An entry from a Tokyo Notebook


There’s a pathway through the streets of Tokyo which holds a heaping handful of dear memories for me. Japan is a place which lives in my dreams – the whole nation, the people, the make-up of the social and cultural bricks which have formed the Japan of now into what it is. It is an enigma.
In 2011 I took the bullet train south into the heart of Tokyo with a few friends. Although the memories are fleeting and it wasn’t a trip of heart-stopping moments, still, what a time we had. I miss it.
I have since located a small notebook which I apparently had with me on that trip. There is only one entry therein with documentation of memory. That memory is typed as it was written by hand.
To my friends then and now, may we have the same handful of opportunities to walk those streets again in the waking world.
-lp

September 27, 2017 – 11:54 p.m., somewhere on America’s coast.


 

Dec 31st, 2011

Woke up this morning & got out of the capsule. Time was 8:47. I called Fielding (in the capsule above me – 804). No answer.
Decided to go down to the 2nd deck and change. Fielding met me there after trying out the 4th deck massage chairs.
We got dressed & went to the ガスト across the street for breakfast. Then we took the train to Asakusa & went to the shrine there (雷門).We took some pictures & got some ice cream. A funny inebriated Japanese man came up to us & began chatting in English. He asked us lots of questions & told us he was 61 years old. We went then to Shinjuku to look for kiseru (キセル) – a Japanese style pipe. We finally fond one at Kagawa – a tobacconist in Shinjuku (the first place was Ikebukuro). We went back to the capsule Hotel & lock a ways (?).
Met up with Mason later. For dinner we went to a great restaurant called The Lock-Up. It’s a horror-themed restaurant where they scare you with the lights off every hour or so. It was a lot of fun.
We then walked around. They went to a rock bar & I left. Now I’m walking down the path at 明治神社 for the new year. It is officially 2012.

Poem – Wanderlust

About how
Very much I am sad
When I think of leaving
This place – another
Home of mine.

12/1 – This morning Fielding woke me up and I met Mason and Fielding in the lobby @ around 9:50. I tried out the 4th floor massage chair for a few. It was great.
The three of us set off & hit Shibuya Station where we got a group picture in front of Hachiko (Exit) crosswalk. Mason headed out & Fielding & I took the Ginza Line to Asakusa & the Tobu Line to Nikko. Once there we realized we only had around 45 minutes until the 咚昭宮closed. We took a cab – the fare was 780 ¥.
The walk up to the Shrine was gorgeous but daylight was fading & we had to move. The area we wanted to see (徳川家康) closed at 3:30. We figured we had some time. So we bought entrance fees (¥1300) & お守り. When we finally made it to the area it was freaking closed!
We missed it by three minutes! Alas, we had taken too many photos thinking we had sufficient time.
I went into the side temple & saw a ceiling painting of the nation’s longest (I think) painting with ink.
As we departed, we realized we had festival food to look forward to. We munched on お好み焼き &some desserts. It was great.
We walked back to the station & Kerrie called me on the way back. I wished her Happy Anniversary, Happy New Year! On the way back (as well) I found a small Mom&Pop craftware shop. I couldn’t resist & bought Kerrie a jewelry box & a small looking glass for her anniversary.
We’re now on the train back – we should be back in Tokyo at around 8:08 p.m.

~

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Happy September


73266562            Another beautiful day comes to us and, wherever that day finds you, I send my hopes that you are happy, healthy, and smiling.

It’s been a while, and I’m trying to think what exactly I’ve been up to. Oh wait, I know, enjoying life.

The summer started in June and, before we know it, here we find ourselves again, back at it and ready to welcome everyone anew.

Parents just got back from a short stint in Scandinavia and have sent over some beautiful images of their travels. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to see, and one day I’ll get there.

Also, I have some strange desire to see The Visit. Actually, I just heard it was only rated PG-13. Never mind. If I’m going to see a horror flick, I want it to be something worthwhile. But here’s the thing, and I’ve been over this with many of my friends, good horror movies, in my opinion, are tough to find. Why? Well, because I think there is just too much either gore or shocker-effects in commercialized horror films. It’s hard to find a horror film that really just scares the snot out of you without shocking you from behind a door or something. Anyway, there’s that.

Writing’s going well, and without getting into all the sneaky corners, I’ll just leave it at that and hope that it’s good enough that you’ll believe me.

The summer was terrific and I’m thankful for all the family and friends I was able to spend time with.

All’s well, folks. Happy September.

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Miss my family in HK


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It’s been too long. The last time Kerrie and I were in HK was in July of 2014. Yeah, a year ago, but still, it seems like yesterday. The trouble with being so close with people all over the world is that they’re all over the world. I wonder how big of a house I’d have to have to throw a house party with every single friend and family member I had.

Hmm.

Until Next Time


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That’s enough of Asia for one sitting, I think. It was China for three weeks, one week off, and then Japan for two weeks., yesterday at one a.m., we get back from a fortnight in Japan.

The one country in the world that I would certainly live in forever. Taiwan too; I could live in Taiwan. This time in Japan we travelled from Nagoya all the way down to Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kyushu. We took several students with us this time and finished off the last night with a Karaoke birthday party. Happy Birthday, Miguel.

Just got back on Friday at 1 a.m. Slept Friday. Work Monday.

<shakes head>

Good to relax. Until next time, Japan. I’ll miss you.

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Short Stint in China – 大吉大利


羊年快樂

羊年快樂

You have not heard from me in about three weeks, right? ‘Tis true; I’ve been away. “Where?” you ask. Soul, China, HK, and back to the U. S.

Here’s the rundown of my past three weeks.

Time: 21 days

Locations: Seven

Countries: Three

Seoul – Wish I could have seen more here. But, I’m glad I’ll get to do that with Kerrie. The truth is we were in the hotel (a nice one) and working for two days straight before we had a little bit of time outside and in country. But, what we did see was pretty cool. Here’s a little snippet of that night. The bar was the major attraction of the evening.

Dalian – The next day we went to Dalian, China. It’s in the North of China. One of my impressions of the city was that it covered a lot of area. There was a lot of space, and things were full of surprises. On one morning, I had to step outside the hotel and see what was going on outside. I took a stroll and found something like these. You’ll notice the Convention Center of Dalian (a huge silver building, lighted up at night) which covered a lot of space. Overall, a nice town with good seafood.

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Beijing – The Northern Capital is a place you have to see at least once, preferably outside the hotel. I was happy to meet up with an old friend of mine. Rui took us up an down 王府井 (Wang Fujing) road and I was able to procure and purchase a pair of swimming trunks in under a minute. We had a wonderful Hong-Kong style dinner and then just a few hours to chit chat. So good to see her. Oh, and I tried scorpion. Tasted like a potato chip.

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Shanghai – We were in a beautiful area of the city. It was called the Bund. A usual spot for the foreigner, yet sadly an area where many people were trampled during the New Year’s celebrations. That seems like a nice lead into my next sentence. Shanghai – overall a pretty cool place. There are lights, nights, Chinese vibes, and a shit ton of foreigners who like to act like they run the place. We were only there for a few days, but were able to go out for a night or two and enjoy.

Shenzhen – There is a marketplace right next to the Hong Kong boarder called the Hu Luo Center. It’s just a large hollowed out building with shops filled in it from the floor to the ceiling. Once you’re inside, there are people trying to sell you everything from hats and wallets to manicures and faux crocodile handbags. Everything. They got it all, and it’s for a price. I’m not too big on the haggling thing, so I’m probably not the best kind of person to patronize these places. What did I start off with? Strawberries. My companions went on to purchase a whole heck of a lot of other things, but at the time I wasn’t really into getting anything. What did I really need?

I wish I could have seen more of Shenzhen, but we just weren’t there long enough to see some other parts. But, you know what? What we saw is what we saw and I was happy with it. There was a great pool in the hotel and I took advantage of it each morning for a nice refreshing swim. That’s really my only impression of Shenzhen – all I really have to comment on. The area of town in which we were situated surely wasn’t the best representation of the city, which itself is vast and filled with all variations of things that relate to things outside of the very Western-Hotel environment I was in.

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Hong Kong – Simply stated, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I don’t say this merely because I have very close long-time family/friends there, but just because of the way the city works, and how it’s basically very different from much of the Mainland. It’s a beautiful bustling port city with all kinds of activity going on every day and every night. The city and the denizens thereof have long attempted to establish a culture and social design of their own, separate from that of China.

I had some time to get out and be a part of the city. We went out and had some lunch, toured a beautiful area of Hong Kong called Sai Kong (known by many as the last garden in Hong Kong). The drive was green, plush, and without the ubiquitous traffic jams that are normally a part of this region of the world. Barbecue grills lined areas of the street, dotting the foreground of the coastline that followed us. After we were done with that, the day was falling and coming to a close. Wai Wai and I headed back to New Town Plaza in Shatin and stopped by a music store. We lamented the fact HMV had sold out or been replaced with another sort of generic cd warehouse. Whatever. I was able to get a 3-cd set of Beyond. Love them!

Finished off the evening and the trip by spending time at the Chan house eating 上海麵 and hanging with my people.

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Chengdu – this was my first time and I was happy to be there. The town was dark and full of a certain mist that I had heard is omnipresent in the city. Historically, Chengdu falls in a particular part of Chinese culture. One claim to historical fame is in the fact that Chengdu has never once crumbled since Ancient China. That is to say that many ancient cities are no longer, but Chengdu is still there. I think I have that fact correct, but I may be wrong.

Hot Pot is supposedly a big issue in Chengdu as it’s a part of Sichuan (四川省) province. And, guess what. It was the one thing I didn’t try. I figure I can get Shabu Shabu in Japan when I leave on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure the food is great. Oh, also there’s this other thing that I thought was weird – rabbit head. They eat that shit. Yeah, they throw bunny heads into pots of boiling water and gnaw off the meat! Serious. The people were great. The city was really pretty, what I saw of it, that is. Other than that, there was one last thing I had to see and I made it happen – me and the Maoster.

And BOOM – that was it. It was over. In the blink of an eye it was like it never happened.

Whoa! What an experience.

Life, the Orient, and everything after – love this shit!

Absence


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Absence

by

L.P. Stribling

A departure beginning with an embrace,

A frigid evening, a driver,

The black back seat, my own silence,

My own space,

 

An airplane ride,

Commotion, all things foreign,

The hanging smiles bewilder me,

Crossing miles, I’ve crossed cultures,

 

Days occupied with meetings,

Shackled am I underneath the formalities,

Of these business layers,

And at night, each night, all I do is miss you,

 

“It’s only three weeks,” they say,

“You can do that in your sleep.”

My head nods, my heart hangs,

Transcontinental flights, 13 hours away.

 

I’d go longer to see you.

Does my return begin the same way?