Barakamon is an anime series currently still airing. It’s slice of life, funny and enjoyable. But I like most about Barakamon is how Handa Seishū tend to learn life lessons from the antics of a child called Kotoishi Naru.
Whenever I see kids doing their thing in real life, I often remember how simple things were when I was a kid. It’s easy to be satisfied with whatever that’s been given, be it material goods or opportunities such as role on stage play etc. But as I grow older, I’m became more picky with the things I want and always wanted something better than what I already have. Again, it’s not just limited to material goods. I believe as we grow older, we tend to complicate things when they’re really very simple.
So with that, here are a few lessons I think it’s worth pondering on:-
1. View Things With A Simple Mind.
When Handa was criticized for being blatant in his calligraphy art, he took it personally because he has that much pride. He thinks himself as a accomplished and successful calligrapher until a certain old man came forward to say the obvious. It was a huge blow to Handa’s ego that it affected him psychologically when he went retreated into the village.
So when Naru, a little kid with no knowledge about calligraphy, said the same things the old man said, he snapped. The reason why Handa felt hurt is because he’s calculating the effort, time, pride into his art pieces. On the other hand, Naru is seeing for what the art piece is exactly. She’s comparing and commenting based on what she knows. Eventually, Handa realized that.
Also, when Handa and the headmaster were arguing about what warning message should they be posting to prevent people from littering on the river, they went ahead and said a bunch a far-fetched stuff. Naru went ahead and wrote something most obvious – If you litter, all the crayfish will go away. Now, I don’t know how true is that, but don’t you think if the person wants to eat crayfish, he or she is less likely to litter?
As mentioned before, the thing with us adults are we like to complicate things. I like to complicate things. I like to think things beyond what is there. We tend to think unnecessarily because we want to look clever. Besides, our minds tend to go into foretelling mode, weighing the pros and cons of everything we do. This leads very well to the second point below.
2. Stop Worrying. Just Do It.
Handa was worried how his calligraphy would turn out on Miwa’s dad’s new boat. He’s worried about upsetting a gangster-like man and was careful the entire process.
Naru, like most kids, doesn’t sweat on stuff like these. When was the last time a kid tell you how they’re worried how they’re actions may affect you? Instead, she laid her palm prints on the new boat, leading other kids to do the same. This made Handa extremely nervous because now all of his hard planning amounted to nothing. He quickly, following his instincts, wrote over the prints. Within seconds, he has completed his task. And Miwa’s dad loved it.
Do you have that side project you’ve been wanting to do for ages? Do you plan to only pursue your dreams when you have all the good plans laid out? Have you been wanting to quit your day job and travel the world? Life is short, really. There isn’t time to worry too much about what may happen for it may not happen. We’ll deal with it when it happens. For now, we’re just going to live our lives the we want. That’s how we should roll.
3. Failures Is Not The End Of The World.
Handa came in second in a competition and was sulking about it. He was so affected by his so-called failure that he lost his cool with just about anyone who stepped onto his path. Instead Naru brought Handa out for a day of fun. Along the way, Handa learned some life lessons about competitions. But the main point is, we don’t have to stay in our defeated mode at all times.
I believe kids are just as competitive as adults, speaking from experience. But, kids are less likely to dwell on failures. They want to win just as much as adults do. But if they lose, the failures do not affect their self-confidence as much as adults. Perhaps it’s our pride, our ego. We take failures and rejections very hard and personal. Perhaps it’s the accumulation of all the failures in our lives that we feel so beat up. But hey, it’s not the end of the world. Pick yourself up and try again.
4. Just Have Fun.
I’m not sure if this is really a good lesson, but I’m really pleased with how Naru just jumped off from a great height to the ocean when she doesn’t know how to swim. Normally, we’ll be weary about drowning, just like Handa was. From adult’s point of view, it’s a reckless act. Why would we put ourselves in danger? But from a kid’s point of view, it’s an adventure they’re dying to experience. Kids are less likely to worry about what kind of dangers lie ahead and are fixated on just having good old fun. Sometimes, I think we need to have unplanned, random fun to spice up life a little.
Bonus: Learn To Float…With Your T-Shirt.
I absolutely love this one. In the first episode, Handa was dragged into the sea by Naru after he pushed her in by reflex. He was complaining how heavy his clothes are. After all, he had jeans on. Then, Naru taught him something even I thought is magical. See above screencap. That’s how to float. Does this really work?
Anyway, that’s all the lessons I extracted from the first five episodes of Barakamon. If you’re not already watching, start watching now!