Inside the Room

I have a giant calendar with the map of Japan, but it fell off the wall some days ago. I tried to put it back in place, but it kept falling again and again, so I’ve let it drift around the room. It doesn’t look graceful at all. It lingers on top of boxes and suitcases like a stiff lady who refuses to lie on her chaise longue. Behind it, my guitar has fainted against the bookshelf. I look at it and wonder if I’ll ever play it again. The thought of my nasty neighbor listening to me is enough to make me desist. I miss singing, though. I remember all those afternoons after school when I’d play for hours on end. I used to write songs. We performed some of them live once.

I have a lot of new books from Maruzen, but as long as I’m not done with Tsukiji I will feel guilty for entering the fascinating world of Ha Jin or getting lost in Asimov’s futuristic imperial universe instead of clapping at this American anthropologist who had to stop taking his Japanese students on field trips because they understood fish merchants’ language less than he did. It took a soothing explanation from another anthropologist (thanks, Gianrico) for me to retake the book… less than a week before my presentation. It doesn’t matter, though. I hate doing stuff I’m not interested in.

I miss reading just as I miss playing music. Just as I miss writing—but I’m writing right now. However, this story is nothing but my story, that boring tale about a girl who has finally begun to hear the words in her head again after maybe years of silence. One day, this story will become one about somebody else, and the setting will not be the dying grayness of this abandoned yet inhabited forest—or maybe it will be so, with a different name and a different way to fight the coldness which refuses to leave the room despite the poor efforts made by that old coughing heating device. I’m starting to believe the machine is allied with the weather to spite me. Maybe the neighbor has summoned evil spirits to make this winter ever so bitter inside this room, only inside this room.

The suffering —and the rambling— should not go on forever. I must go out and face the wind, if only for a little while.

Me, Myself and I

I waste time at the computer because I’m scared of the enormous rocky slope that I’m supposed to climb if I am to get any better at anything. I suddenly remembered Chee Siang at Mount Annupuri and how windy and foggy it was there. I eat like crazy because I have lost all sense of distinction as to what is nutritious and what is merely soothing. I have an acoustic version of a Franz Ferdinand song after which one can hear Alex Kapranos’s sexy voice saluting over the beginning of another song which is abruptly cut. I just found out the stray beginning belongs to Bloc Party’s Pioneers, and that it was on my playlist since who knows when. I wish I could write more and worry less. I want to travel again. I don’t want fancy plates and glasses on my future dining table, or at least I cannot afford them if I want to carry out my adventurous travel plans for the near future. I read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and it was like a revelation. I might never become fluent at German because I cannot make any sense out of what they are trying to teach me in class. I don’t want my life to be fixed by diplomats’ wives. I inexplicably ran out of money, but I suspect a friend’s impending debt might be behind this sudden shortage. I miss Friday lunch with my German teacher and the nice Ecuadorian guy who happens to be a teacher too, just not in my faculty. I should read that Murakami book that’s lying on the floor and promptly return it to its owner, except that if I did then we’d run out of excuses to say hello. I want to go home. I heard the room phone ringing at midnight last night, but I did not care to answer it because no one is supposed to know my room’s extension number, and those who know it are not supposed to call at such ungodly hours. I burn incense, stick after stick, craving for exotic scents like someone would crave for nicotine. I listen to Franz Ferdinand incessantly: it makes days sunnier, nights calmer, and bicycle rides more enjoyable. I want loads of sushi. I hate the author of Tsukiji and his “I am American but I speak better Japanese than the Emperor” attitude. I have cold feet. I have a heater that doesn’t work. I should sleep now.

Fast Forward

If only it were July.

We would slouch on our favorite sofa, grab a few magazines and let the afternoon go by in silence. Watch the stream of time trickle away, together. Can’t we skip this half-year? I could definitely do without six months of reruns. It’s the same day every day—no change in seclusion, save for the bowing sun staring longer at me, peering through a curtain of bare branches.

Munich and Lhasa can wait for the triumphant arrival of our fastened hands, can’t it? So much time is wasted in waiting! Let’s cut this long, boring film and show the interesting bits only. Two months out of twelve. How about those fifteen days too? Fog and food and frozen friends. Too bad you weren’t there, I’ll take you someday—someday, nothing but the distant future. We’re stuck in a prologue, page after page it’s a thrilling promise, but when will the real story begin?

If only it were July.

Beijing, January 1st, 2008

I looked into the eyes of beauty, and my own eyes could not take it. I found myself surrounded by the chanting voices of the past, of true happiness; such a simple yet precious couple of seconds becoming engraved in my fondest memories. Thus, my cold, sick head melted like candlewax, and a silver pool of warm tears covered the ground where I once stood.