I am living busy days, some even would say life-changing days, but nothing is set on stone. Not just yet. We might as well keep dreaming and let time pass. The uncertainty takes my mind into a spiral of mixed emotions. My mind resembles a puddle of standing water that looks calm on the outside but festers below the surface. My thoughts do not flow freely, and even worse, they always go back to the same dark place. But my drawings, my characters, and little muses come to my rescue. They guide my hand to the pencil, and slowly what was dark becomes colourful, peaceful and even cheerful.
And sometimes, I draw self-portraits just to have fun
The bell rings and with every strike 2019 fades away. This moment is a little bit sad, because the challenges we overcame, the lessons we learnt and the love we gave seem gone. The memories travel further and further with every strike, because we know this time will never come back.
But as nostalgic this time might be for some, this is also a time of rebirth and revival, where our dreams and lives are given a second chance.
To be given another chance at life with the people we love and treasure is a gift, a treasure we must hold tight.
And as I am saying good bye to 2019, I would like to thank you ALL for such a wonderful year together, I have learnt and discover many things in 2019, a year of growth, change and personal acceptance for me. And it is thanks to you, who read these lines that I have been able to continue this journey.
I look at the screen in utter horror. The draft of my newest novella “The nun and the prostitute” is gone. My brain is screaming thousand swearing words unknown to me, “How do I know so many bad words,” I ask to myself.My shaking hands type again, and error comes out like the unavoidable curse that has fallen on me and my computer. “It’s got to be somewhere,” I tell to myself trying to remain calm. I log into various accounts, clouds, and alternative boxes and nothing “How did this happen?,” I scream at the computer. And again error. Tears come to my eyes but I refuse to give up, and go old school and take a look at abandoned USBs. The first USB only brings more disappointment. The story repeats itself with the second, and the third USB I check. And the last one, the one I named “Kuro” (black in Japanese) brings almost no hope because this USB comes with me everywhere, to my classes, to my lectures, to my business trips. I know what’s in there, and what it isn’t.
But I decided to check it anyway. And to my surprise, there is an old copy, only 22 pages, almost a fifth of the final version. “Better than nothing,” I console myself. I decide to keep checking just in case, I click in an old folder and there, shining like, an oasis in the desert, is a PDF version with all 98 pages of it. The whole novella!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The characters and I cried of happiness. We’re together again. I found what was lost. Or better say, the characters found me again. I’m home. And kuro, the hero, takes a well-deserved rest.
The airplane took off leaving Tokyo; taking me with it, and my expectations about Taiwan. I had done my research. I always do, I mean since I am an obsessive-compulsive reader, it’s not a surprise that I read everything I could possibly read about Taiwan. But what I hadn’t done were hotel reservations, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, this traveler doesn’t like making hotel reservations. Before you condemn me, hear me out, because I have valid, if not, strong reasons to not make hotel reservations
1.- I want to go to the places, where tourist doesn’t usually go; and don’t want the travelers’ websites to tell me where to go. I want to discover my journey on my own. 2.- I want to search and look for the city treasures as soon as I land. 3.- I want to get to know the locals and talk to them; not as a customer/tourist but as one of them. And nothing better than getting utterly lost to do this 🙂 4.- I love the adventure.
I know this might sound illogical for some people, but one of the reasons why I learned some much other cultures is that I always tried experiencing the country as one of them, not as an outsider but as a local. And arriving at a hotel makes it difficult for me to achieve this.
I know, I know this might sound strange for some (ok maybe for most of you), but it works for me. However, I have to admit that I regretted my decision when it started to rain; and the heavy drops began pouring on the English man, who bravely accompanied me in this adventure and me. He needed refuge and candidly asked me “Where did you say we were staying,?” he asked hopefully.
And it broke my heart to answer “I haven’t made any reservations, remember?,” I said awkwardly.
The disappointment darkened his blue eyes making them as gray as the sky above us. I could literally see his hopes shattering with every drop of rain that fell on him. And the sting of guiltiness pierced my heart.
Yes, I felt guilty.
But as always lucky was on our side, we found a warm, dry shelter for our tired souls and hungry bodies. We found a hotel within walking distance that promised us the experience of our lives at a reasonable price. Once the English man recovered, we started exploring the city, getting lost together in the tropical night of Taiwan.
The English man smiles, and I felt the universe in my heart.
Traveling is a unique way to reconnect with old friends, and it was that in this way we met an old friend of ours: Chunghsuan Lan (藍仲軒) original from Taiwan, Lan has spent time overseas, and during his residency at 331ArtsChiyoda (Japan) we had the opportunity to know him and his provocative art. But as Lan’s devotion to the arts it’s his life, love, and ultimate ambition; he invited us to visit Each Modern Gallery and to meet his colleagues, Sean and Murphy.
And also gave us a personal tour of the gallery allowing me and my camera to rejoice in the beauty of art.
But certainly the best part of this amazing meeting was to catch up with Lan
Taiwan was a long overdue expedition for me. Its history and culture have always attracted me with a magnetism I can’t quite define with logic. And the opportunity to visit this fascinating place, presented itself when I least expected it, as a gift from the Gods themselves.
Taiwan’s history is longer than I imagined, it was a surprising realization to discover that agriculture was developed 3,000 years ago and that the aboriginal occupants of the island presented more than one unshakable obstacle for the forays at conquering many tried.
In Asia, the calendar indicated the beginning of autumn, but not in the tropical Taiwan, where there’s sun, mango ice cream, and tea everywhere to ease any discomfort its everlasting summer might cause to its visitors.
According to legends and myths I came across, Taiwan was created by the tears of a goddess. And its women were born from the ashes of bamboo trees. However, whatever its origin, there is something undeniable special here, and lucky us, the Gods have blessed this journey.
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.
As I arrived at Kichijōji station, I couldn’t help but notice little gnomes, faceless ghosts and other “magical” creatures walking around. They all seemed busy and preoccupied.
And although I gave them the best of my smiles, they were not kind because they didn’t stop to help me when I asked them for directions. They just ignored me.
And neither the scarecrow that so kindly helped Sophie in the moving howl’s castle seemed to be carrying out good deeds this morning.
I knew the Ghibli museum was close to Kichijoji station, but all those “magical” creatures were taking the whole station for themselves. The volume of their voices was growing louder and louder. And they didn’t seem to be going anywhere but rather waiting.
But waiting for who, I wondered.
And just after few minutes, my question would be answered.
Because just before me, Mr. Miyazaki himself appeared at the ticket gate. And those magical creatures, his creatures, jumped to attention.
He was wearing a wool checked jacket along with a hat of the same print. He, all of him, was just as colorful, enchanted and fascinating as the characters he creates. And they all followed him on to the next train like obedient and lovingly children. And without him, the Kichijõchi station became gloomy and silent.
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.
I am lucky enough to love languages. I am sure some might think that have an unhealthy obsession with them, and, maybe, they are not wrong.
I mean I sometimes feel like a hunter, a linguistic hunter, who is never satisfied with its prizes.
I always must get more.
One of my favorite ways to learn more about languages is reading. I love reading, I could read until the end of life. And beyond. But the thing is that every time, I come across an unknown word, I need to know what it needs.
I mean I must know, as if discovering its essence would, somehow, make me an accomplice of its adventures and playfulness.
Why do I go through so much trouble? Some may ask. And to be baldy honest, I don’t know. I seriously don’t know.
I think deep down, where the subconscious lives, I have the need to connect with people, to understand them, to comprehend their behavior and to find out what moves them. Because if I can understand people around me, then I might be able to understand myself. Maybe.