Natsume Yujin-cho and a Search for a Home

Natsume Yujin-cho 3

One year ago, I was back in Ishinomki doing humanitarian work with some very good friends. Since coming back to the US, I have really struggled with fitting in. The best way I can explain it, is I am the Natsume of my own little world, and monsters are chasing me but no one sees. They can’t see the burden I’ve picked up. They can’t see the pain I carry, however this is not how the story ends.

If you have watched Natsume Yujin-cho, then you may understand what I am trying to say. Natsume Yujin-cho along with it’s sequels are some of my favorite anime. The series was recommended to me by Annalyn who is a friend of this blog and is the blogger at Annalyn’s Thoughts. If you haven’t seen the show, Natsume Yujin-cho is about an orphan boy who is passed from family member to family member. He can see also see spirits, which causes him to live between two worlds belonging to neither, but not being able to ignore either. The manga and anime, which are very faithful, start his story when Natsume moves in with the Fujiwara’s and finally finds a family that doesn’t want to get rid of him. He doesn’t tell them he can see spirits, because he doesn’t want to scare the or cause them to get rid of him. However, Natsume is being crushed by the burdens of his past and the Yujin-cho, “The Book of Friends,” his grandmother left behind when she died. The Book of Friends is a book that contains the names of many spirits, which would allow someone to control the spirits. These names were ill gotten and never used. Now the spirits want there names back and Natsume is target number one. Protected only by Madara aka Nyanko-sensei, a powerful spirit shaped like a clay cat, Natsume embarks on a journey that forces him to rely on others and teaches him quite a lot.

Natsume Yujin-cho

In many ways, I am very much like Natsume and I can really understand were he is coming from. Like him, I only normally have a few friends and I grew up moving from one place to another all the time. I don’t really have a place I call home, and only a couple people really know what is inside of me. Last year when I was with some of those people, we sat on the edge of a river after a hard day of working under the sun, surrounded by destruction and loss, we saw the most beautiful hanabi, fireworks, display I have ever seen. To see something so wonderful, while surrounded by such amazing people was unreal. The generosity of the people of Ishinomaki was unbelievable. They lost so much, and yet the sacrificed for each other. My mind was blown. After being back for almost a year, I really miss Japan. Alaska has never been my home, and I m not sure if I will find one anytime soon, but I guess I am not really looking for a home as much as a family that loves those I love and cares about what I care about. Friends who will stick close, even if it is one or two. I long to find a place like that. To find my home, like Natsume.

Natsume Yujin-cho 2


5 thoughts on “Natsume Yujin-cho and a Search for a Home

  1. Ok I can “completely” understand. I have asperger’s syndrome which makes it “very” hard to fit in with my family and friends, but after watching Natsume Book of Friends it gave me a person to relate too which gave me the confidence to try to reconnect with people. So thank you for posting on this fantastic show.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed Natsume so much! I haven’t seen it in over a year, but I still think of it from time to time.

    Those sound like precious memories from Japan. 🙂 It’s lonely to carry around pain that no one seems to see, and that loneliness creates more pain. I’ve felt that to some extent, at a time when the only person I confided in was my mom. My only close friend was far from me physically, even if she wasn’t, I wasn’t sure I could share my struggles with her. I put some of my hope in college. I was sure I’d be able to make new friends there, and that we’d all be there four entire years! But it turns out that college isn’t as steady as I thought. Some friends left after only a semester. I’ve made other friends, but I’ve started to wonder if I’ll ever find another person that I can stick close to like I hoped. I’ve had to keep an eye on myself, lest painful loneliness overwhelm me again. The only person who understands me completely, and the only one who will never move away, die, or change, is God.

    Still, I’ve discovered something: while a lot of my new friends are very different from me, and while I may never be close to them, if they are Christians, then I can still find fellowship with them. When I am among them, I am among family, even if it’s distant family, and even if, after a few months or years, we don’t meet again until heaven. I look forward to the day when we’re all home, under our Father’s roof, and loneliness is but a distant memory for all of us.

    “…this is not how the story ends,” you wrote at the beginning of this post. That’s what we have to hold onto: hope, and the truth that there is much more to our stories than we can ever imagine.

  3. Fantastic comment Annalyn. I’ve been spending five years at college and it was difficult with classes and not having anyone to relate too until I fund out we had a anime club. I joined and those Thursday evenings were the best I “ever” had. It was where I was introduced to Spice and Wolf, Honey and Clover, and especially Trigun. Me and a friend once spent the entire three hours discussing Natsume Book of Friends and what we liked about the characters, storyline, and just the memories we had of it also we discussed Princess Tutu. Best evening ever.

    1. That sounds fun! I love it when I come across fellow anime fans in real life, especially since, for a while, I only talked about anime online. We don’t have an anime club at my school, but during the second semester, a classmate asked me to hep her start a different type of club. I would never have joined any club if it weren’t for her, but it’s been so good for me! It’s a source of friendship, fellowship, and social growth. It was especially timely since my roommate had to leave school, and I needed to be very purposeful about socializing for my emotional health. Even if all we have in common is God and our club, that’s enough to keep me sane. ^_^

      1. Well I’m going to talk to our youth director at out church, for the teens, and even the college bible group about showing Trigun to them. Perhaps even a few other christian anime like Haibane Renmei as well.

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