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. 
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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 😭

 

 

The dark shadow

 

Today I woke up and to be absolutely honest, I felt angry and miserable as if a dark shadow were dragging the life out of me. I do everything I could to escape this shadow that clings my soul from time to time. 

 

Sometimes, I feel I’ve scared it for good, but it (the dark shadow) always comes back. And I want to hide, but if I hide, it stays because then I become the prey. And I see it (the dark shadow) growing bigger, stronger and scarier. 

 

It (the dark shadow) becomes so big, I fear it might swallow me. 

And it is in those moments that I have to fake strength to face it, so at least I manage to keep at a safe distance, so it doesn’t hurt me or others. 

Sometimes, I feel like I live a lie. Pretending to be “normal”.

People around me do not realize for a moment my truth. They see a young, jovial man, who seems to have it all. If they only knew my dark secret, if they only knew how much energy it takes to get out of bed, push myself out of the flat, to get in the tube, to see people, and to talk to people. 

 

If they only knew I am trapped. 

 

If they only knew I am trapped and lonely.

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.

My multiple personalities worry about me: Have I gone mad?

 

I woke up worrying about my blog, the likes, the comments, the stats, and the growing page, in other, I was becoming obsessed, and full of myself. 

 

The narcissist part of me, Yone-narcissist, was smiling and telling me how great and smart she was.

 

I can’t stand her. I’m sure you won’t either. She needed to go..! and she needed to go fast..! The sooner she leaves, the better I would feel. 

 

We needed to find a cure. And to cure sudden sickness we need strong medicine, so I decided to spend a day without Internet.

 

First, Yone-chan, my inner child, resisted. And although I explained to her it was for our own, she burst into tears. That’s when Yone-Oni showed up. Because everytime Yone-chan is hurt Yone-oni comes to the rescue. Yone-oni is a natural protector, despite her bad temper. And I was expecting a fight with her (Yone-oni), when she started crying, as well, saying how bored she would be without the internet.

 

I tried to convince Yone-Oni promising her ice cream and having a lovely walk in a park, Some of my other personalities started smiling encouraging Yone-Oni to accept the deal, at least fourteen of them seemed to agree. 

 

Then I told them we would buy ourselves a nice book. 

 

“Another one??????” all my multiple personalities shouted all at the same time 

 

“But this will be different” I replied

 

“Different??” they asked 

 

“Yes, because this will be a book for us to enjoy. To have fun” I said.

 

That’s when my multiple personalities stared at me, all the same time, they seemed truly concerned.

 

“I’m serious” I told them defensively 

 

But they all just stared at me as if I had gone mad.

 

“Are you ok?” asked Yone-Oni with real apprehension in her eyes.

 

“I promised you, I’m fine” I said

 

“She delirious” they all said in unison.

 

Then they all rushed around the house.

 

One brought me a blanket to keep me warm, although, in Japan, September is still quite warm.

 

A group of cheeky ones decided that the best for me was to take Oji chan’s soup (I will tell you what Ojichan’s soup is in another post) then they started “cooking”

 

I don’t remember Ojichan’s soup having so many vegetables 😐 in it. But what matters it’s their good intention. I guess. 

 

Another group of my personalities decided I needed music, so they played one of my favorites melodies. 

 

Another one decided I needed a cuddle, and another personality said that what I needed was kisses on my forehead, another said it (what I was needed) was getting my hair brushed. 

 

They still fighting. So, I haven’t gotten either a cuddle, kiss or my hair brushed. 

 

 

The house was becoming a mess.

 

Groups were discussing how to calm me down just in case of a breakdown.

 

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They were all talking, and I was about to explode, when we heard a sound in the door.

 

“It’s him” they said, and they all run to hide and to look their best

 

Even Yone Oni was putting lipstick on.

 

“What?” She asked defensively. 

 

He came through the door with such a lovely smile that even Yone-Oni melted down. 

 

“What a stunt..! We have done great” said Yone-narcissist smiling happily at me.

 

“You” I said “That’s it. You gotta go” 

 

I unplugged the internet, and it will remain this way until Yone-narcissist goes back to sleep 😊

Warning: Writing is addictive

 

When I started writing my blog, I thought, I might do it once or, maximum, twice a week, nothing that could take so much time because I am always busy. Besides, there are other things to do in life, right?

 

Writing isn’t everything, is it?

 

Wrong..!!!

 

Writing is everything.

I can’t spend a day without, at least, writing a line. And even during the few months, I spent without posting. I spent them writing short stories, which hopefully, will see the light someday.

 

Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. I don’t know yet. But you bet I am working on it 🙂

 

But I wish someone would have warned me. Tell me that writing is addictive. I got myself into this dependence on writing, I need it and crave it. It is like every emotion I feel must be processed through writing, otherwise, my feelings do not make sense. It is like the words burn and heal me, all at the same time.

 

So, if you are thinking of starting writing, my dear friend, welcome to the clan. But be aware that once you start this journey, there is no coming back, the words will pull you back in. There is no escape. You will never be same, you will be transformed by the need to create and to free the words from the prison of your mind.

 

You have been warned. Good luck.

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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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Once upon a time: I didn’t like children

There was upon a time, where I thought the most important things in life were economical success, travels, status, and money. In other words, I was a cold-hearted bitch.

Some people still thinking I am that person, but they are granted their opinion, FYI (For your information) I think I am a softy-walking marshmallow. But we all got the right to our opinion so that I won’t fight it. But we all got, as well, the right to change and to become better persons, and maybe that’s why we have changing life-moments.

And God knows I’ve had so many changing-life moments..!! But in this case, the breaking point came when I was hired to teach children in the Japanese elementary Schools.

 At that time that was a dreadful prospect. Because I couldn’t even stand the sights of those mini-humans. But I needed the money, so I took the job.

 If you met me in person now, perhaps you would think I am lying, but as I don’t like lies, you can be sure that I am absolutely honest, when I say that when I got hired to teach children, I couldn’t even stand the sight of them. I thought them as humans on the making. Some sort of half humans, who were not quite there yet and who were rather annoying and not even interesting enough to deserve my attention.

 My first day, I was obviously nervous, and I was begging the Lord to let me go back to the corporate world, where I belonged, or so I thought at the time. But five years would pass for me to return to the corporate world, where I finally found money and the other shenanigans (silly things) I have been looking for.

 I thought I was happy but every time, I faced bumps on the road, I remembered my little children, whose faces would light up as soon as I entered the classroom. I remembered our songs, and I know they still remember them as well. And above all, I remembered their dirty little hands covered in mud and unthinkable bacterias while their little eyes looked into mine telling me how much they loved me with their sweet innocent voices.

They did love me unconditionally, and with that avalanche of love, I learn to understand them, to listen to them, to love them. And to love my inner silly banana side. I was their teacher, but it was them who taught me to love.

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