Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.
— Omar N. Bradley


Just wanted to share this quote.


One last goodbye

I just had a lovely moment. Our eyes met. I blushed and looked down. This happened many times while he was talking to his friends sitting across from him on the train. I wondered at that time what kind of connection they might possibly have.

We were going in the same direction on the train. Would he get off at the same station? Who was this person? Half-asleep, my brain was a tangle of questions and possible answers.

The train slowly pulled up to the platform, and the station’s name was announced. He picked up his bags and the doors opened. I saw him wave to me as he exited the train. With a smile he mouthed a good-bye. From the windows I saw him stretch his hand out for one last wave. I copied his gesture and with a tired grin I also said good-bye.

This is one of the reasons I like to stay awake on the train even after a tiring day of work. Someone can touch your heart when you least expect it.

In that moment no one wanted to use me to practice their English. There were no words or exchange of conversation, but the intense feeling of curiosity and the happiness in the stolen glances.

I felt in love in that moment. I fell in love with that moment.

He wrote a poem

photo-179In my last post, I talked about my first encounter with the artist, Mitsushita. Each time we met up until now has been conversations over two hours, the kinds of talks where you happen to glance at a watch and you jump out of your seat, surprised at how fast the time had gone by.

In the beginning, because I am a cheapskate, I had no intention of buying his art. After speaking to him however, I decided that I wanted a piece of this fantastic person.

He drew me —blue wig and all— but he also wrote me a poem. It was not what I had expected, and I was beaming.. As I read, I knew that during our marathon talks he had been listening with ears as well as heart. It was an amazing feeling to be heard.

I will write the Japanese and try my best to translate it into English.

You cried a lot coming here didn’t you.
You did your best and held in your tears.
These words I will write are to the kind one that lets her tears fall.
If you are scared, I want to change your fear into smile.
I want to change your tears of sadness into ones of joy.
Because your smile is the most beautiful. I will love all of your faults.
Your smile is my smile. I will always believe this.

The Train Stories: His Foggy Eyes


We are attached to false feelings of belonging. We become addicted and we forget what it truly means to touch another persons life. The man sitting beside me clearly has the wrong idea.

(One year ago)

I can’t remember why the man sitting next to me had the wrong idea, but I keep getting reminded of how easy it is to become infatuated. When reality comes knocking, you feel ashamed of how blinded you had been and wish you could have been more in charge of your feelings. Cloud-9 really knows how to fog up a persons view. So whatever the man sitting next to me was doing, it’s okay because we are all human. From recent experiences, I now know how easy it is for the path to become blurred.

Kind people in my corner of the world


After a little sketch at my favorite organic restaurant, I feel a little more awake. With all of the terrible news that has been going around in the world, it is nice to know that great people are out there. I am more pleased that some of them happen to live in my area. On my way home from class, I went to go buy Imagawayaki from a shop that I have passed since I was thirteen years old. Though I have known of him for years, I have only started talking to the owner recently. A mistake in my schedule a couple of months back gave me the free time and a chance to break the ice with the nice man. Today, we talked about his feelings on learning a new language and the people that pass his stand. He had such an excited look in his eyes when he was speaking that I could not help but smile along with him. I started to get hungry so before I left I asked to buy one Imagawayaki. They would not take the money and insisted that I just have it because I helped them out with the English on their sign for customers. If any of you happen to be in Kansai, I would highly recommend the cute little street shop in Nara.

I got on the train to Ikoma and I was about to head to my favorite restaurant in the area when Sumi stopped me to say hello. The young train man who stands near the ticket wickets never fails to greet people who leave the station. He noticed that my voice was husker than usual and he ran to get me throat medicine. He didn’t think twice about it and came back with some strawberry-flavored Nodoame(のど飴) for me.

It is true that when a kindness is done to you it makes you want to return the favor somehow.

After finishing my food and a quick sketch, I think about how lucky I am to live in my conner of the world with my pencils, paper, and all of the lovely people in my neighborhood.

My Indian Friend, The Salary Man, and Mr. Lebanon

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I set off for Tokyo to get on the plane at Narita the morning after my sisters exhibition. I decided to make the trip by Seishun which is a cheap ticket only available three times during the year.  The ticket is cheap, but it can take a long time (An estimated 10 hours all the way to Tokyo).

I got a funny feeling when I started to pack. I was so busy in the days prior to leaving, so I didn’t have too much time to think about what I was going to do. Coming back from my last trip to Singapore, I was high on excitement. I wanted to travel more and somehow make it possible to do it often. Now after a year of working and going through the motions, my actions became very stiff and uniform. I was sad at the thought of this years trip not being as impacting as last year’s.

I started walking down the hill at five in the morning along with other neighbors who were running down the hill to be on time for work.

The whole ten hours on the trains were a blur. I was exhausted throughout the whole 7 transfers. The most interesting part about the journey was having a head-shaking contest with a baby that was sitting next to me at one point.

Tokyo is apparently 475 kilometers from where I live. It is not terribly far, but they seem like different worlds to me. The feeling of the city and people are different compared to the ones in Kansai. Couples seem more affectionate in Tokyo, and would kiss, hold hands, and hug in public where I have not seen that much in here. It was nice to see so much love in the cold air.

My friend offered to let me stay at his apartment for one night. The only catch was that he would not come home until late. In Japan we call the people with corporate jobs “Salary Men”. The people in Japan work like dogs and my friend was no exception. He works from 8:00 in the morning and gets home at 12:00 at night. Even when he gets home he works until 3:00 doing other research for the company.

Until I met him, a friend from Lebanon took me around the town. He knows me well, and brought me to an awesome Starbucks and ordered me something with extra cream.

I finally met my Salary man friend when the clock struck midnight. Suit and briefcase in all, he looked different from the university student I had known him as.

He helped me get ready for the following morning. I managed three hours of sleep and I was off the following morning to catch a plane at Narita airport.

I planned to meet the Indian friend at the airport at 8:00 AM. I came ten minutes early and he came ten minutes late.

He would be my travel buddy along with two others for the next couple of weeks. What would this trip bring? Only time would tell.

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That one fire burning


Images pass by your eyes

It all seems like a dream

Fleeting hopes ad wishes

Till you fall asleep

Searching for meaning

And the gleaming light of day

With that one fire burning

To make all the fear go away

I see the ray of hope

That is peeking from your eyes

The one who doesn’t front

Who won’t believe the lies

The relationships you hold

Must be held and kept

Save the love and live

Please learn not to fret.