Travel

Chai Travels to Tokyo

We left Manila at the crack of dawn for the land of the rising sun. I dozed off for half of the flight but woke up just in time to catch, as seen from our airplane window, the snow-capped peak of Mt. Fuji rise from just beyond the horizon. On the train ride from Narita airport to Oshiage, the scenery slowly changed from rice paddies into low-rise apartment buildings. As my second visit to Tokyo, it is definitely is more than its glittering skyscrapers, automated toilets, and the vending machines on every street corner.

We rented a modest apartment in a quiet neighbourhood near Tokyo Skytree for our six day stay in Japan. The narrow streets in the neighbourhood discouraged cars and so bicycles are a preferred mode of transportation by the locals. I myself have never learned how to ride one but I would’ve definitely enjoyed bicycling down the park along Sumida river. The ten to fifteen minute walk from our apartment to the nearest station, however, allowed us to get a taste of shitamachi (roughly translating to “old town”) culture. On our first day, an elderly lady from a family-owned bakery kindly gave us a discount for the bread that we bought from her after she realized we were tourists. Also nestled between the side streets and alleyways are local restaurants, small shops, and bathhouses. If you want to take a break from the faster-paced lifestyle of bigger cities, Sumida is definitely a great area to explore as relics of traditional Japan stands juxtaposed to large commercial buildings.

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Poetry

Grace

NaPoWriMo Day 20: Write a poem in the voice of a member of your family.


It is my 50th birthday today. On the dining table, a cake with a cheery “Happy birthday!” written in blue frosting and with three candles on top. I closed my eyes, made wish, and blew each one. My husband asks what I wished for. I gently placed hand on top of his, my dark complexion a stark contrast. I look at our two children, the same blood running through their veins and yet, they inherited my skin and my eyes. My mother’s words ring true: Our family blood is strong.

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Thoughts

I don’t know what I’m doing.

I may look like I do, but trust me, I don’t. It makes sense, with me hoarding as much work as I can without breaking down. I try to find myself in the work that I do. Obviously, I haven’t, as work keeps piling up and I’m not happy. When what I stop having fun with what I do, it becomes work and I stop trying. I do it for the sake of doing it and in turn, it stops me from growing.

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Moonshine (n)
— liquor
— foolish thought or talk; nonsense

Moonshine

Poetry

Moonshine

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Poetry

How To Write Poetry

You don’t know how many times
I’ve scrapped these first few lines
because all I’m writing are clichés.
I’m trying to hard to rhyme
or looking for enough time
or trying to sound sublime.
I struggle to find the right metaphors
to make sense of the puzzle pieces
just to end up with blistered fingers
from the jagged fragments.
Sometimes I think
too much with my head
too little with my heart
because that’s when the words
flow more graciously.

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