Happy 2020

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.

Thank you VERY much, and Happy 2020 ❤️

Broken pens: the drama and the inspiration

I love pens. I love holding them. But at this moment, all the pens I own are broken. Why are they all broken? I have no idea. 

The spring that unfailingly lowers the tip is stuck..!And It’s hard to make the ink leave a mark on the paper. I try writing with the other pens, but it is all the same result. 

And when inspiration strikes, it has to wait until I finish battling (dueling at times) with the pen, the ink, and the spring.
I’d love to curse and let it all out, but I shut those thoughts down because the inspiration is a sensitive spirit, who needs to feel peace and calm to work her magic. So there she is now waiting with crossed arms in front of her. She is huffing and puffing at me, and the foolishness of who I am. 

“Buy new pens,” she says. 

“I like these old ones. I’ve had them forever” I simply reply.

And the inspiration just rolls her eyes at me as answer.

When I finally get the pen to work, I write it all down, but something is missing. I know. And the inspiration knows I know. I look at her, but I don’t beg her. 

“Fine” she says angrily. And she starts pouring silk on air.

She cries with me in the funeral of Prince Charming and smiles at the birth of his heir. And when we finish the story she leaves without warning or a goodbye. But I know she will come back. Because although I know, she doesn’t like me because I am a talentless writer, I know she will come back because she has nothing better to do than torture me.

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.

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.

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.

 

.
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 😊

The Empress: Her tea house, her lake and her garden

As soon as you step into the garden, something changes in the atmosphere, I don’t know if it is the temperature, the cicadas that sing in unison with the wind. Or the voices of visitors that become a mere whisper in the distance. I have no idea, what it is, but something changes. Or maybe it is the Empress Shōken herself welcoming you to her garden.

I see the lights on in Empress Shōken’s tea house, and I can’t help but feel naughty, as if I were spying on someone. But I imagine that if Empress Shōken discovered me outside her tea house, instead of getting upset, she would invite me to drink tea with her. Because I think she was indeed a generous soul.

I just imagine her (Empress Shōken) sitting there in her tea house, looking at the little lake in front of it (the tea house), letting her maids entertain her, and ask them to leave as soon her husband arrives. Of course, nothing of this is written anywhere. I just like to imagine it.

A few shots of the empress’s lake little lake, where the water lilies imperceptibly move with the soft afternoon breeze.

A shot of the tea house from the little lake

I distractedly (without paying attention) walk through the garden and, as always, my feet take somewhere I didn’t mean to go and I arrive to Kiyomasa-Ido well, which is famous for the purity of its water.

But I am afraid it’s time to leave, because I am the only person  in the garden now.  Or maybe I’ll just stay a little bit longer so I can make Empress Shōken company, at least for a little bit longer.

NOTE: Although, Meiji jingū gyoen (Meiji jingū inner garden) existed before the construction of Meiji Shrine, according to the Meiji Jingū gyoen brochure, I always think of the garden, as Empress Shōken’s garden, because the tea house that adorns this secret garden was built especially for her.