Tokyo 2001: Green rice fields disappear under clouds of gray. The city washes over me like so many buckets of acid rain. Memories of mother come back to me in flashes . . . flash 9 . . . flash 28 . . . flash 33
Tokyo 1976: Sanrio has just hit American shores. Every little grrl I know is falling in love with Hello Kitty. I am in Tokyo. First trip overseas. First romance with another country. I will soon catch the disease that will plague me my entire life . . . painful wanderlust.
Tokyo 2001: Tears come. I blow my nose. Black snot stains the crumpled tissue in my hand. Hello Kitty silently stares at me through hundreds of shop windows. Blinding me with flashes . . . flash 9 . . . flash 28 . . . flash 33 . . .
Tokyo 1976: Mother yells . . ."The train is coming!" . . . but I can't take my eyes off the magazine rack. Manga images pop off the pages of brightly colored comic books. Androgynous characters with huge eyes and small mouths beckon to me. I yell . . . "Please buy me a comic book!". Money exchanged. Her hand in mine. Comic book now held tightly under my arm. We rush to catch the next train.
Tokyo 2001: Train station . . . deep in the bowels of Tokyo. Ticket misplaced. Incorrect change. People pushing. People shoving. Hurrying nowhere. The magazine racks overstuffed with bright volumes of manga seem to mock me now. I reach for my mother's hand, but it isn't there . . . only flashes . . . flash 9 . . . flash 28 . . . flash 33 . . .
Tokyo 1976: Mother whispers . . . "Quite!" . . . but the walls of the temple hear everything. Prayers are exchanged. Secrets shared. The golden Buddha smiles at us . . . we smile back. Innocent travelers in a faraway land . . . wandering.
Tokyo 2001: Nothing is the same. I look for temples lost among skyscrapers. The noise around me and inside me, is deafening. I am here to pay my respects to ghosts, but they hide from me . . . in flashes.
For my mother ~ d.1996