The Beacon in the Sky

Insights for Balanced Lifestyles


A reflection on the movie, Departures (2008)

I would like to talk about the movie, Departures (2008) today. Recently, I watched the movie with my parents. It is a great privilege to watch such a movie with your living parents. That is because people usually avoid ‘death’ as a topic to talk about.  And, you dare not to initiate about a dead right in front of your living parents in South Korea, and at least your aging parents, or recently, you have an experience that one of your loved ones passed away.

Past two decades, I foolishly try to avoid the notion of death, but I realized that it would be impossible when you see more and more news of deaths around you as time goes by. Especially, when two of his own patients passed away in one-year setting, it is truly hard to swallow by this novice therapist, the Mr. Happiness. “You really cannot understand how to live without how to die,” the sound keeps resonating every single minute. It is impossible to think a life without a death.

I see understanding is a sign of maturity. You get to grow older and see more things and get understanding that have not made sense at all. In this movie, these two Kobayasi’s emotional interaction is meaningful in this sense. The point of conversing on the whole his emotions both negative and positive by this respectful ritual, bring some sense of healing of emotional pains and wounds by an absence of these two beings.

I used to hate my father and my mother because of their upbringing styles. To me, it was a weird mixture of tough love and semi-unconditional love. I had a good childhood in a sense I still alive in this brutal reality, but in my small and feeble mind, I already thought the things from my parents were not good enough to compare to other parents. For this reason, I felt hatred and rage toward them. For some reason, I was furious about them even if once in a while I felt loved and cared. However, the weight was always leaning in the negative emotions.

Probably, I have lived to prove my parents were wrong for two third of my life, but mostly to my father. However, the much time I spent in environments that I am not familiar with, the more I got some sense of respect; how this old man made such things like that fast in my age.

Now, I do not fully agree with their opinions and values. Nevertherless, I fully respect their values and ideas of a life because I have an understanding of who they are. The realization happened after I experienced the emotions, hate, rage, joy, happiness, disappointment and love around them as I get older.

Old philosophy said, “You might feel their things are not enough, but maybe the not-enough things are their most having things to their children.” And, what kinds of parents born with being perfect parents. It might not always be the best way, but if you follow the right direction, it would not be far from the path on the true love.

In the movie, Mr. Kobayasi realizes that his hatred, rage, shame and guilt toward his father also play a role to be a part of his father’s love. When eventually he got in a sense of his understanding of life of the tie of the solid creatures shared each other of the father-son hood long time ago, it pretty much resonates his heart, and my heart as well.

The movie, Departures (2008) would be a great catalyst to remind of us that good things and bad things are also the part of a journey to our noble purpose. I hope this movie would be a new departure to your life journey.

Love and Peace,

D.K. Won.


Your relationship is not just the relationship but a financial relationship.


During building a romantic relationship, I think people reach the point that has the question, “Do I need to take her/his financial baggage?”, especially, if they are very serious in my experience. As far as I remember, Dave Ramsey once mentioned in his book, in the US over 90% people have a credit card debt, and if you are free from debt you are top 10% of the US. It’s somewhat exaggerated but I think it has a point. I have noticed some people spending money, tried to please others or other’s eyes rather than being practical and saving money for future, by consideration of their social rejection or ‘the standard’ they were belong to.

Recently, I read the article, 4 things first-time home buyers need to know (CNN Money, Vasel 2017). Like the lady said, Ms. Right and Mr. Right meet together it is good. But, you need to consider something, which is the financial relationship. “There is a good debt and a bad debt. Student loans.. it can be a good debt. Credit card debt beyond their means? No! No.” The financial relationship with your significant others could hinder your future house investment, or retirement funds.

Of course, I acknowledge that there are important things of the existential consideration of our being or the moment, time, space, meta-physics etc, but recently I have seen/read quite a few tragic news regarding homicide/suicide caused by financial crisis everyday basis. Is it really possible to achieve the existential freedom without consideration of financial freedom in this contemporary society?

I think it is important to watch out ‘your’ financial cash-flow including hers or his.

D.K. Won