Ari Koinuma

Welcome to OurBestVersion.com.

My name is Ari Koinuma, and I am a Japanese-born, US-based blogger, musician, and entrepreneur.

This site is a manifestation of my long-time passion to share the rich lessons and discoveries that I draw out of my life.

How It All Started

I’ve always been very interested in psychology and human development. One of my early aspirations was to become a teacher. In my family, I was the oldest of three boys and have always been good at taking care of younger kids. And whenever our extended family would gather, I was the one put in charge of all the kids. So my mentoring/nurturing instincts were honed from pretty early on. I took three classes on psychology in college: the intro, developmental psychology and counseling psychology, which further whet my appetite for knowledge in this field.

Broken and Rebuilt

I would say my own adolescent years were ordinarily turbulent. There were some years where I oscillated between being high and elated and being “depressed.” By that, I don’t mean clinically depressed just being down, insecure, and doubtful about myself and my future. In my extreme lows there were moments where I made sure I wouldn’t go near a knife or any other sharp objects, for fear that I would hurt myself. So perhaps that’s not “normal” occasionally but as I grew these episodes stabilized. I think it was just the case of my having a depression-prone personality.

I met a woman of my dreams in college and got married right afterward and here, life took an unexpected turn and everything I knew about myself and psychology were brought out to use. My new wife plunged into a very severe depression. Over a course of a year or so, she went from a smart and able young woman to sobbing and unstable little child. The most severe stage lasted for about 3 years, though I would say the recovery took another 3 years or so after that for her to reach a “normal” range of stability. This was a brutal wake-up call that really demanded more resources than I really had at the time. I consider it somewhat of a miracle that we lived through it and came out on the other side. My wife has made a complete recovery and today she is a strong and smart woman and a wonderful mother.

Her healing process was not just hers, but mine also. Though I always thought that I was a very self-aware person, I had problems and compromises within my psyche that I didn’t know I had. Our struggle with the depression dug up a lot of scars and made new ones in me, and I wasn’t sure what to do with them.

The Turning Point

In 2003 our first child was born, and I also consider that day to be my turning point. A new life with its built-in unconditional love was trusted into my arms, and as I did my part to raise her, I began to use the parenting process to heal the deep-set wounds inside me at the same time.

My life since then has been a series of dramatic changes, always for the better. My income doubled in 2 years, and still growing fast. We got rid of our debts. Both my wife and I gained tremendous confidence, as we shed all the things we don’t need and learn to focus on the important things. Our second child, a son, was born in late 2006, and we now have a very full life in St. Paul, Minnesota. I feel more confident, strong and stable than ever.

Where My Needs and the World’s Needs Meet

Throughout my adult life, I’ve been trying and failing to make a living as a musician. I now understand why I haven’t been successful at what I always believed was my calling, and I’ve made great progress in removing road blocks within me.

On the other hand, my interest and desire to help other people heal and grow their inner self remained. Now equipped with the first-hand experience and knowledge of a survivor, I feel that I am in a position to make a great contribution in this arena. In the pursuit of my own self actualization, I’ve been exploring a way to utilize everything that is uniquely my own my Japanese background, my love of music, my experience in mental health, and my skills as a web professional.–>

Blogging Delivers My Message

I discovered blogging around 2002-2003, and I did it on and off as a personal diary/journal tool. But even when I was doing it purely for personal reasons, my entries were filled with my observations on life and lessons I drew from them. Then I discovered Steve Pavlina, and from there Darren Rowse, and I realized that blogging can be used as a delivery mechanism of what I have to offer to the world.

As of this writing, I am preparing a plan to build a blogging business to deliver both my music and my writing on the issues of psychological healing and growth, first in English and then in Japanese. OurBestVersion.com is the first initiative that grew out of my new business plan.

My vision is to:

  1. Realize my potential as a professional musician and blogger, and
  2. Leverage the knowledge gained from #1 to mentor and empower others to heal, grow, and realize their potential.

My Approach and Disclaimer

Everything on this site is my personal opinion. I am not a professional or licensed therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist, so keep that in mind as you read my posts. I do believe that there is a tremendous value in lay people sharing their personal experience with illnesses and diseases — and depression is no exception. I hope my tales will offer you hope and insights, but do not mistake it for a professional advise.

At heart, I am a very intuitive person. I can and do write from more left-brained, logical point of view, but all the observations and theories originate from my intuition. Because I am an amateur psychologist, it actually frees me up to discuss unverified hypothesis and speculations, much more so than trained professionals. This is also a place where I feel that I have something to offer — instead of having to wait for researches to verify my theories, I can state what I know to be true from my personal experience. If you are a psychologist and need to correct or refute any of my claims, I welcome you to do so.

Take a Walk with Me

Thanks again for reading what I have to say. I hope you choose to stay in touch by subscribing (RSS or email). If you like modern rock, please also check out my music.

I hope you become who you mean to be. Best wishes to you.

6 Responses to About

  1. Andie says:

    Ari, thank you. I considered waiting to express my thoughts, you know, like until after I’m all healed and actualized, and such. That way, I could write in triumph; that way, I wouldn’t have failed and let myself down again. But I was re-reading one of your posts, making notes for my personal recovery, and as I’ve felt reading many of your posts, I again felt grateful, fortunate to have stumbled upon your blog, because your words are invariably from the heart, ring true unmistakeably. I’m not a complete dunce at this; I’ve done my share of reading the “experts” and so on, to try to find answers. And a lot of it has been enlightening, sometimes only erudite, but never as real as the words you’ve shared here. That’s been inspiring, no small feat, as the way I’ve been for a while now, a boulder couldn’t have budged me. From the moment I discovered your blog, it’s felt invaluable. So thank you for not taking down your site, even though you seem to have had your say on this topic by 2012, which is fine. Wherever you are now, thank you so much for sharing your stories, and my best wishes and regards.

    • Ari Koinuma says:

      Hi Andie,

      Thanks so much for a heart-felt comment. I am doing well, making progress on my music career.

      I am amazed, though, that years after I pretty much abandoned this blog, I still receive such comments — people seem to pick up on my honesty or transparency. I perhaps am underestimating the value I offer in this arena… I did feel, and still do, a strong passion for the topic of this blog, though I really didn’t know what value I could offer in such a well-traveled arena, with hundreds of books and blogs and whatnot on self-improvement.

      I do hope to return to this blog in the future, after I figure out how my passion for inner healing and growth fit in with my music. I think there is a way to combine the two and offer something truly unique and valuable. I’m still exploring this direction, though I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring it out. Your comment goes a long way toward encouraging me to keep thinking about this. Your taking the time to leave a comment now is adding fuel to the tank. Again, thank you.

      I hope you feel that you’re making progress, whatever it is that you’re working on healing & growing. Keep in touch!


  2. Food Polka says:

    I had so many similar dilemmas to yours and I started typing questions into the Google. Your blog came out after short research. I feel like I hear myslef when I am reading your posts. I feel like I found a true, honest place that shares personal experience with no attempt to sell prepackaged “wisdom”. It made me feel more confident in what I thought I am doing right and it truly encouraged me to keep being who I am. Thank you so much. Please, keep sharing.

  3. Anc says:

    Thank you for your honesty in your every post. So many blog on this issue, but so little of them discuss personal experience like yours. Therefore, it is believable for me.

  4. I feel like I have just enjoyed a tender massage-of-the-soul. This is seriously smart – your thoughts and points and elegant “how to” – to walk down the path as opposed to lurching to the goal, uplift me. I look forward to passing your blog on to readers at mine.

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