Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tokyo Memories

Yours truly and Albert Matano, picture was in the ASIJ yearbook in 1968.  I still remember being taken out of class to have this picture made, on a cold, cold day.
My mom found a copy of this poem amongst her "stuff" today.  She asked me if I wrote it; I'm pretty sure I didn't.  But I can certainly add to it.

1966-1969 TOKYO WAS

A flower vase in a taxi with a swinging door
The unannounced splatter of a bucket at any time in front of a shop
A lightly pressed palm suppressing a self-conscious giggle
A soba horn on a deserted, sleeping street
A Chrysler Imperial with lace curtains and a feather duster
A yukata with a cake of soap and a blue plastic basin
Yakitori on a stool and yakiimo on a cold street
A cyclist with a stack of soup bowls on a tray
A black umbrella holding hands with a little red one, running across the street
A hot towel before a meal
The clomp of clogs on the pavement at night
A Frank Lloyd Wright hotel
Gold fish on a cart - or in a plastic bag
Drains in the bathroom floor
A rice paddy with a three-wheeled truck
A policeman with a dim candle lantern
A gauze mask
A mouth full of teeth and one of them gold
A lunch box at Kabuki, and an invisible stagehand in black
A souvenir shop at a shrine
Six lanes of cars at a stoplight on a two land road, requiring daring at intersections, sometimes with results ... rear view mirrors on the front fenders ... reminding yourself, "Keep to the left, gaijin"
A yellow flag to cross the street
A panel truck that reads, "Dry Cleaning and Linen Suppry"
A farewell at the airport with banners
Five tangerines in a mesh bag
A carousel in a department store rooftop
Swan Lake with bowlegs
A thoroughfare that becomes a canyon of repair at night
A tea ceremony at the Silk Gallery

We flew BOAC a lot .. 
My additions:

The smell of Oriental Bazaar ... rice paper and lacquer
Irises at the Meiji Shrine
The cream on the top of the bottle of milk in the cafeteria at ASIJ
The lights of the Ginza
Wasabi, osimbe, dried squid
The chocolate ice cream at the Tokyo American Club (okay, not Japanese, but ...)
A giant water tower in our back yard
Japanese baseball players across the street, who gave me rides on their motorcycles.
Riding a bicycle, alone and unafraid (at age 7!), in Nishihara-cho, down to the machi
Yamamoto-san, Saiko-san
The smell of diesel exhaust
Long bus rides from school, falling asleep
The Imperial Palace, and the huge carp in the moat
Wizened old men in yukatas; eyes having seen who knows what
Student demonstrations that created huge traffic jams
A urinal in the bathroom
A lady at the bottom of the escalator at Takashimaya, holding a cloth to clean the hand rail
The slides of pearl divers in a hotel gift shop (with naked breasts!)
A small store selling candy and plastic toys
A baby strapped to its mother's back
Skiing in Nikko and KEEP ...
Giant Buddha at Kamakura
Blonde curly hair in a sea of black.


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