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.

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.

Writing: It’s nothing special

 

I spent all day writing yesterday, and with the joy of the fulfilled task, relief came.

I fell how the knot I’ve had for days in my throat started to loosen up as if the stories had been there just waiting and instead of setting them free, I had only been piling them up.

I am free I thought, but then the need for writing stroke again.

New stories came from nowhere. Some were good, some were sad, others ridiculously funny, but they all were in need of a home.

I think I might be able to build them a little house, where they can be happy.

After all, there’s nothing special about writing as Ernest Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”

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. 
.

Pictures: The power of perseverance

 

“You are good at taking pictures” people kindly say. And although I thank you all for your kind words, I have a little secret to share.

And the secret is that I’m actually not good at taking pictures. Or at least, I wasn’t. If you do not believe me, you could ask people who have known me for decades, and they would gladly tell you that I am terrible at taking pictures.

But as I’m a stubborn little person, seriously, I’m little. I’m only 5 feet 3 inches tall (164 cms), I don’t quit once I set my mind on something I want.

So, when it comes to taking photos, I see something I like, I adjust the lens and shoot. And if I happen to have my iPod instead of my camera, then I shoot unstoppable. I shoot and shoot until I get a pic that it’s worth something.

Because there is always a shot that can be used. Effort always pays off. And, perseverance beats talent, at least it does in my case.

Life at 19: Life at 38

 

 

Getting into the little Italian restaurant, I used to visit many years ago, brought back memories. 

I was happy to be back. 

When the waitress came to take my order, I couldn’t help making conversation, so I told her I was going to tell her a tiny little secret.

She was so curious. It was adorable. 

“I haven’t been here in 5 years” I confessed “ssshhhh…keep the secret” I cheekily asked her. 

“Of course, I’ll keep your secret” she said, and I could see the sparkle of delightful complicity in her eyes.

She brought my food and this time I confess my age. 

“I am 38 years old. How old are you?” I asked her. 

“I am 19” she innocently replied

“Wow, I am twice your age” I said

We both laughed.

And I couldn’t but to think of myself at 19 years old. And I wished there was a time machine, so I could travel in time and tell the “19 years old” me that in 19 years time, she will be okay. 

Everything will be just fine

That some of the things we feared the most, never happened. Some happened, but we knew how to deal with those terrible oracles. And some other things that we never imagined happening happened. Some were great, some were good, and some were terrible.

But that we will be fine. Because one way or another, we would always find out way back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spider’s adventures

 

It was a lovely ride home, almost no one on the train, just a lady, wearing a “more than indiscrete” skirt sitting right in front of me, two college girls next to her. And next to them a very grumpy old man, and a lovely couple, one of those couples, which makes you hate them for being so lovely to each other. 

As I had enough space for myself, I took out my iPad. And I was about to start reading my new e-book when I noticed my train-mates were raising their voices. I lifted my eyes, and a “more-cheeky-than-life” spider was making its way down from the roof and was landing-to everybody’s horror- on the lady with the “more-than-indiscreet” skirt, who was sleeping as peacefully as if she were in her own bed. 

“What should we do?” everybody was asking. 

Shall we wake her up? said the grumpy man with a grunt.

Nobody knew what to do 

Then a brave young woman, one of the college girls, courageously took the spider threat and delicately took the spider from the unconscious woman and put the invader on safe ground. 

Everbody was speechless. I was speechless. I had just witnessed a real hero in action. 

But the invader was not happy, the little “more-cheeky-than-life” spider was coming towards me. 

Straight to me. It wanted a victim, and it was going to be me. 

It is not my time yet. I must kill it before it kills me, I thought. But then I couldn’t. 

Then destiny intervened, and the spider made a wrong turn, and to everybody’s shock, the “more-cheeky-than-life” spider and the grumpy old man were facing each other now.

We all saw it coming.

The grumpy old man lifted his foot, and it was the end of the “more-cheeky-than-life” spider’s adventures 😭

 

 

Lunch with myself: Learning to live in the present

 

For a hyper person such as myself, who always wakes up with a to-do list every morning living in the moment is a challenge..!! 

Oh boy..!! And to make things worse, I have a great memory..! So if you ever told me the story of your life, I will probably remember it the rest of my days. 

So ask to my brain to live in the present is a challenge, almost a mission impossible. 

But I am slowly learning to trick myself into living the present. Mwahahaha..! (This is my evil laugh 😝)

And how am I accomplishing this great conquest? 
Well, I am starting for taking myself out for lunch. For no reason, or whatsoever. And believe it or not, as silly as it sounds, those moments with myself make me slow down, appreciate my time and somehow find inspiration. 

You probably should know that I like talking to strangers.

That’s right..! I randomly talk to strangers 

So now that you are here, tell me: How are you? Everything ok? 😉

Ikeda Manabu: And her rebirth

When you see Ikeda’s painting “rebirth” you can’t help but think of a child’s dream, with its vibrant colors and hidden mythical creatures that seem to be laughing and playing in the painting. You quickly forget they are drawings because they look alive. And before you realize what it is happening, they (the drawings) invite you to play with them. Lucky me, I visited Ikeda’s exhibition with Nick West from gensojapan.org, who kept me from getting lost in the painting and took amazing photos

IMG_0082

Every corner of it (the painting) speaks of innocence, and  you can feel it (the innocence) playing around the room like a cheeky little boy looking for attention and cuddles.

IMG_0077

Every stroke tells a different story

fullsizeoutput_1a5

If you are interested where to find Ikeda’s “rebirth” click here

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.