Limbo

I realise I have not written in a while, neither blogging or fiction, but my little pink book has been collecting the never ending scribbles of a mind/life which feels currently trapped in limbo. Circumstances currently are limiting my freedom and although this is just a temporary situation, which I have no objection too, I still feel a little lost in life until everything gets back to ‘normal’ … ish …

So me and my little pink book make plans together, we analyse, we criticize, we  sympathize and we look ahead, for looking behind was starting to destroy my peace of mind and looking ahead forms a clear path beyond the chaos.

I’ve enrolled in a writing class, Word Salad, which I am absolutely looking forward too, that inspiration to write on a regular basis and develop my rusty skills, have fun, create beauty with words, or vile horror… I wonder where this new adventure will lead?

But can I juggle words with language? For I am a fool to myself (and my bank balance) all common sense must have fled my mind, as I have also enrolled, again, with Leicester University to learn Japanese!  These two courses I am looking forward to working through along side each other, one may influence or distract from the other or they may compliment each other…

I have been bold, I have reached out for something to direct me after I escape this limbo. This, and a recent (see this morning) insult, have actually added inspiration to push myself further, to reach beyond this current stillness, to actually question each fragment of my life and see a challenge instead of a stumbling block.

You know, I actually don’t want to be a famous writer, I don’t want to be an expert in any field, I have pretended, I have attempted to lead, to guide and advise… But in recent years I have cast off my old self and the fake ego which I have used as a mask to hide my depression. A frail soul disguised as something I was not.

I am happier without this ego, happier to begin again, to start from scratch and learn all new shiny adventures along my way. Life is more peaceful without the need for false faces and insults, instead of hurting, have spurred me forth instead.

Limbo will lift, in time, I know I have a ‘to do’ list longer than my life span, but at least this way, there will never be a dull moment…

 

Anne Harrison 13.09.16

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A Tempory Closure

This will be my last Blog about Japan, even though my desire to continue in fine detail still remains, along with my lingering desire to return to Tokyo. I need to reestablish the purpose of this Blog, which was to explore my journey through Creative Writing. The adventure in Japan has been an emotional rollercoaster, it has inspired my words, my thoughts, tastes, passions and ambition. But I can not remain lingering over 10 days of my life, I have been back in the UK a month now and in a few short weeks my next trip launches me into another world to explore. This too will be explored through my words and humble photos, but not yet…

In February I rather foolishly enrolled myself on, yet another, creative writing course. This one through correspondence work. It is May and so far I have failed to write a word, so engaged I have been in my travels. So my sweet readers, this must be my last Japan post.

I have never fallen in love with a place so utterly in my life and can think of only two exceptions… Where I live currently and Aberglaslyn Hall in Snowdonia.

Japan is unlike anywhere I have ever visited, yet at the same time, places reminded me of London, Birmingham, Nottingham… Alike, yet never the same! History and culture are both firmly affixed within a society which embraces technology as eagerly as a teenager with a selfie stick. The nation has pride, respect and honour. As well as superstition, religion and ritual.

I have many personal highlights… Witnessing a Geisha in Kyoto … The astonishing costumes and make up of musicians handing out flyers and free CD’s outside the hotel in Tokyo … Godzilla looming above buildings … Anime Japan … Ghibili Museum … Sinking into a Onsen by myself … Trying (but not always liking) new foods … The Trains … Walking until my feet hurt then walking some more … Cherry Blossoms … The city skyline … and so much more …

Sights and smells which will linger with me always! That is until my next return. I ache to go back to Tokyo, but I have to remind myself that I am exceptionally lucky to live where I live, to be able to do as much as I do. For that I am always grateful and thankful for each new day. I am fortunate to have travelled so far, alone, explored so widely, with new friends and having the freedom to express myself here. It is nice to have my invisible audience to keep me company… I know I have gone off topic, but it is all writing at the end of the day.

 

Thank you for letting me share all of this with you …

 

Anne Harrison 02.05.16

The First Casualty of War is Innocence

The first casualty of war is innocence. 

A tag line which has always stuck in my mind from the 1986 Oliver Stone film Platoon… I’ve been wanting to write about Hiroshima for a while and keep going through the words I want to share in my mind though this is the first time I’m putting them down to share.

I want to write *without* being political, objective or having to quote from other sources. So first I need to acknowledge, as the quote indicates, in war there are no (so called) innocent parties. That I am aware of the atrocities in Japanese war camps, the carnage caused by kamikaze pilots and other such nasties which take place during war. I am not going to defend these actions, neither can I condone the actions of the Americans on Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m.

Let me start with a childhood memory, walking with my parents down New Walk in Leicester must have been in the late 70’s Early 80’s… Along the whole length of the route had been painted white outlines of bodies, such as those that indicate corpse positions in a crime scene. These white painted figures I later discovered were in protest against Nuclear War by the CND a very real threat in that day an age, during the Cold War where we get to watch nuclear disaster themed films in school classes. Resulting in nightmares for weeks and the inability to watch the Judgement Day scene from T2 (to this day).

This trip down memory lane was triggered by visiting Hiroshima. Standing outside the station following our journey upon the Bullet Train, our tour guide (An American) stood speechless near a domed shaped fountain, unable to find any words beyond a mumbled apology which was suffocated by free flowing tears. The realisation of where we were standing and what had happened here was very real, the emotions raw, the apology  unnecessary. Despite the busy fussy streets around us, there was this moment of incredible silence among our tour group… Yet it was just a moment and our adventure continued, though with a distinct emotional overcoat.

Today Hiroshima reminded me somewhat of Nottingham, with tight bustling roads crossed with a tram system, folks hurrying along their way, a very live towering city of structures, businesses, people, dogs… You know, city kinda city shit… But…

70 Years ago…

SAM_6495

End of Part 1…

 

Anne Harrison 26.04.16

It’s the Little Things

Like Coffee in a can
From a vending machine
Yes a can with a ring pull
Yes it’s hot
Yes it’s good

Like the little spots
The timing dots
Above street lights
So you know its safe to cross

Like Clear Umbrellas
Like Socks with Heels
Like shops above shops

Miso Soup
Matcha Tea

Green Ice Cream
Cartoon characters on everything
Dangling Charms
And Hello Kitty traffic cones

Lights and Colours
Sounds and Smells
History and Technology
Nature and Concrete
Religion and Food

And Respect

By Anne Harrison 14.04.16

 

Anne’s Adventure

I could write a list, detail where I visited day by day and my reflections upon each place. However, this would reduce my encounters into a ‘First we went here – it was really pretty – then we went there – it was really noisy’ blog… Which can be really tedious and I would run out of words to describe beauty. I want to try and capture the whole experience and not a diary of events.

Japan in my own words:

Japan is vast! There is this overwhelming sense of size, in structure, population and history. There is also a significant element of pride, respect and consideration. Everywhere is clean, the bins are even clean, the rubbish appears clean and there is a distinct lack of litter, graffiti or vandalism. I’ve already mentioned the trees, even in the most densely populated cities, there are trees and green, this balance and harmony between the urban landscape and nature is similar to the comfortable juxtaposition between history, spirituality and technology. Whereupon you will stumble across perfectly maintained shrines alongside vending machines.

There is an amazing sense of individuality, it’s no secret that there is a wide variety of fashion genre throughout Japan and this is celebrated by the fact that anyone may wear whatever they like, as outrageous and wild as they want without any fear of ridicule or being the victim of any jest.

Allow me to explain through example: In my home town (Leicester) upon a Friday afternoon, I noticed a beautiful young woman with her friends, she stood out among the crowd, clad in the most perfectly adorable ‘Lolita’ outfit. I noticed the looks she gained from ‘normal’ folk (by normal, I mean this odd tradition we appear to have in England to all look alike in their Superdry jackets and Diesel jeans) sarcastic comments were passed between gaggles of guys and bitchy daggers were thrown from from under fake eyelashes. I felt compelled to approach and congratulate her upon her delightful outfit, which lead to a really friendly conversation and she expressed her distress at such hostile remarks. Because someone dared to looked different, they were the target for mockery from the hordes of fashion clones.

I experienced no such attitude upon my adventure throughout Japan, I was delighted and inspired by a whole range of beautiful and unique individuals, wild colours or muted pastels, heavy black make up or a doll faced delicate touch. Women wore traditional kimonos next to business man in suits upon the train and nearly everyone of any age or gender always appeared to have some amusing cartoon character dangling off bags or phones.

I hope this is beginning to express my delightful experiences, of cause I’ve plenty of notes in which to expand this blog and naturally, I’ve left these at home. But that’s OK, because it will give me more to write about on another day. For now I shall add some photos…

Enjoy!

Anne Harrison 13.04.16

 

 

Why Japan?

… I’m not a very well travelled person, my previous adventures have mainly consisted of a handful of European countries the furthest being Malta, a mere 3 hours away! I have always enjoyed travelling, exploring new places, especially submerging myself in the history and culture, the food, the people, the language and the funny little differences that we find oh so quirky…

Japan is a far step away from Malta, nearly six thousand miles away and (to my uneasy numb bum) fourteen hours away… I cant say ‘I’ve always wanted to go to Japan’ because it’s never been a real option, it’s always been a pipe dream, an unreachable goal on a bucket list going no where.

Then something changed, two things actually, which A: Inspired me to follow my dreams and B: Enabled me to follow my dreams. Basically being ill in 2013, something about nearly dying kinda transforms your bucket list a to do list, secondly clearing off all my debts (which was a tedious process) has given me the freedom to spread my wings and fly!

Therefore one lunch time, in much the same manner I decided to go to University, I sat there Googling randomness and suddenly declared, I know, I’m going to go to Japan!

… And that’s how it happened…

Anyway that’s enough verbal dribbling, I want to tell you about Tokyo…

I’m already nervous, as my In Flight Blog will testify, yet my trip through customs was painless. However when you’re picked up by a driver with your name on a card, whisked away in a car alone in a city your don’t know, still reeling from such a long flight and with a further ninety minute journey to the hotel. My fears were running wild, if I wasn’t so shattered I would have been exceptionally anxious. Yet I was informed I would be collected, even the length of the journey was accurate to five minuets, and that was in heavy Tokyo mid-morning traffic but I kept thinking to myself how badly I wanted Liam Neeson to be my Dad!

My initial observations were regarding size, the city was vast and immaculate, travel down the M1 in the UK and the place is littered with the shredded remains of a junk food diet, cascading in the breeze like forlorn ghosts. Upon my whole ninety minute journey I can not recall seeing any litter, the central reservation was shrouded in ivy and wild aloe vera grew along the roadside in thick healthy batches. Despite the reputation of a ‘concrete jungle’ it felt as though there were trees everywhere, the concrete living in harmony with nature, the trees breathing life and colour into the waves of grey. Small trees, large trees, patches of trees with great towering bamboo, exotic palm trees and lone trees. Somehow this relationship worked well together and I relaxed into my drive, watching the world pass me by, absorbing the sights and sounds of a city so vastly different from my own, excitement replaced my exhausted anxiety and I could not stop smiling!

 

Well, my friends, I have no lunch time left, my hour sped by and my writing was distracted by snippets of work work, I hope this has eased you into my tale a little at least and I shall try to continue some more tomorrow.

 

Anne Harrison 07.04.16