Quechua: The bleeding wound

 

One of the biggest regrets of my life, if I had any, is not being able to learn Quechua while I was growing up. I was not taught Quechua, either at home or school. And living in the city made learning it, or even knowing about it, harder than it should have been. 

I do not speak it, and I know it’s because of my inability, but not for lack of trying. I even moved to Cusco so that I could hear it every day. But alas..! My brain doesn’t retain it. 

I know we can’t know it all. But still, every time I hear a song in Quechua something primal wakes up in my heart, and I hum to the melodies while listening to the unknown words that wake up a swirl of emotions in my latino heart. 

It is the same with all of them, William Luna with his “Niña chay” and “Valicha” make me think of lullabies because the lyrics are just soft and lovely. But lately, I have found a new song that makes me dance (Being bad at something does not prevent me from trying 😁) from Damaris “Tusuy Kusun,” which won her first place in “Viña del Mar”, which is the most prestigious music festival in Latin America. 

I will keep trying to improve my understanding of this ancestral language which not only accompanied the Incas but it is the vessel of our mystical culture. And which secrets are contained within it, still waiting for us to discover them.

The girl from Ipanema: walking down the street

 

 

A summer day I was walking down the street when I saw her. A woman so beautiful that could stand traffic, and yet so unaware of it (her beauty) and the effects she was causing on people. 

She was walking blindly to the desire looks she received from men, and the hateful looks women shot at her. 

And as she was walking, the slinky movements of her hips were hypnotizing pedestrians and drivers. I even saw a mesmerized couple of guys walking behind her. 

They were not harassing her. But it was obvious that the poor guys have lost their souls to the rhythm of her movements. 

I am just grateful there were no traffic accidents. 

And I couldn’t help but think of “the girl from Ipanema” and that some people are really gifted with beauty but as this beauty is nothing extraordinary for them, they do not hold themselves with pride or arrogance. As ironic as that might be. 
.

Breaking up with your employer

 

Not a while ago, I quit, what many would call, a dream job in Japan. But there was still something missing in my life. Do not think for a moment, I am ungrateful to my employers, on the contrary, I was lucky to work with them. But it was time to move on. In the last e-mail they sent, I was asked if I’ll ever come back. So I replied as honestly as I could, I told them that they’d find someone else, better than me, because they deserve better. But I also told them they could always call me and count on me. And yes, we could still be friends. I will always be there for them. 
I know comparing quitting a job with breaking with a boyfriend, might sound disrespectful for some people, but in Japan, where work ethics are still very traditional, getting a job is a life-time-commitment. In other words, in Japan, you just don’t get a job, you marry your job. You read that correctly.

You marry your job. Your job is your priority number one. And you immediate supervisor becomes your mother/father, to whom you’re obliged to obey. No arguments. Your boss’s word is final. In a traditional Japanese company, there is no room for “I.” What matters the most is “We,” the group, even to the cost of your well-being. 
This is an actual cultural fact. When you get a job in these islands, you stay with the same company for life. You give them your life, and in return, the company looks after you. And although this has started changing during the last two decades, I was fortunate enough to experience this unbreakable bond, that still exists, in the Japanese Business world.
In other words, quitting was not easy. But, I was lucky enough to see, to live and, to experience this cultural phenomenon in order to transmit to all of you.

The city: The old towns

 

I love leaving Tokyo, and then I realize, I’m a contradiction, because in my twenties I dreamed of living here, and now that I do. I dream of leaving.

I dream of living somewhere quiet, empty, solitary and why not? Remote. Because, I love arriving in old towns, where life seems to run at a slower speed than our beloved and turbulent Tokyo.

I love walking in its empty streets discovering its glorious past while learning, and imagining it alive. But to be honest, I don’t dare entering in the abandoned houses because I fear a grumpy spirit might find my curiosity an intrusion and let me know its displeasure with a well-deserved apparition. So, I play it safe and don’t risk it.

I also enjoy the contact with nature, its immensity, intensity, and beauty that always dazzle me leaving me asking questions that will never be answered.

I love leaving the city but then when I come back to it. Its rhythm, energy, and magnetism pull to me it again. And decide that I was never meant to leave the chaos after all.

Did the world end yet? 😫

 

I have heard so many times the world is ending that it is getting exhausting. Seriously..! Don’t you maniacs have anything better to do than scare us all?
And to make things worse, I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to freak out properly, you know?

That’s how busy I am.

In Japan, we have North Korea trying to nuke us, and then we have these “experts” in numerology and Bible that have finally cracked the exact date of the “end of the world”.

Let me put this out there

If the Maya didn’t get it right, neither will you, ok? So stop the nonsense.

So, pick up the pieces of your life, clean yourself and gather strength because we have to keep facing the same things we have to face everyday.

The world still spinning, we still here, we gotta give it our all with hope and courage.

Internet: Where are you? 😭

 

This is the worst café, I could ever have chosen, because there is no wifi here, and not only there is no internet, but my personal internet, (yes, we have personal internet here in Japan) is not working either, that’s right, I am spoiled.

Here in Japan, I take my personal internet wherever I go, I turn it on, and I am magically connected with the world. This tiny little square thingy guarantees to work wherever I am, and I can use as much as I want, and you bet I do..! But today is not working..!!

And here I am, in this underground café, where the internet signal is dead..!

Dead, I’m telling you, dead..!!

I ordered already an expresso instead of my morning cup of coffee. That will calm my nerves.

“Internet come back, please..!!” I pray

“Wait..!! The internet is back…!!” God really exists

I try to log in and nothing.

The internet is not back. It was just wishful thinking

Let me try to get signal. Maybe if I bend over 45 degrees, I could get some signal.

Oh..! I am getting a little bit of signal. But I need a stronger one (signal)

Maybe I should lift a leg, just in case you know?

No, it is not working.

Oh, I got it..!

I stand up, and I lift my right arm and left leg.

I know I like a giant “L,” but I do need internet.

But you know what? There are only a few people here, but I feel all eyes on me.

I should probably go back to my seat

Talk to you later, if I get internet signal 🙂

Ark Nova: When goodwill and faith travel

Art makes us think, inspire us, and move us to do things for other people. And I humbly think I felt all those things together when I saw Ark Nova,  an inflatable concert hall created to support affected areas by earthquakes. An inflatable concert hall..!

 

 

And fulfilling its destiny, Ark Nova has been in Fukushima for a couple of years, but now it is finally in Tokyo to keep spreading its message of goodwill and faith in humanity.

 

And it (Ark nova) seems to bring peace with it. It surrounds it all with calm and serenity

 

If you have some time to spare, please go to Tokyo Midtown, it will be a great experience. And no worries, there is no way to miss Ark Nova

 

China town: A walk on a Sunday afternoon

 

It was Sunday, I was alone at home so I decided to take my camera and travel to China town in Kanagawa-ken, where I used to live few years ago. 

 

 

And the energy hasn’t changed at all 

 

Maybe it (the energy) has increased. 

 

 

 

 I also made new friends 

 

 

And before I went back I stopped by the police box (koban in Japanese) 

 

 

It was a lovely afternoon indeed. 

 

Café: Las letras muertas

 

Cabe la casualidad que siempre que el silencio cae en mi alma, acallando la inspiración, tengo una taza de café al lado haciéndome compañía. 

En esos silencios, siento como si el mundo entero se detuviera, y solamente de mi dependiera su continuidad, como la historia que nunca acaba. Pero aún así, las letras caen al suelo, y ni el miedo a desaparecer puede recogerlas de ahí. 

Las letras caen y se niegan a levantar vuelo, como aves heridas, se quedan allí, sin vida. Y el aroma del café recién hecho consuela de alguna manera mi duelo. 

Porque no hay pena mayor que la de querer escribir, y no encontrar las palabras, o peor aún, que estas se nieguen a cooperar. Y cuando estoy pasa, decido dejarlas ser. No les ruego, ni les suplico que me perdonen por mi falta de talento. 

Las dejo a su capricho. 

Y me envuelvo en obscuridad, pero cada mañana al regresar a este mundo, antes incluso de agradecer a Dios por traerme de vuelta al mundo de los vivos, preparo una tacita de café, como si esta obscura poción tuviera la clave de todas las preguntas que ya entran por la ventana sin darme tregua. 

Bebo cada sorbo, y puedo sentir cada gota de café mezclándose con mi sangre, reencarnando mi conciencia en la persona que debería ser yo y que sin embargo nunca llega a ser. 

Y al terminar el día, las letras yacen ahí, mientras yo termino de beber las últimas gotas del bendito elixir. 

Es así que el café marca, para mí, el inicio y el fin de cada día. 

 

Being an immigrant

 

Being an immigrant, I feel thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given in all the countries, I’ve been lucky enough to be welcomed. For all the people, who received me, not as a stranger, but as a friend, as one of them. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Since I learned to read, my favorite topics were literature, history, and geography. To hell with mathematics and algebra, who needs to know how to convert algorithms in real life?….I’m actually asking you. Do you know why they torture us with those classes? Anyway, I was always curious, so I had lots of questions: Why Italy was called Italy? Why doesn’t everybody speak Spanish? How come English sounded so scary? Believe me, when I say, my English teachers didn’t make my learning process very easy.

Moreover, growing up with my Okinawan grandparents only fueled my natural curiosity, because I learned there was a different world out there, and I was going to discover it. But, truth be told, I never thought, even in my wildest dreams to land on this beautiful island. I was happily living in my cold Colorado, eating hot pockets and rocking the world. When suddenly, everything changed. It felt like an earthquake in my life, but I’m sure it was part of what we call destiny, and I arrived in Japan in 2006. Exactly, 10 years ago. And although it wasn’t easy at first, I realized that maybe, I could make myself at home. After all, I hadn’t forgotten all the Japanese my grandfather dutifully had taught me while playing the sanshin (Okinawan guitar) in the warm afternoons we shared at home so many years ago.

Since my experience, I can tell you that being an immigrant is not so bad, as long as the locals welcome you, and you try to adapt. In other words, like in every relationship, everything is 50%-50%. Give and take. We, immigrants, need to adjust to the new land; we need to learn the local language, respect the local culture and the law. We can’t just arrive and do things our way. We must remember that we are guests in a foreign land.

Please, do not think for a moment, I’m a Bretix or a Trump supporter. Those two catastrophic political events are nothing but a shame. Moreover, listening to Trump talk is like listening to Hitler. A monster using ignorance to catapult its political ambitions. So, let’s just be careful about our choices. Because if the locals support this kind of politicians then God helps us all. There is no hope.

Furthermore, if we think immigrants are the cause of the social problems in our countries, then I advise you take a closer look at what’s happening in the world. Outside your community, outside your borders. Search for information, read and try to understand that the world is not the same as fifty years or merely two decades ago. In these days, to get a job, we need more skills, more experience. And as we, immigrants, know we have to work hard, study and never stop learning to have a chance. A chance. Sometimes, literally one chance, we are aware, we have to prepare constantly, and untiringly, so we are ready for any job that might come along. Our advantage is hard work because we are trying to survive. And maybe have the chance of a life.

Please think of that before voting for Trump. For Britain and Brexit, it might be a little bit too late. But seeing Boris Johnson becoming the new foreign secretary, I’m convinced more than ever that karma does exist for countries that do not choose their leaders wisely.