Dancing to the moon

It’s said that witches dance to the moon.

Could I be a witch?

Maybe yes.

Maybe not.

But we all know,

This doubt.

Does not require explanation,

Nor interpretation,

But roaring snorting laughter. 

Found the lost

Kuro, the hero

I look at the screen in utter horror. 
The draft of my newest novella “The nun and the prostitute” is gone.
My brain is screaming thousand swearing words unknown to me, “How do I know so many bad words,” I ask to myself.My shaking hands type again, and error comes out like the unavoidable curse that has fallen on me and my computer. 
“It’s got to be somewhere,” I tell to myself trying to remain calm. I log into various accounts, clouds, and alternative boxes and nothing “How did this happen?,” I scream at the computer. And again error.  Tears come to my eyes but I refuse to give up, and go old school and take a look at abandoned USBs. The first USB only brings more disappointment. The story repeats itself with the second, and the third USB I check. And the last one, the one I named “Kuro” (black in Japanese) brings almost no hope because this USB comes with me everywhere, to my classes, to my lectures, to my business trips. I know what’s in there, and what it isn’t. 

Drawing by Yoneko Shiraishi

But I decided to check it anyway. And to my surprise, there is an old copy, only 22 pages, almost a fifth of the final version. “Better than nothing,” I console myself. 
I decide to keep checking just in case, I click in an old folder and there, shining like, an oasis in the desert, is a PDF version with all 98 pages of it. 
The whole novella!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
The characters and I cried of happiness. We’re together again. I found what was lost. Or better say, the characters found me again. I’m home. And kuro, the hero, takes a well-deserved rest.

Bye Bye: Yoneko sensei

Seven years ago, on this day, I worked my last shift as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). Yes, I used to teach in elementary schools as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) I used to create games, some of them planned well in advance because my motto is ” be prepared for everything and anything.” However, some of the games were created in the spur of the moment, when the ocean of little faces told me my games weren’t up to their standards.

They wouldn’t say it with words, but their little eyes did the talking for them. And those little shiny eyes were very VERY convincing.
And I obliged not because I wanted them to like me (which they did ❤️) but because I wanted them to learn, and to remember that learning something new needn’t be scary. And I have to say; I think I did a good job because from time to time, those little ones, who are now not so little anymore contact me and tell me that they STILL remember my lessons. My dear friends, can I tell you a secret? When my students contact me, it moves my heart because in every lesson I created for them, I put something of me in them. So, for me, when they remember my lessons, I feel like they remember me. That somehow the games, and my teaching methods as unorthodox as they were (still are), I was able to share my knowledge with them. But most importantly, it means that in those lessons while singing, sharing laughs and studying together for an ephemeral moment we were family. And once you’re family, you are always family.

Taiwan 4: The Englishman

The airplane took off leaving Tokyo; taking me with it, and my expectations about Taiwan. I had done my research. I always do, I mean since I am an obsessive-compulsive reader, it’s not a surprise that I read everything I could possibly read about Taiwan. But what I hadn’t done were hotel reservations, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, this traveler doesn’t like making hotel reservations. Before you condemn me, hear me out, because I have valid, if not, strong reasons to not make hotel reservations

1.- I want to go to the places, where tourist doesn’t usually go; and don’t want the travelers’ websites to tell me where to go. I want to discover my journey on my own. 
 2.- I want to search and look for the city treasures as soon as I land. 
 3.- I want to get to know the locals and talk to them; not as a customer/tourist but as one of them. And nothing better than getting utterly lost to do this 🙂 
4.- I love the adventure.

I know this might sound illogical for some people, but one of the reasons why I learned some much other cultures is that I always tried experiencing the country as one of them, not as an outsider but as a local. And arriving at a hotel makes it difficult for me to achieve this.

I know, I know this might sound strange for some (ok maybe for most of you), but it works for me. However, I have to admit that I regretted my decision when it started to rain; and the heavy drops began pouring on the English man, who bravely accompanied me in this adventure and me. He needed refuge and candidly asked me “Where did you say we were staying,?” he asked hopefully.

And it broke my heart to answer “I haven’t made any reservations, remember?,” I said awkwardly.

The disappointment darkened his blue eyes making them as gray as the sky above us. I could literally see his hopes shattering with every drop of rain that fell on him. And the sting of guiltiness pierced my heart.

Yes, I felt guilty.

But as always lucky was on our side, we found a warm, dry shelter for our tired souls and hungry bodies. We found a hotel within walking distance that promised us the experience of our lives at a reasonable price. Once the English man recovered, we started exploring the city, getting lost together in the tropical night of Taiwan.

The English man smiles, and I felt the universe in my heart. 

The chocolates: the granny and the train

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While I was waiting for the train, the unmistakable aroma of chocolate knocked on my nose, entering without permission. It woke up my senses, so I started looking around just to realized that the lovely 90 years old lady sitting next to me was enjoying chocolate.

One would think she had a few ones or a little bag at least. Wrong.! Wrong, my dear friends..!

The lady in question had a box, a whole box. If I ever thought, I loved chocolate I have certainly met my match.

I indeed saw my future in her.

She noticed me. And offered me one of the sweetest smiles, I have seen in a long time. I bowed. And I think she found me worthy of sharing her precious treasures, because, to the horror of many, she extended the box towards me, offering to share her cherished chocolates. I didn’t want to accept them but she was looking at me with such tenderness that I couldn’t refuse, I seriously couldn’t.

I took one. The lovely granny smiled happily.

My train came, I would have loved to stay longer with her, but life in Tokyo is not only busy but regulated to a rigorous schedule, even the trains. We said goodbye with another bow.

I hopped on my train. But turned around to have one last look at the lovely granny, and she was there, waving goodbye until my train disappeared into nothingness.

Cicadas and the peeping Tom

 

I recall my first day in these islands as if it were yesterday, but not because of the excitement of arriving in a new place to discover, to learn from, to treasure in my heart for the years to come. But because of the noisy, impolite, nerve-wracking singing of the cicadas, that woke me up at godforsaken hours.
Let me be candid and tell you that these tree-friendly bugs have annoyed me since day one. With their unstoppable singing, I thought I was going mad. Perhaps, I went crazy after all. But my mental sanity will be probably discussed in another post. 😄

I was so upset with the cicadas that my murderer’s instincts started to flourish that year.

I would stare at the trees outside my window with my sleepy eyes, ruffled hair, and sweaty face. So, one of the neighbors thought I was a peeping Tom ( a pervert who spies people while they undress)
The 85 years old gentleman who called the police on me accusing me of such crime (peeping Tom) came later to apologize for the misunderstanding. Of course, he came accompanied by his wife. Just in case. You never know, right?.

 

But times have changed, and even to my surprise, I have grown fond of the little tree-loving insects (cicadas). I don’t look forward to their endless singing, but I am happy they always make me look out of my window.

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The “successful” guy: The poor girl

 

The guy sitting at the cafe nervously looked at his phone. 

Someone was running late. And we were all witnessing his impatience and the cruel ticking of the clock that wouldn’t stop for him, or anybody.

A few minutes later, she came almost running through the door, ordered a cup of coffee, and sat at the table mumbling apologies that he wouldn’t listen because he had news to share. 

“I have finished my book” he announced with a big smile.

“Congratulations…” She said happily “And……” she tried to continue. 

“You have no idea how great my book is” he said with an intoxicatingly happy face that started to resemble a hysterical mask. 

“Yes, I see. But…” She tried again 

“You know? Most of my friends are writers, journalists, poets, and editors. And they all say my book has potential” His happy face has mutated into the joker’s face. He had a happy grin on, but there was something scary and obscure in its expression. 

“Great..” She managed to say

“I mean my friends just love it. They love my book. I am sure that in less than three months I will be an international success, and you will be the luckiest girl in the whole world for being with such as a great guy as myself” He said with a laugh that could freeze your blood.

 

She only nodded and started sipping her coffee knowing she was not invited to speak but to reassure him silently.

 

We all try our hardest not to look at them, but we couldn’t help to feel sorry for the poor girl sitting with the “successful” guy.