My homeland has been on my mind recently, so this seemed apposite:

By the cold lamp of an inn, alone and sleepless,
Why does this traveler’s heart feel sad?
Tonight my native land beckons me from a thousand miles away;
Tomorrow my frosty temples will start to age another year.

Tzu-Chen Kung


England Visit

Unbelievable as it may seem, I wrote this on a visit to England in what must have been late 2006 I think. I was on my way from Japan to Canada, and England seemed like such a contrast to me after the interminable, compressed Japanese summer. The picture below is one that I took during this visit I think. It’s appropriate for me to publish this now as I’m currently in England again, this time visiting friends and family.

the English transit system
my grandmother’s
tiny frame
and incurable lateness,
the cities like mouths
crammed with roundabout teeth
the invisible distance of mountains
the visible proximity of family
and those friends who never grow up,
the dancefloors that never change
are never cleaned
and tiny packages of pre-made food,
the rolling boredom of country life,
how we plunge in perfect silence
across the etymology of villages
the old stores are swept up like leaves
and the pavements are polished and picked clean,
for the first time,
there is something like home in this place,
in the bubbling rush of streaming fields.

Words from my travels

with slight elements of fiction added by the dancing mouse.

C is attempting to create a song at 40bpm…

M: This isn’t 40bpm, you’re hearing it at double speed. It’s 80. 40 is way too slow. 

C: There is nothing wrong with 40!

M: Nothing wrong except that’s where listeners start to shut their ears or risk falling into a coma.

C: [happily inserts another slow synth whale sound]

M: I would come to see you perform just for the expressions…even if you do make old people music.

C: I bring the old people out on the dance floor!

Totally in context talking about flying fish…

M: I can see you using that for an excuse on arriving late at a party: I was talking to a flying fish on the bus and it flew off with my purse.


The 5 year old’s take on evolution

Alice: Humans are not animals. We are not monkeys [gestures at her arm lacking in fur] and we are not flamingos [gestures her arm upward in a wild, birdish motion to demonstrate a lack of wings].

M: She’s right. Humans are definitely not flamingos.

C: It is a persuasive argument…

Alice: And what is a monkey? It is not a human and it is not an elephant. Everyone each has to eat every kind of food [takes a conclusive bite of her broccoli].


She always wants to win at everything…

Alice: Whoever is closest to the cucumber is the winner and I am holding the cucumber so I win.

C demonstrates the principle of false syllogism

C: My only romantic skill is to be very nice to people.

M: That’s an oblique way of going about things for most people.

C: [blinks] What does oblique mean?

M: At an odd angle. That’s like trying to buy an umbrella by going to the golf course in the rain. Sure there will be people with umbrellas …

C: So where should I buy my umbrella?

M: At MEC.

C: Okay. I’ll go meet people at MEC.


It’s really a sort of grey not ugly green!

Alice: I spy with my little eye something that is purple and white and ugly green.

M: Ugly green?! … My shirt?

Alice: Daddy got it right!


Speculating that the cartoon character’s first aid kit can heal everyone because it contains ‘liquid love’. For some reasons the characters sneak into a walrus colony disguised as a walrus, with the little penguin character at the back.

C: What is my bag of liquid love doing doing in the walrus colony?

M: The lady walruses took it for themselves. ‘Look!’ they said, ‘here’s a pamphlet.’ …

I hope the walruses don’t drink the liquid love first. Otherwise that attempt might go very badly for the penguin.