A rainy summer festival.
My lucky fortune – now ain’t that the truth? I had a really hard time living in the Japanese country side and working in their education system but now, apparently (hopefully) all that’s gone.
A pancake/pikelete thingy majig filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) and matcha (green tea) ice-cream.
A maid cafe waitress hoping for business.
This is Akihabara. A popular Tokyo district mostly famous for its many electronic stores.
I really enjoyed this colourful district and I kept thinking how much my father (the ex electrician) would also.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)
“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure”
(Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist)
“I decided that adventure was the best way to learn about writing.” (Lloyd Alexander)
“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” (Roman Payne)
“Marry me, Zelda. We’ll make it all up as we go. What do you say?”
(Therese Anne Fowler, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald)
“It’s the unknown that draws people.”
(E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly)
Sorry I mean newbies. The other day, I had a light-bulb moment where I realised, WOW I am actually a free-lance writer! I chased my dream (posting every single day – sometimes twice!) and it came true. Please support what I do by checking my latest obento article HERE.
*traditional Japanese fabric dividers, hung in doorways or in windows.
Sometimes the people who give contrary advice to your life’s calling aren’t always doing it in a menacing way. I just came off a Skype call with my mama where she spent a good 30 min advising me to blog less. She said, blogging should be done in moderation, that it shouldn’t take away from the now and that some things, some special things should be kept secret. To all of which, I concur.
Now, my mama, she’s my number one fan. She’s always wanted the very best for me so I know that she meant well. But, I like to think that my blog is different to the average travel bloggers (see here). This is because, I’m open about my financial problems, my weight problems, my homesickness, my singledom, my worries and my stresses as well as my joys and triumphs. Further, I write because it’s my passion. It’s what I love to do more than I love myself. To blog or to be continuously active on social-media with the sole intent of constructing some fake image, I couldn’t loathe more even if I wanted. But what I’m trying to do and I hope I have achieved thus far to some extent is to share my truth in order to inspire others. As I’ve said, time and time again, traveling solo isn’t easy, mingling with opposite cultures and living and breathing different climates doesn’t come with an instagram filter. It isn’t a piece of cake (or a bowl of ramen). It is what it is and I hope to share it. Too much perfection is a mistake.
PS she means “natural”.
And what is the sweetness of
red bean paste
or the tang of wasabi?
What is the fun in slurping ramen
or over the top karaoke?
Why dress as a princess
walking ancient streets,
sampling exotic eats?
What is the fun in shopping
in trying this and that
when you’re not here
to comment on my new hat?
To take good pictures
the ones that look pretty
trying over and over
until I don’t look like me.
I miss you here
I miss you everyday.
But you can come back anytime,
is what I know you’d say.
But it’s not that easy,
I’m trying to find my way…
And it might be up Mt. Fuji
or down a Spanish bay.
Inspired by the ever so wonderful literature of Zelda Fitzgerald.
I don’t suppose I really know you very well- but I know you dream of me often and that the scent of your cologne dancing around your collar bone is my favorite smell and that your one in a trillion smile makes all my worries go away or else, the way you touch my hand, as if it were sacred, as if I were, as if I am.
I know that your eyes are secret islands gradually revealing their treasures day by day, and that your walk is gravitational, in the sense that I yearn to walk with you for as long as I can, and that our lips are the two jigsaw puzzles still clinging together in the pool of fragmented pieces.
What I don’t know is where you are at this very moment and when and how we will meet next. But darling, those are insignificant, compared to the whole, compared to the way my head fits your shoulder as if our bodies were carved by the same sculptor designed to match one another and as if our hearts were planted by the same gardener specialising in companionship – each one of us supporting the other to reach the sunlight first.
When Isaac gave me advice on starting a blog, alongside posting everyday, taking good pictures and making people care was the warning never to go cameraless. Today, I committed the sin.
Only 20 feet from my apartment, I saw the full-grown rice fields and took my first mental picture. In my head, I juxtaposed the long yellow strands with the tiny green shoots cheekily poking out from the murky water only two months prior. Next, I watched as a small yellow butterfly circled around a group of pink carnations and I imagined it keeping still, just long enough for my invisible camera to capture.
And though I’ve never taken an actual panoramic, I spun around slowly, then a little faster downloading the green mountains, the traditional roofed houses and the many black power-lines playing house to the village’s entire bird population. I took it all in and I saved it, for myself, on the desktop of my heart, in a private folder.
A few more steps and surprise, surprise, I was greeted by my friend. He was waiting for me outside of his house. “You late,” he said. I laughed thinking, it’s a Saturday! “Come come.” He took me to his garden. I watched as his 78 year old hands trembled cutting the vine of a perfectly round watermelon. “This this, number one,” he said. “Camera?” he asked. “Nai, not today,” I answered.
After calling his wife to join us in the garden, he washed the watermelon, scrubbing it with a brown sponge between his tanned and wrinkled fingers. I took a quick snap of this. Staring at the frozen moment I wished to hold hands with him. He reminded me of my own grandfather and the countless times we’d sat together where I played with his smooth fingers whilst he kissed my forehead.
Now the three of us stood around an old bench, beautiful amber wood, just screaming to be photographed as a sharp dangerous-looking square blade attached to a tiny wooden handle pierced through the green melon. Ah, don’t cut yourself I thought as I inwardly videoed the “big moment”. Red. It was so red. And fresh! So fresh that the skin cracked open by itself, begging to be eaten.
I was given the first slice. He and his wife watched in anticipation. Delicious? Delicious, I proclaimed. It was. It was the sweetest I’d ever tasted.
Finished. I’m done. Done done done. I did it. Oh man oh man. So many times I thought of packing my bags and going home to my parents where the food is better and the house isn’t freezing or humid and where the TV people speak in English but I stuck it out. I Finished. My job as an English teacher is officially over (for now) and I’m onto a new chapter. Wow I am so excited and scared and happy and nervous but good nervous. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me. For being there when I needed you. Over and over again. You know who you are. Please continue to walk with me for my next adventure. I’ll be waiting. I won’t embark without you.
“Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.”
“Nothing is predestined. The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.” (Ralph H. Blum)
Next up: O S A K A.
Yesterday I had an idea. One that both frightens me and makes me excited. I thought, why don’t I compile a picture book of my time here? Wouldn’t that be the very best way of closing a chapter? No pun intended. Okay, pun totally intended. What do you think? With anecdotes and recipes and maybe one or two poems (because I hear poems don’t really sell). Not that money is a focus for me whatsoever. I swear to God, all I want to do is create. I have dreamt of publishing a book ever since I was a little widdle head-scarf wearing school girl. Won’t you please help? Any ideas, any contacts, any advice, anything at all because I really don’t know one thing about doing this. Will you buy it? Is it a good idea? What do you want to see in it? Who should I contact? How do I do this?
Eagerly awaiting your comments and messages,