Hakka No Togame

 

My blog name may sound strange in English. The reason is it comes from Japanese. It has a special significance to me which involves an ex girlfriend, travel across the world and around one hundred and thirty hours of TV.

The Japanese Kanji for hakka no togame is 白霞罸.

The first two characters together represent the name Hakka (romaji) / はっか (hiragana). When two consonents  are written together in romaji to pronounce it pause slightly before the consonent and pronounce it sharply and clearly. Kind of like Ha-Ka rather than Haka.

Names in Japanese have underlying meaning, in the case of Hakka 白霞  – the meaning is 白 – white and 霞 -haze.

The third character 罸 means punishment, penalty, censure.

Therefore hakka no togame / 白霞罸 can be translated to something like ‘white haze punishment’.

Why on earth would I call my blog white haze punishment? We have to go back around ten years to answer that.

I moved to London when I was around 28. After moving to London I had what I would call my first real grown up relationship (girlfriend).

My girlfriend was called Corrine and was from Singapore.

We used to love going to cafe japan in north london to eat delicious Japanese food.

When we were relaxing at her apartment one night she put on an anime movie. The movie was one of the ‘Bleach’ films.

Bleach is a super popular long running anime which is now finished.

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Friends or Not

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is it only me that
friends leave like seasonal leaves,
falling out of reach.


At university I loved the TV show ‘Friends’. At the time I had three close friends; Ruxi, Clive and Serene. We used to watch the box sets as a relief from studies and exams.

In those days I felt my friends were like ‘Friends’ friends. Afterwards I realised that such a close group of friends is rare. I also realised quite quickly that normal people don’t have such beautiful apartments. Life’s real story arcs don’t always end in smiles and laughs.

I left uni a year before Ruxi and Clive. I started work in a stressful graduate job. It changed me. When I went back to my uni town for visits I couldn’t connect well with my ‘still studying’ friends.

They would never know this, but one of the ways I got through the hard days and nights of my first job was by keeping pictures of my uni friends on my desk wall.

It was a shock when they suddenly stopped talking or replying to me. Some years later I discovered Clive and Serene got married; they hadn’t even told me. I still to this day feel hurt about this. I feel like a group of people that I felt at home with rejected me.

One of the biggest challenges in life is to retain trust in people. It’s required for close relationships and is especially hard to keep if people have bullied you or cut you out of their life.

And emotional damage through life is cumulative.

Let’s be honest. I am not the best friend. I get caught up in my own world. And when I lose common ground with people I tend to just stop contacting them (so I do the same thing).

Something I have read in pyschology is that we repeat patterns in life. Somehow I seem to drift in and out of friendships. Easily making new friends, but then losing them.

I’ve never had a best friend – is it a common thing or just a myth from media and stories? I don’t feel like it is something I miss. The only problem I may have is that I don’t think I have ever been 100% honest about all my thoughts and feelings with anyone.

I would never ‘lie’ to someone in a relationship, but I also wouldn’t be 100% honest either. It’s important to filter the thoughts of the human mind.

As biological beings our perfection is in our unique imperfect nature. A big part of this is that our thoughts are not always automatically right, good or kind. Sometimes we will be annoyed by anothers values, behaviours or actions. I accept this about myself. But I try to consciously use my power of thought to follow buddhist behaviours such as right action, right thought and right speech.

The other strange thing about me is I don’t have really any close male friends and I haven’t had for a long time. My only male friends are some old school friends I see very occasionaly from a long time ago.

Recently I have had some close friends that have gone through life changes and I no longer hear from them on a day to day basis. It’s not right or wrong, but I find myself in one of the periods of little or no contact with people.

It has been a strange year for me. One anecdote – I met a foreign girl studying in London. After she went home she asked me to marry her on a chat app and to move abroad to live with her. I considered moving to spend more time to get to know her better, but when I couldn’t due to financial / work constraints she went straight to not talking to me at all.

I think with friends and relationships we sometimes get caught up in our own interpretation of events and in taking everything personally. I suspect that in reality many of us go through similar things. Some better, some worse.

Or is it just me?

(the picture is from regent park in london last weekend.)

Flavour of a Kiss – Writing201 ‘Flavour’ Poem

Never much liked to kiss, but I found something in the taste of your lips,
delicate and sweet and light,
and yet full of your depth,

Now you are gone, how can I go on?, I can’t even describe my feelings,
fleeting and elusive and subtle,
and beyond words and yet deeply real,

Dream like memories, reality had overwhelmed all my sense,
Days and months and years pass, alone
Now I find I yearn for your kiss


I wrote this poem for day 8 of bloggingU writing201 poetry course. the prompt word was flavour; I decided to stretch away from food towards the taste of a kiss. In reality I guess a kiss doesn’t have a tangible taste exactly, but it carries so much depth of sensation it’s like it does. But personally I found an enjoyable kiss to be a rare and special thing.

The format was elegy, which use elegiac couplets. I actually tried to stick to these but I’m not very good at picking apart stressed vs. unstressed syllables so I doubt I got it write.

The device was enumeration using and / or etc. conjunctions to create lists, which I have tried to do in the shorter pentameter verses.

Picture was taken at a street market in soho london last year.

A Portrait By Love & Sadness – Writing 201 ‘Found Poem’

A story of time,
As seasons pass,
Of dream-like
Love;
A teacher of heartbreak, which breaks hearts, and
Sadness;
Distance from intimacy and intimacy with distance,
With subtlety time paints,
Portraits,

 


I wrote this for wordpress bloggingU writing 201 poetry course day 6. The challenge today was to write a poem based on the prompt word ‘face’, using ‘found poetry’ and including ‘chiasmus’

I decided to use the back cover of a book I am reading right now; strange weather in tokyo, by hiromi kawakami, translated by allison markin powell.

The book itself is beautifully written and reads like poetry to me so far.

It was quite challenging using a restricted set of words. I decided to go with the theme of our portraits showing our experiences in life; think laughter lines, worry lines etc. And I included the idea of love and sadness which I think affect how we look.

The chiasmus were fun to think about, I am not sure how well they work. The first one heartbreak and breaks hearts. The idea being that if we are hurt and have our heart broken we may find it harder to love in future and hence cause heart break in return; not sure if the prose is strong enough to get this across. The distance / intimicy one, I simply fell into having wanted to balance having one for love with one for sadness.

Edit: after the original posting I had to remove ‘by, how and our’ which weren’t on the back cover; i only noticed when adding the second picture.

An Acrostic Christmas (writing 201 day 2)

Poem 1 – christmas:

christmas tree, standing free
oh so bright twinkling like starlight
sitting underneath with wrapping so neat
your gift and my gift, waiting patiently

 

Poem 2 – the gift of kindness & love:

kindness, in all it’s forms
never stands alone
open your heart
wide like the tide
the secret to life
happy healthy and long
your self beliefs
so be kind inside
experience again your inner child
loving yourself first
friends and family come next

The picture was also taken last year at XMAS in Holborn, London – it’s the courtyard of one of the lovely hotels.

 

Feelings of love lost

Last night I had a dream about a girl I loved. Let’s call her L.

I don’t remember the details of the dream, only that I saw her; and we were together, at least for a short spell.

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When I woke up I could feel the emotions in my chest and stomach. The strongest feelings go much further than the brain.

When I think of her, I feel happiness, joy and love.

But I also feel pain and anxiety when I realise I don’t know her anymore.

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I don’t know how, but I can feel all of those things at once. My heart feels joyful, but painful at the same time.

I never really connected to romantic stories or poems. They never seemed real. But now I understand something of what the authors may have been feeling.

The shape of her mouth. Her delicate chin. Her eyes staring at me. The time she cried when I wrote her a love letter. The different times we were together.

When I remember any of those moments I feel pressure in my throat and my eyes start to water.

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When we met to break up she already had picked out a specific park bench to sit on. Even the last moments are sweet.

Even though there it is pain and sadness I am so grateful for it. It is in that pain and sadness that I can find the beauty of the experience I had. She is one of my most precious memories. Thank you L for sharing a small part of your life with me.

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When we first met, we went out a few times. I was shy. I remember telling her I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to date her. She told me to come closer. She surprised me with a kiss.

We broke up because I was overworked and stressed and I wasn’t very mature at the time. It’s not just finding the right person, but also the right time.

I don’t know; but I hope she is very happy. I think she met someone else. I hope he takes good care of her.

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I hope too that I will experience love again.

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