Angel with a Destructive Personality

The circular grab handles on the Kyoto rail are made of glazed, lemon-yellow plastic; they hang from thick, sturdy fabric straps of the same color. I watch them sway back and forth with the movement of the train, like burnished, distracted leaves caught in the gentle stirring of an incoming storm. Next to me, Strawberry […]

The House of Being

What’s most striking about the campus is that its buildings are tremendously, fascinatingly ugly. My new favorite activity is walking along the main promenade, red backpack in tow, and taking it all in, leisurely, comfortably, like I’m wandering through a museum of the grotesque. Muted black steeples and clouded cement blocks densely veined with moisture […]

No and Yes

On my way to the train station, I drag an olive green duffel bag through the red light district of Kabukicho. I haven’t slept in nearly three days, and the street scene moves past me at a speed both fast and slow. Today, memories of that morning come to me in chunks. The light of […]

Big Cat

Strawberries are transitioning out of the supermarket displays, being replaced by watermelon, the more summertime-appropriate fruit. It’s June; plump clouds crowd the sky, butterflies fly in and out of glassy curtains of rain. Half of this year has already disappeared into the mirage. I will be leaving my current job in two months, and going […]

Low Tide

In the middle of the day, carried away by a wave of drowsiness, Strawberry falls asleep wearing his sweatpants and white undershirt. There’s a pillow arranged around his face to shield his eyes from the sunlight splashing over his chest. It’s difficult to describe what happens when I glance over at his sleeping form. Let’s […]

Nikujaga, or Aphrodite

I write when I’m pain mostly because writing is what cools the pain. It does not cure nor resolve it, but it does cool it; it brings its temperature down into the world of the bearable. But the unintentional result of writing-as-healing, repeated over the course of years, is that the posts on this blog […]

A Bouquet of Spoiled Fruit

At the discount supermarket beside the station, a mounted television screen plays the video of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic on repeat. A shopping basket made of peach-colored plastic looped around my elbow, I pause to contemplate the image for a moment. A 90’s Mariah in red velvet plays in snow while I watch her almost twenty years […]

The Surrender

Walking home at night, alone in a suburban neighborhood, I am seized by something that could be a fugue state, clinical depression, or Byronic infatuation with a mood of dark, plummy blue. Potentially, probably, a simultaneous blending of all three. It’s barely past six in the afternoon, but the sun set hours ago; the cul-de-sacs parting from […]

Felix Culpa

Strawberry comments that Japanese chashu ramen tastes like a pig sty, and immediately I understand what he means: there’s something delectable, but undeniably disgusting, about the braised, slimy pork belly suspended alongside billows of flavored oil and shoestring noodles, in a slow-boiled broth that is fatty, sticky, and as richly gold as saturated urine. I am nonetheless glad he makes […]

Life, defamiliarized

In the east, the apartment buildings rise into the evening. The multi-colored lights in their rooms blink slowly on and off like approaching airplanes. Against the intensely black horizon, their size reminds me of the gods from the Cthulhu mythos, but more benign somehow, quasi-angelic: a reversal of the fall of Lucifer. Clusters of trees between […]