Happy holidays from the elves

 

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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Without internet: Could you work?

 

“I’m telling you when I started my career, we didn’t have internet, we didn’t even work with computers” was saying, my middle-aged colleague.

 

I stared at my colleague while holding my fork halfway to my mouth.
My colleague’s words shocked me because, although, I interact with technology every day, as most of you, it is shocking to be reminded that it was not always the case.

 

My colleagues started talking about telephones, faxes, and notebooks and pens.

“Can you imagine? I even had to go to a seminar to learn how to send e-mails?” My colleague was saying in a low voice as if making me a confidence.

 

My colleague’s words resonate with me because in the back of my head, I still remembering the world without internet, perhaps my generation is the last generation to have grown up without it (internet). Yes, I am that old 🙂

I still remember the boring Sunday afternoons and the horrible silence in the streets when the children went back home for dinner.

 

In other words, I remember daily life without internet. But business without internet, I have never experienced..!! and I think that is a huge (very big) challenge.

 

Just think about it, you are only giving a notebook and pen. And you can use the office’s phone and fax machine as long as the other thirty people, who work with you, are not using it 😫

I don’t know you, but I couldn’t work properly. Or maybe I am just spoiled.

 

Working without computer or internet, I have never done. And that’s why I take my hat off (I want to show my respect) to those colleagues who have achieved so much without technology. Thank you, and I hope one day, I can be as good as you are.

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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)

A little bit of Yokohama: Summer 2017 

Yokohama, the biggest city in Kanagawa-ken has different faces. Traditional and modern. Old and new collectively creat and craft the identity of this lovely city.


I was just taking as many pictures as I could possibly take in the incandescent heat of the summer, without perishing from a heatstroke. When I found this:  A gigantic snoopy that made it all better.

I also found jugglers entertaining children and adults with children’s souls 💕 It was nice.

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.

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.

To my beloved white supremacists: Here is your brown mommy

Hey, you all…!! Come on..! What are you so sad about? What did you say?

People do not understand you..!!! Oh, my..!!

You poor little things. Now, come here and let me give you a warm hug. There, there it’ll pass. You’ll see.

What is that? That the Brown people are taking your jobs? And that the African Americans have been mean to you?

Come on..! Do not cry..! Now, put down that tiki torch.

There, there… good boy.! Now come on, let’s talk..! But first, let’s blow your little white nose. Nice..!! I will definitely have to throw this handkerchief away now.

No, I will not call you master.

Now, what is that non-sense of starting a genocide so you and your children can have an opportunity in life?

Oh, I see..!! You had privileges before, and there given to you, not because of your intellectual abilities but for the color of your skin, and that’s why you don’t have any (intellectual abilities)now.

But honey, there are so many smart and successful white people out there, what is the difference between you and them?

Ahh..! I see, they worked hard, they studied hard, and they actually made a great effort to succeed in life. But you want none of that nonsense, what you want it’s things given to you.

You want things the way they were before the civil war.

When the white man was respected and feared, and that’s why you voted for the Donald Trump, although, the functionality of his prostate interferes with his “brain abilities.”

Honey, let me give it to you straight, to succeed in life, there are no shortcuts, you have to work hard, study harder and stop with the rallies and shenanigans, why don’t you work on yourself instead of trying to bring other people down? Because that ain’t cool.
And now go on your way because this brown hot mamma gotta keep working.

 

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