Tokyo diaries: Before starting the day

We found ourselves at Ellie’s cafe while suddenly wanting a hot cup of coffee before exploring Ryogoku. The coffeeshop looked like a storybook picture from Hans Christian Andersen tales located in an inside lane. It was silent all around and the effect enhanced the cafe’s fairytale quality. The owner was a beautiful plump woman with…

Tokyo diaries: Sometimes…

Sometimes I read this particular entry in my diary. It talks about an article in Asahi Shimbun about Manga creator Rosewell Hosoki who created the series, ‘Sake no Hosomochi’ about the office worker Sotatsu Iwama.  The series is about casual after work drinking sessions…that cozy hubbub feel one can only get in cafes and pubs…

Disrobing awkwardness in a coffeeshop

I closed the book ‘The Nakano Thrift Shop.’ Did I know anyone resembling Takeo in my life? Meanwhile the barista served a plate of ensaymadas garnished with fluffy cheese to the bespectacled Filipino man dressed in white formals sitting next to me on the community table.  I looked at my plate of ensaymada with one…

Japan diaries: Moments I remember the most…

What makes a journey so special? It is moments you expect to experience and which you do, and on other realm is moments which just take you by surprise and form a deep impression giving a layered texture to the whole trip. Doesn’t it happen during all travels and isn’t it the inevitable promise of…

Japan Diaries: Kyoto highlights

“I simply want to saunter the streets of Kyoto,” I kept on saying this like a mantra to Man of Aquarius till he gave up on suggesting anything which even minutely sounded like a concrete travel itinerary. However, the best laid unplanned plans can sometimes turn unknowingly into proper plans. We had only scheduled a…

Japan diaries: Stroll at Osaka castle

One of the reasons for choosing Osaka to visit for holidays was Tracy Slater’s book, ‘The Good Shufu’ which revolves around her expat life with her Japanese husband in Osaka and her eventual quest to become a mom. Her description of Osaka was simple and yet mesmerizing enough that I decided to come here. In…

Japan diaries: The spell of convenience stores

The first moment of my tryst with Japanese convenience stores began at Osaka’s Itame airport. I was famished and stepped into FamilyMart. Man of Aquarius was afraid that we would miss the bus that we were waiting for. I paid no heed and walked in. I was instantly smitten. I kept on asking for Onigiri….

Japan diaries: Magical Narita

It all felt like such a blur, it still does. The long immigration queue with group of college girls from Vietnam ahead of me, running to collect baggage from the carousel fearing I was terribly late, Man of Aquarius standing for me with his face hidden behind a board displaying my name as a joke,…

Japan diaries: A novel experience

I do not know why, but sometimes as it happens when engrossed in a book and this particular time while reading a Japanese classic novel I had developed a distinct image of a woman in a long robe with long hair touching ankles which was typical of women in Heian period. At times my imagination…

Postcards to myself

I unexpectedly discovered a fellow postcard writer in the pages of the book, ‘Without Reservations’ by Alice Steinbach. Alice begins her one year sabbatical in Paris, following the foot-steps of her ideal Janet Flanner (former New Yorker correspondent for Paris). She writes postcards to herself from Paris and other places that she visits during the…

Bills

I like to collect bills from places that I travel to and trips which I take. It is not a habit, because it emerges out of a part of me which likes to collect things holding eclectic memories and is a conscious action. Also, sometimes a kind of fear grips me that I would lose…

Hiking memories

‘I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, ‘Yeah, I’ve shit in the woods.’ This is the sentence that I read and have read out aloud many a times in a theatrical manner…