one thing is certain. If we see each other, we’ll know. That you were the one who was inside me. That I was the one who was inside you.
Taki Tachibana: The dream I must have had I can never recall. But…
Mitsuha Miyamizu: But… the sensation that I’ve lost something lingers for a long time after I wake up.
Taki Tachibana: Our timelines weren’t in step. If time can really be turned back, give me one last chance.
Quotes from “Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)”, 2016
My friend, Yan Hao invited me to watch a free movie screening of the popular Japanese anime “Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)” with her earlier this month. When I first saw its trailer, I already knew it was going to be a movie which I could relate to with my own out-of-world love mystery with Taenggu. It tells the story of a high school girl in rural Japan named Mitsuha and a high school boy in Tokyo named Taki who intermittently swap bodies in their dreams. They would wake up in each other’s bodies and go through the day of each other’s lives. And when they wake up in their own body the next day, they have no recollection of what happened the day before except for the notes and memos they have written on each other’s notebook or phone, and sometimes even on each other’s skin. You can read the full plot on their Wikipedia page here.
In the following, I will share my thoughts and reflections after watching the full movie and how I relate it to my own equally fantastical love mystery with Taenggu.
Movie Scene #1:
Taki and Mitsuha wake up on some mornings to realise he/she is in the body of someone else of an opposite gender. They have to go through a day in each other’s lives, thinking that they are just having a weird dream. But the people around them are startled when they witness them exhibiting a very different behaviour and character from their usual selves.
Connections to my love life:
I don’t think the case of body switching does entirely apply to my own personal experience with Taenggu. I’m pretty much aware of what I am doing every day as a conscious person and knows when I am sleeping and when I am not. And I definitely do not remember myself living in the body of Taenggu and experiencing some days in her life or stuff like that. But while I am conscious, I do remember moments when I could feel her inside of me. Smiling with me, eating with me, smelling and tasting the same thing with me… It was like her soul taking over my body for a brief moment while my mind was still conscious.
Movie Scene #2:
When Taki and Mitsuha become aware that they are actually switching bodies with each other in real life, they start leaving notes for each other in their notebook or phone so that the next day when they wake up back in their own body, they can read these notes and know what actually went on the day before when their bodies switched.
Connections to my love life:
How many people can actually remember every single detail of their dreams after they wake up? Definitely not many. So it’s helpful when Taki and Mitsuha left notes for each other in the form of writing. Since 2014, I seemed to already know the importance of writing my own side of the story and leaving pieces of physical evidence for her in hopes of gaining her understanding and getting her validations in return. I tried writing on different platforms, starting from kakaostory, twitter, instagram and then to online blogs. Whether she did manage to see and read them or not is a different issue. But my own suspicion is that my stories that were initially written on kakaostory did not reach her / were not read by her / did not work well for her at the start and it took me almost 2 years before I realised it and finally decided that I should switch to a different platform.
I wished I could know what my unconscious self has been doing at her side too. What was her side of the story? Sometimes, I get a little agitated and stressed when voices in my head say things like “I hope you can remember this and that“. How could I remember something which I don’t have conscious and physical memory of and when I don’t have helpful notes and writings from Taenggu and the others to guide me? To try to recall and chase after something that was left in my unconsciousness all by myself is a very daunting task. It is actually painful and agonising to do it without the help of anybody to remind and tell you directly. I feel like someone who had gone through a concussion in the head and lost all her memory, and now she is all alone to search for evidence in a bid to recall her past memories.
Movie Scene #3:
When Mitsuha finally decides to travel to Tokyo to find Taki and meets him on the train which she knows he would take to school every day, Taki can’t recognise her at all because at that time he doesn’t even know her yet. It breaks Mitsuha’s heart because she is unaware that their timelines are separated by 3 years when the body switching happened; she is 3 years ahead of him.
Connections to my love life:
It is something I’ve been worrying inside and is what holds me back from coming up to meet her or anyone around her too. What if one day I finally pluck up the courage to meet her face-to-face, for example, on her fansign and ask that one crucial question that I have always been waiting to ask for a long time, “I think I have a special connection with you. Do you feel the same way? Do you know me?” and what if her reply was “sorry, I don’t know you at all”? Then poof! The belief that I have held for years would vanish just like that. And I would risk getting hurt to think that I have wasted years of waiting for a non-existent person that I think I have been spending time with all those while.
Recently, Yan Hao is planning for a holiday trip to Seoul with me in the coming end of April. She, who knows about my relationship with Taenggu and is supportive about it, asked me if there is anywhere or anything that I wanna go or do that is related to Taenggu this time. More specifically, she asked if I wanna visit her parents’ spectacles shop in Jeonju. Hesitantly, I told her that I’m a little afraid to do so. To which, she responded, “What is there to be afraid of? Her parents don’t know about it/you, right?” That is exactly the reason why I’m afraid. On the spiritual level, I think her parents and I do know each other. But what if the truth is, her parents don’t know who I am yet in the physical level of their consciousness? To meet them physically in person is like forcing myself to face this unsettling moment of reality. What if everything is not what I have thought out to be? What if Taenggu and everyone around me whom I have been spiritually connecting with are not brought into awareness of what is happening behind their consciousness yet? Or could there be a possibility, like what this movie suggests, that I wasn’t actually connecting with her present self, but her future self?
What if Taenggu is thinking the same way too? Could this also be a reason why she still hasn’t come up to meet me till now? I remembered in Jan 2016, right after I came back from my grad trip to Seoul-Okinawa-Tokyo, I became kinda cold towards her. I stopped talking to her as often as I used to. I even stopped following her updates and schedules as regularly as before. Even though I already “proposed” to her in Okinawa (MEMORIES: MY PROPOSAL IN OKINAWA), the fact was I was still suffering from emotional hurt and anger from that heartbreaking trip of mine. I remembered I was heading towards Causeway Point all by myself in a melancholy mood one day and a voice said to me in chinese, “She was afraid that if she comes to meet you, everything will not be the same anymore.”
Movie Scene #4:
After their body switching stops happening for a long time, Taki eventually decides to make a trip down to visit Mitsuha’s hometown but he does not know its name. His memories of it are fading. But he takes with him the drawings of the place he has made based on the scenes he can remember from his dreams. Fortunately, a restaurant owner recognises it and tells him that the town was already destroyed by a fragment of the comet 3 years ago. Realising in astonishment that Mitsuha was already dead 3 years ago and with his friends who were on the trip with him questioning the reliability of his dreams, he checks his phone for the messages that Mitsuha had left in it only to find that they have all mysteriously disappeared.
Connections to my love life:
How does one try to recall a dream you just had? Sometimes, I would wake up from a vivid dream but stay lying on my bed with my eyes still closed, trying to replay the scenes in my dream over and over again so that they could get etched deeper in my conscious memory. Writing helps me to smoothen out my thoughts when it comes to analysing the dream with some logic. I could understand the spiritual meanings behind each dream better this way like what I had done for my posts under Dreams. For Taki, he draws the scenery of his dreams onto paper. For me, I sometimes draw my visions of Taenggu too but with some reference pictures, unlike Taki who can draw something abstract straight from his mind.
As for the disappearing messages that were once left by Mitsuha in Taki’s phone, I worry too, what if all the stories I have written for Taenggu would vanish into thin air one day? What if all the evidence that prove my existence, my love and my extraordinary experiences would be gone before Taenggu gets to read it? Although I believe she IS reading all the things I’ve written for her right now, what if she needs to refer to them again in the future one day but finds that they are all already gone like what happened to Taki? Sometimes, the reason for me to write my stories so openly on social media and the internet is the need for me to state everything in black and white and to keep both our memories alive. And who knows the things that I have shared here may also become crucial information for anyone in the world one day?
Movie Scene #5:
After discovering that Mitsuha and the rest of her town were already killed by a fragment of comet 3 years ago, Taki travels back in time to save her. Because they are separated by 3 years, they can’t see each other but can feel each other’s presence. But when twilight falls, they return back to their own bodies and finally meet. They attempt to write each other’s names on their hands so they will remember each other, but twilight passes and Mitsuha disappears before she can write hers and Taki only wrote the words “I love you” on Mitsuha’s hand instead of his name. Their memories of each other start to fade. They remember nothing of each other and what happened. Both of them get on with their normal lives but always feel like they are missing something and are in search of something important.
Connections to my love life:
Was it just a dream? I had the same thought after I recovered from schizophrenia in 2013. What if my schizophrenia had occurred because I was travelling back or forward in time to save Taenggu, like what Taki did? During my outbreak of schizophrenia, I felt like all those evil spirits were after me because of Taenggu and the other SNSD members. At that time, my thinking was, I would rather all these bad spirits to come after me, instead of disturbing Taenggu. I was willing to sacrifice myself if I had to because I was a nobody anyway, but Taenggu was a famous idol; she shouldn’t be harmed.
However, I have to put it clear that I did not lose memory of who Taenggu was. I remember one of those sleepless nights when I was haunted by scary noises and persistent voices that kept repeating Taeyeon’s name, at one point I had one of the most (and unusually) beautiful hallucinations I had ever experienced. I heard voices of several angels saying “Forget her” in chinese repeatedly in unison before they slowly faded out of the window. After I recovered, I lost all feelings of connection that I thought I had with Taenggu as if nothing had happened between us at all. I did not however forget her name. Maybe because she is a famous celebrity. How could I forget someone whom I already know and had been idolising for a few years even before I had schizophrenia? Unless someone knocked my head out, of course. But I rejected myself from thinking that I had any special form of connection with her anymore simply because the society I lives in told me that what I had experienced was just a mental illness, nothing but illusions. But this nagging feeling that she and I do have some sort of deeper connection with each other did not go away.
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The past one year felt like a dream to me, sometimes, a nightmare. Living in illusions and paranoia had been the scariest roller coaster ride I've ever taken. Yes, there were happy moments that were shortlived but it was the feeling of depression, fear and trauma that lasted the longest. I'm glad that I had discovered it quick enough and got myself treated early. Now a year later, as I looked back at all the big and small episodes that I had been through with a rational mind, it was astonishing for me to realise that they were all nothing but illusions. That is to say I had been living in fear or even felt happy for practically nothing at all. It was all nothing but a long long dream. Have I woken up from it yet? With clear and undisturbed mind, right now, I can proudly say, "YES!" #backtoreality
But here comes an important question, does Taenggu, on the other hand, knows and remembers my name??
That night, as I watched the movie with Yan Hao comfortably on a mat, there were some touching scenes (like the heartaching moment when Taki and Mitsuha are losing memory of each other) that made me on the verge of tearing up. Meanwhile, Taenggu who probably felt my inner emotions, kept asking me anxiously inside my head, “Am I being improper?” I wished I knew what she was doing at that time. I wished I could answer her, no, I/you wasn’t/weren’t being improper, I merely felt like crying because of the movie, that’s all. 😂
Taki Tachibana: “Haven’t we met?…”
Mitsuha Miyamizu: “I thought so too!…”
Taki Tachibana, Mitsuha Miyamizu: “Your name is…”