Jay Smith about joy, music and dreaming of JapanMar 03, 2021
Jay and I met several months ago in an online group for self-published authors and I‘m super happy to connect again in this podcast, because Jay is an awesome person and a very interesting one too! Jay is a musician, an actor, an overall entertainer and a self-published author. During this episode we talk about his take on life and about his big dream of living in Japan and becoming a voice actor. I can already see that coming true and after you‘ve heard this episode and experienced Jay‘s approach with such a big heart and an open mind, I‘m sure you will too. : ) Have lots of fun diving into this conversation!
Jay says, that the main question for him is: «What do you want out of life?» He adds that «going through life and finding those different things has been a very challenging, but also very rewarding process. I learned that joy usually waits on the other side of a challenge, big or small».
«I believe that if we open our ears and our eyes to the world around us, opportunities for joy will open up. The Universe gives us many opportunities to spread joy all over the world, because the Universe sees that we need joy», Jay explains and gives a beautiful analogy of the moment, when you make music and you sing a certain note. «You enter this majestic feeling, those places where you're connected to the Universe, when you're using your talent to give back, that's something that brings me a lot of joy».
Another thing that brings Jay joy is finding ways to connect with his ancestors and learning about his family (tree). «Whenever you see someone perform and it connects with you, even if it's something sad or angry, there is joy in reliability, there is joy in human connection, I just try to look for those moments, I really, really do».
Yet another important thing is to clear your mind of clutter. «If your mind is full of clutter, you're not as open to the opportunities that the world presents to you, that is why I journal».
How do you journal?
Jay joined a 12 week seminar called «The Artist’s Way», where you journal every day at least three pages for 12 weeks and you cannot go back and read what you‘ve previously written. «What that taught me was, journaling does not have to be this big, huge ritual, you don't have to always write your deepest, darkest thoughts in your journal, you can literally do a stream of consciousness and that's what I do. Now, after completing «The Artist’s Way», every single day I try to find time and I just write whatever comes to my mind, sometimes they are song lyrics, sometimes they're ideas for shows, if I'm having a difficult relationship or when I'm in a difficult situation, a lot of times the answer will be revealed to me in the journal, it's almost like having a therapist». Jay says that even now he never goes back and reads it, only if he remembers a song passage or an idea that he wants to keep. «Sometimes we go back and we start to judge what we wrote. That‘s how you felt then, you don't want to judge that».
«The goal of my journaling is to clear my mind so that I can be aware of the world around me», Jay
Jay tells me, that he recently got a book «Burn After Writing» from Sharon Jones, which helps you be deeply honest with yourself. It has prompts for you to ponder upon and journal about and when you're done, you burn the book and let everything in it go.
I love to do moon related journaling, which is something that we also do in the closed joyismycompass facebook group. On a new moon you write down the things, that you want to attract into your life and on full moon, you write down the things you don‘t want anymore and then you burn the paper. In the Joy Academy we also have a monthly call, where we say goodbye to the previous month and welcome the next month. Journaling is an important part of my life and also my work, because it has such a big impact AND there are so many ways of doing it, that I think anybody will find a style that suits them. : )
«You can start, where you are», Jay
When Jay wrote his book, all he needed was an internet connection and google docs. You don‘t have to sign up for an expensive academy or do a fancy course, you can start where you are, with what you have and then go from there. One step at a time.
We talk about Jay‘s book cover – watch the video or click on the link below to check it out – and Jay says: «I believe that life sometimes gives us signs. At the time that I was working on the cover, I was going back and forth between some designs and couldn‘t decide. Visiting my parents I looked up one night - they have a ceiling fan - and I kid you not, it's these exacts colors (white and gold) and I was like, ok, I'm going to pick this one and just rest my brain. I have received nothing but positive feedback, people love this cover». Just like Jay said in the beginning, when your mind is free of clutter and you‘re open minded, the ideas or signs on how to make a decision can really come from EVERYWHERE! : )
Tell us more about the book, please!
«It‘s for you, if you have always wanted to learn to sing or if you want to start learning to sing now, if you want to become an actor or a professional singer. I wrote the book in a way so that beginners can learn the awareness of the voice. I didn't want to go into a lot of detail and the science and all that, because I didn't want to intimidate the people who are just starting. I titled it «How I learned to sing» so that people will look at it and know, that this was my singing journey and that you can use this book as a tool or resource on your singing journey». You‘ll find the link to order the book below.
Another thing that I‘m really happy to talk about with Jay is his love for Japan. If you‘ve known me for some time, you know, that Japan has a special place in my heart as well.
How come that you want to go to Japan and that you learn Japanese?
Jay says, that he already wanted to go to Japan, when he was in High School, but living in a small town and his parents having rarely travelled, the opportunity didn‘t present itself. When he got older, he started watching anime in Japanese, because he felt more connected, than when the movies were dubbed. Last year in February Jay decided that he wanted to learn Japanese, so that he can watch the anime without subtitles. With Covid lurking around the corner, he suddenly had a lot of time at hand and made big progress. Jay is on the app «HelloTalk», where he met two Japanese guys that are learning English and now they can help each other study and they tell Jay a lot about Japan‘s culture too. «Japanese is almost the opposite of the English language in every aspect, there were many times that I was like «why am I doing this to myself». What I did was, I downloaded and printed this text «Remember why you started» and I look at it often!
«If we can connect back to that inspiration that made us begin, that should keep us going», Jay
What do you want to do in Japan?
«It is my dream to go to Japan and sing songs in Japanese and do voice acting. I want to do voice acting so much. If I can do it in English and in Japanese, that will be amazing. I believe that it will happen, because I have the resources for it to happen». It‘s so good to listen (reading doesn‘t really do it justice : )) to Jay talking about his dreams. No matter what your dreams are, listen to this episode and get a motivation boost. : )
«I try to not look at other cultures in judgement, because I'm not there and I don't know the reason why they do things their way», Jay
We talk about Japan‘s culture and that – even today, with so many people travelling to Japan every year – many Japanese still have a strange attitude towards foreigners, because they‘re not used to them. Jay says: «Everything that you see, when you look at Japan, is just rooted in the Japanese culture, everything is so rooted in their ancestors. I am happy that Japan was able to protect their culture».
I met my husband 20 years ago in Japan, under the cherry blossom trees (talk about a living cliché! : )) and back then, even in a big city like Osaka, the foreigners greeted each other, because it was such a rare sight. I told my husband, who was the cool guy in Japan, not doing and wearing what everybody was expecting from him, that after moving to Switzerland he will blend in with all the others and not be special at all. Well he didn‘t mind, lucky me! : )
Jay tells about an encounter that he had at the only Japanese market in the city where he lives. He asked a woman if they had any children books and after spending some time sitting on the floor with him looking for the books, they eventually didn‘t find any, but she tells Jay to give her his phone number because she could give him some of the children‘s books that she had at home. «And she did!» Jay recalls with a big smile.
Jay says that in America, many people say that they‘ll call or do something and then you never hear back from them, so for that lady at the store saying «give me your phone number, I want to help you» really warmed his heart.
«I‘m having so much fun singing Japanese songs in my house», Jay
We talk about how different the Japanese culture is compared to ours, when it comes to touching and showing affection in public. I love giving hugs, so for me, that was something that I missed when I lived in Japan – until me and Ken confessed our mutual feelings – but still, not in public pleeease!!! : ) but I have many good friends from that time and also from our trips when we went back in later years that stayed friends. «I think you feel it, when they care and also, sometimes I think: If I'm too much for you, sorry not sorry, we wouldn't get along anyway».
The Japanese woman from the store told Jay that: «A lot of people would enjoy to be your friend, because you would give them the opportunity to be more expressive» and I think that is the beauty of intercultural exchange too. You get to know other cultures, you get to know other ways, you get to learn that there are countries where it‘s perfectly fine to kiss in public or to say «I love you» to a good friend when you say good bye at the phone… And on the other hand there is so much that we can learn from cultures like the Japanese one. You have to experience it yourself, that‘s for sure. : )
«When you want to try new things, you have to get out of the habit of expectations, because life will surprise you in so many different ways», Jay
Jay says that he has learned to stop saying «if I go to Japan» and that he started to say «when I go to Japan».
«I believe that we manifest the things, that we want, with our words», Jay
What is your message to the world?
«Find out who you are on the inside and find out how you can give that to the world. Until you know and love and really accept who you are, nothing will be enough, it all starts within, with knowing and loving who you are on the inside. Don't be afraid to be yourself. That is my message for everyone: Be you. Be proud of yourself and love who you are and find out how you can give that to other people to help them».
What a beautiful, beautiful way to end this conversation. I hope that you‘ve enjoyed this conversation about joy, about music and about Japan just as much as I did. : )
This is where you can find Jay, his music and his book:
Jay‘s book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-i-learned-to-sing-jonathan-e-smith/1137756632?ean=9781735439501
We talked about these resources:
App Hellotalk: https://www.hellotalk.com/
Book «Burn After Writing» from Sharon Jones
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