Thankfully, it doesn’t snow much in Tokyo. It’s snowed a grand total of three times since I moved here some two and a half years ago. And yesterday’s snowfall was the biggest. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson when it started snowing. My students stopped listening to me and promptly rushed to the windowpanes to stare at those magical specks of white falling from the sky. The next thing I knew, some of them had opened the windows and stuck their hand out. They were collecting snowflakes and studying them. I’d done the same at their age – but how quickly the novelty had faded for me.
I open my eyes each morning and I just don’t want to go on anymore. Everything feels like an enormous effort. A voice inside me gently whispers, “Not much longer now. You can do this.” I haul my tired soul out of bed and stand under the hot shower. There is cleansing quality to the experience. I close my eyes and let the water wash over me. When I’m done, I crawl back into bed. Terrible. I know. I delay the moment when I must go out and face the world. I delay it till I can delay it no longer. I reluctantly make a cup of coffee and eat my breakfast. In truth, I have no appetite – but if I don’t eat, my body won’t function. I have a physically active job and I can’t afford to leave home on an empty stomach.
In my heart of hearts, I believe that our Singaporean national identity is one of multiculturalism – one that is embracive and strengthened by its ability to adapt. As a culture, we cannot afford to build great walls because our economy is intertwined with the world economy. Singapore was founded on the premise of international trade. Even till today, we have one of the busiest ports in the world.
Saturn is the school principal of the cosmos. Very few people like a trip to school principal’s office. I didn’t when I was in high school and I liked it even less as I ushered in the big 30.
I was honestly astonished at how delicious, delectable and authentic the whole experience was. If it wasn’t for the strange decor and the hefty price tag, I would have felt like I was back in Singapore. And BTW – the super hot is actually super hot… Truth be told, it was a little too hot for my palate. I should have prudently chosen a less spicy soup – but hey.
There was a time when the thought of someone taking their own life shocked me to my very core. But these days I feel nothing.
Navigating the complexity of the Senpai Kohai relationship is one of the stepping stones of working in Japan. Senpai = senior. Kohai = junior. In theory, this is a two-way street that has its roots in Confucianism. The elders pass on their knowledge and experience to the younger ones. Seems fair, doesn’t it? Those with more experience and knowledge lead the way for those with less experience and knowledge. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that these things are often determined by age and rank – not by ability, intelligence and capability.