My confused brain: On Sundays

 

I wake up as I do every morning at 5:00 a.m. without alarms.

I think I am an early bird because I am neither tired or grumpy.

I am fully awake.

But today is Sunday, and although my heart is ready to write, my brain has decided not to oblige today.

“It is Sunday” it says “ I want to have fun, I want to watch TV, laugh at silly jokes, and enjoy” it demands.

“Only 5 minutes” I reply, and I start preparing my morning tea.

“We’ll see about it” it threatens me.

“Time to work” I say once I finished preparing my tea.

“But we work everyday. It is Sunday” it says almost crying.

“We gotta get on with it” I say trying to make it understand

“It is Sunday. I want to watch TV, laugh at silly jokes, and enjoy. I won’t work today” It repeats again.

So I turn on the tv, and here we are still discussing when it is a good time to start writing. Sometimes my brain doesn’t want to understand that writing is having fun, enjoying and laugh at silly things, even when those silly things are our own lack of concentration and skill.

A blockheaded writer got help from beyond

Every professional writer tells us, amateur writers, to write every single day. “Even when you don’t feel like writing, go ahead and write why you don’t feel like writing,” they tell us.

Sadly, my friends, this is one of those days, when everything seems to go wrong, and even the simplest syntax and vocabulary seem to slip my mind.  Today, my mind doesn’t make the difference between good or bad. I have been dragging words all morning. Even the little characters I draw are sitting there waiting for me to give them a story, so they don’t get lost in their existence. The evil witch has already jumped on the opportunity and is marrying Prince Charming. The lovely princess will have to get a job, oh well!! It was about time 🙂

Then I came across a beautiful video, where a lovely Nana recreates the dishes of her childhood during the Great Depression. She has inspired me more than I would have ever expected. Unfortunately, she is not with us anymore, but she has left a legacy of love, courage, and bravery behind her.  And maybe that’s what’s life is all about. Inspire others,  build something praiseworthy with our lives to inspire even future generations.

Today, in these broken lines I know I am not conquering the world, neither these modest lines will ever win a prize, but I know I’m moving forward because I am conquering my humanity. And that is a triumph. My very personal triumph. And I owe it to the legacy of a lovely Nana, an Italian immigrant who didn’t let harshness  define her life.

 

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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Yone oni

One morning in the busy city I live in, I got into the train, without realizing I was about to be emotionally and physically abused by a ninny salary boy, who, I am sure, will die a virgin.

I will call him “the ninny”

I, unluckily, stood next to “the ninny” when I got on the train, and to an even worse luck, the train stopped suddenly, making us all stumble, onto one another. And to my outrage “the ninny” started elbowing me.!

 “The ninny” was elbowing me so I wouldn’t fall on him, which was not necessary because I was already trying hard not to.

Being elbowed so disrespectfully woke inside me, Yone oni (oni=devil), the dark side of me that I work hard to keep at bay.

But “the ninny” woke her up, I felt “Yone oni” waking up and start breathing with fury. We (Yone oni and I) took a look at him, and then we saw his weakness: embarrassment.

Embarrassing “the ninny” easy-peasy. So we started laughing at him. Laughing more and more, until we saw “the ninny’s” cheeks turning bright red.

Yone oni was happy but not satisfied. She started plotting against “the ninny” while I was trying hard to calm her down. But she refused to go back to sleep. She wanted revenge. She didn’t want to listen to me, until, I explained to her that spending more time on him would be a waste of our time.

Then she agreed, through clenched teeth, to take a little nap but she promised to keep an eye open just in case I might need her.

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Shinjuku: The beast and the heart of Tokyo

 

When I arrived to Shinjuku for the very first time, I got lost and I almost ended up crying in one of its corners, as I am houkouonchi, which means literally “person with no sense of direction” (方向音痴 ほうこうおんち)I still hopeless to find my way around this big city.

But if you survive your very 1st day in Shinjuku, the beast and the heart of Tokyo, then you can rest assure that you will survive anywhere else in the world.

 

 

Shinjuku is at first overwhelming and scary, but with time, it opens its arms to you

 

And it can even become your friend and protector, if we give it time. Just a little bit of time.

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With love

Walking along the gray streets, sometimes, I wonder how I survived all this time without you.

pablo-4You said goodbye one morning, and although it was not up to you to stay, or to leave. The fact is that you left, and your farewell changed my life. For better or worse nothing was the same.

I was never the same.

And although, I know, deep down in my heart, that you never wanted to leave me, yet again you did.

Ironically, none of us had a say in what happened, but it still hurts, even today. In every step I walk, in every moment I live, in every dream, I still hope to find you.

And I want to think that you remember me as well. I want to believe that this post will reach you. And, that you will read it, and we will be together in some parallel universe. In one way or another.

Somehow trying to explain the emptiness you left in me, I had come up with the crazy idea that when you left, you took a piece of my heart to later hide it somewhere in the world. And that’s why I have lived like a gypsy looking for that missing part of me. Like a cursed soul, whose only hope to survive is to follow the memory of you in this world.

I guess what I mean to say so inadequately in these lines is that I will always love you and that nothing could ever erase nor replace you, ojii-chan (ojii-chan means grandpa in Japanese)

Fairies and my insomnia

Late at night, fairies visit me whispering stories and old tales. Some speak familiar languages, some talk in dialects I have never heard. Nonetheless, they all come to share their stories and their secrets. They fly around me, tickle me, pull my hair softly until I wake up and agree to play with them.

When my husband is awake, they hide and wait for him to fall asleep to come out of their hiding place. Once he is asleep, they pour magic dust on him, so he doesn’t wake up. And when they are sure, he won’t wake up some kiss him on the cheeks, and some lie on his chest looking at him with goggly eyes. They like to flirt those little ones. Those cheeky little fairies.

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But the fairy queen sets them straight “there is no time to play” she says “there is so much to do and so little time.” They take me out of my room. And I write, what they share with me.

While the world sleeps, the fairies tangle their stories around my fingers, whispering their stories in my ears, and laughing at my mistakes. I write until dawn when they must go back to spread morning dew, so nature wakes up. But I know they will come back. As they do every night.

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English and Español

 

If someone would come and ask me if I can write in English and Spanish in the same way, I would honestly say that I can’t, because they are utterly two different languages.

Spanish is a Roman language, and English, although, carries words from Latin and French, is part of the Germanic roots language family. However, their alphabets are similar, (not the same) the phonetics are different.

Their syntax and expressions are not always transferable from one language to another. Therefore, when I express myself in Spanish, I have a license to communicate things that wouldn’t make sense in English. Spanish has a wide range of emotions, feelings, and sensations that would be considered “too much” in the English language. So I need to tune it down when I want to express myself coherently in English.

English, on the other hand, is straightforward without being disrespectful, it’s logical, and its primary purpose is to communicate the message effectively.

In my humble experience with English, I would say that its logic forces me to leave my emotions at bay, and to say what I need to say. Nothing more, nothing less.

Both languages are beautiful, sometimes, I find myself laughing at jokes from Latinamerica and when I try explaining them in English, I can feel how the humorous expectations of my audience become disappointment.

Or when I find something incredibly exciting in English and share it with my Spanish speaking friends, and it doesn’t come across, in the same way.

Or it can be the case that I am not talented enough to make sense of both in the same way. One must be honest with its limitations.

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.

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 🙂