Damn real: chapter 25

“Don’t do it, Namie.” Emiri’s voice could be heard from the other side of the phone call. She was talking to Namie about making this decision. “Well, you said that so quickly-” “Because it’s a dumb decision. You’ve been working your butt off just to get to this point, and to throw it all away? Both of us have made that mistake so many times already. Why bother repeating the same thing? You’re going to listen to whatever misguided instinct that nags at you, and that’s what will make taking that offer this much worse. You will know exactly what you have walked away from, and you won’t be able to ever feel like you made the 100% correct decision.” The engineer pointed out. She made a strong point there. Both of them had made countless sacrifices, in time, career opportunities, and educational opportunities, just because they thought that they were doing the right thing. Granted, this situation was slightly different. It was not another person who really was influencing Namie to make this decision. She could be happy being in finance, but she just felt that much happier when she was dancing. And to make that into a career and income, it would be a dream come true for her. It was not like her father or some sort of other figure was telling her to give up on finance to become a housewife. Even though Emiri saw taking the dancing job as a downgrade, for Namie, she saw this as a chance to make her occupation something she actually wanted to do and look forward to each and every day. It is a rare thing for people to be able to say that about their jobs. “Thanks, Emiri.” She hung up, still thinking about what Emiri had said. But at the same time, she was still thinking about whether or not the initial cut in pay would be worth it down the line.

“Can I get a glass of merlot?” Claire looked at their waiter. “I’d like the pinot griggio.” Namie answered, handing over her menu as well. “Very well. I will come back with your drink orders first.” The waiter bowed before leaving. “So you’re fine if I take the offer?” The two were undergoing their usual wine Wednesday routine after another mutually taxing day of work. “I mean, would I be sad that you’re all leaving me for Japan? Yeah. But at the end of the day, that’s how life is. People come and go.” Claire shrugged. She looked like she was trying her best not to cry. It was understandable too; Namie was one of her first close friends she made after breaking up with Frankie, and to see somebody she had relied on emotionally for so long leave, it was tough. But at the same time, the Director of Front Office wanted her best friend to follow her dreams. This time, they were at Blue Duck Tavern, which was actually a rather nice establishment given the not as elegant rituals they typically partook on these days. However, this day was different. It might be one of the last wine Wednesdays that the two could ever have together. “Look, it’s okay to cry, alright?” Namie sighed, as she felt tears welling around her eyes as well. She would be lying to herself if she said leaving Claire behind was hard. They were closer than family at this point. Every struggle, every moment Namie experienced since she started working at the Ritz Carlton, Claire had an impact. She was the overzealous front desk agent, while Namie was the withdrawn and untrusting general cashier, accusing people of stealing money. And now both of them have progressed so far in their respective paths. “Okay, I will then. I’m sorry.” Claire burst into tears as Namie joined her, hand in hand. “I just don’t want to say goodbye!” “Me neither, Claire!” They continued to cry as the waiter awkwardly placed their glasses on the table before nervously inching away. “Hey, where do you think you’re going?! We’re starving over here!” Claire barked at him while Namie started laughing. “Oh my god, I swear, we’re not lesbians.” The accountant began. “I mean, if you were, I wasn’t judging, but….” He started. “We’re not. This bitch is just leaving me for Japan is all.” Claire rolled her eyes, catching her breath. The two managed to quickly regain their composures. Hunger took precedence to them feeling sad.

“But yeah, no matter what happens, we’ll always be in touch, and we’ll always be friends. You better not forget that.” Claire smiled at Namie as they finished up their meal. “And I can’t wait to see you in Koda Kumi’s videos. I won’t necessarily understand what you guys are saying or doing, but I’ll still root for you.” “Thanks, Claire.” They hugged before going their separate ways for the night. It felt so final, even though Namie still had not fully committed to her decision yet. Nights like these, they were already sparse after Wei had left for her tour and both of them had been promoted. But even then, a part of her was not ready to let the happiness from being an accountant in D.C. go just quite yet. Shrugging to herself, Namie continued to wonder what exactly was the right choice for her in the Uber ride home. But she knew she needed to talk to a couple other people first. While she was leaning towards leaving for Japan, between Emiri’s doubts and not wanting to leave Claire behind, despite her insistence, it was hard to give that opportunity a resounding yes. And she wanted to make a resolute decision.

“Hey! Can you hear and see me okay?” Wei’s face appeared on Namie’s computer screen. “Yeah, I can see and hear you loud and clear.” She smiled in amusement as the idol continued to fumble around with her own monitor. “Wei, move back a little. You’re hogging up the camera.” Niall sighed, as he pulled her away just enough so that he could be seen as well. “Long time, no see.” He grinned at her. “Yeah, it’s a been a while. How was the tour been?” “Well, it’s been a lot of fun, but it turns out I won’t be going back to the states just quite yet.” Wei sighed. “Oh?” The accountant frowned in confusion. “What’s wrong? Did something happen with your visa?” “Oh, no. Not that. It turns out that this one… he got famous after just one follow-up performance to one of my shows.” She laughed, pointing to Niall. “Wait, what?!” “Yeah. I let him perform after one of my concerts, and the crowd went wild. And now he’s performing regularly on his own, and he’s just racking up a huge, huge, huge following.” She giggled. “Honestly, I think it was just because you used your fanbase to get me famous. I swear to god, my entire career is going to be based on gold-digging rumors now. People telling me that I was lucky to be dating a famous girlfriend, and how I used her fame to my advantage.” Niall sighed. “But at least you’re already a third as famous as I am on Instagram.” She nudged his shoulder playfully. “And so many girls like you. Aren’t I the lucky one here?” “Hey, shut up.” “Hey, can you guys just not do that right now? I mean, as much as I clearly love seeing this…” Namie frowned. “Okay, we’ll stop now. But anyways, what’s up?”

“Well, the point of this call was because I just wanted to get your input on whether or not I should take the job for Koda Kumi-” “You should. You absolutely should. Follow your dreams, Nams. You are smart and capable, and yes, that makes you a good accountant, but I’ve seen your dancing. You have the potential to be an even greater performer. Why throw that away?” Wei pointed out. “I agree with her, and trust me, that’s really rare.” Niall chimed in. “I followed my dreams, and tried my best to make them happen, and while yes, Wei’s influence had something to do with it, but now I’m a renowned violoncellist in Japan. Follow your passion, Namie, not just what pays the bills. Make your passion the thing that does pay the bills. Live for your work, you know?” Hearing this from him, it struck a cord with the accountant. Niall had a point. She would much rather be doing a job where she could look forward to it, and not just tolerate it. Seeing how happy Wei and Niall were, with their careers specifically, that was something she wanted for herself. “Thanks, both of you. Hearing that, it gives me a lot to think about, but I feel like seeing the two of you so successful, it does give me a lot more hope that if I do choose to become a dancer for Koda Kumi, then it would be a not as dumb decision as Emiri and my own conscious make it out to be.” She smiled as they ended their chat. Putting away her laptop, the accountant really started to think long and hard about this. It felt like hours of just sitting there, deep in thought. But in reality, the choice took about five seconds to make. She had already decided for herself to what she wanted to do.

“Hi, David. I just submitted my two weeks notice.” She popped her head into her Director of Finance’s office. “Oh?” It was an awkward talk and while it did not end well, Namie had finally quitted her job. Even after explaining how she felt to David, she knew he would not be fully supportive of losing her. But she did not care at that point. She was following her heart. Those last two weeks working at the Ritz Carlton, it was an awkward feeling. Namie felt as though she was disconnected from her workplace. Even her day to day responsibilities, like handling the cash or invoices, it felt like menial tasks that she did without even any real thought. In her head, she was thinking about the logistics. Packing her things, needing to return her keys, when to book her flight, finding an apartment in Tokyo. It was a laundry list of things to do, on top of needing to buy a new cellphone when she lands. Luckily, she knew that once more, she could live with Wei for a little bit, so that did ease the stress of the actual coming-to-Japan portion of her transition. But stepping out of the Ritz Carlton that last time, she could not help but feel sad. Even though a lot of her friends no longer worked there, she had come to see this workplace as a home. Shaking off her feelings of sadness, the now-former accountant had to remind herself that this place will always have a special place in her heart, whether or not she worked there anymore. It was the embodiment of her entire professional experience in both the finance and hospitality industries, and she also made a ton of friends along the way by being a part of it. Calling her Uber to here one last time, Namie smiled to herself. There was really no point to feel sad. All of those good memories at this hotel, she can live with them forever.

“Alright, I think that’s the last box!” Claire shouted out from the window. “Okay. You guys can leave now!” Namie smiled at the moving men. “Awesome! These boxes will see you in Japan then!” They called back as the truck drove away from her complex. It was her last day in D.C. Claire had helped her pack up the last of her things before she needed to head out to the airport. “Are you ready to head out?” Claire asked, walking out from the entrance. “Yeah, I think I am.” Namie sighed to herself, grabbing her luggage. Waving goodbye to Sky House one last time, she headed into Claire’s car. “Well, at least I finally got to use this damn thing.” The Director laughed, referring to the fact that she would normally walk to and from work every day. “Next stop, the airport.” The engine revved and the two took off. They drove past the waterfront and all of the beautiful modern buildings overlooking the river, as they made their way to Dulles International Airport. Parking in the structure, the two got off and headed towards the departures. How fitting. Namie thought to herself with a bittersweet smile. She was leaving behind this entire life. It almost felt unreal. But at the same time, it was anything but. This was the reality she chose to accept and walk down. She was about to transition from being an accountant in Washington, D.C. to being a full time dancer for one of the biggest names in Japan. This was actually what her life was about to be. No more simple hangouts or complaining about her father or even just hanging out with Claire and Wei, just the three of them. Accepting that was definitely the hardest part. “Well, it looks like this is it.” She sighed as the two hugged. “I’ll miss you.” “I promise we’ll always keep in touch.” “If we don’t, I’m going to start visiting Japan every single year, just to hunt you and Wei down.” Claire laughed, tears streaming down both of their cheeks. Wiping away at their own faces, the two girls smiled. “This is what is great about life though. Sometimes, dreams come true. And when they do, we get to live the dream.” Those words that Claire said to her, Namie continued to remember, throughout her career as a dancer in Japan. She was living her dream, and doing her best to let it be damn real.


Miterwort: dream 26

“Will we wake up, when they clear up, all the Miterwort, in our dreams?”

Miterwort is a song by Trass that I embarrassingly enough, admit to listening to when I am taking baths. It is a really relaxing and gentle love song, almost like a lullaby to be honest, about watching the rain fade, as light creates rainbows in the sky, and fairies collect the water and light, and from that, create love. Miterwort itself is a plant, also called the bishop’s cap, and its leaves resemble little hearts, so probably a symbol a love. This song reminds me of my most recent trip to Japan, because that’s around the time I downloaded Miterwort and the rest of it’s album, Cerulean Mono-Rainbow. And when I was in Japan, I spent a lot of time in the hot springs, so you can imagine why I have that correlation between this song and bathing now. Hey, it can be romantic. But I am a tub hog, so probably not.

The song itself talks about clearing Miterwort from dreams. I’m assuming that it means something to the effect of becoming less naïve and that the two people being referred to in the song realizing that they do love each other. Or that the fluttering feelings are settling down, and that these two people will come back to whatever reality separated them in the first place. Sorry, devil’s advocate/pessimist speaking. But probably the first one because this is apparently a love song. Unlike Koda Kumi’s song, which explicitly states otherwise. I love Koda Kumi and the hilariously inappropriate themes she stands for. Expect a post about her soon. But back to the talk about heart shaped leaves and love songs and me bathing in Japan.

What I appreciate about Trass/Harmonicblend songs are that they are so simple, but beautiful. They paint entire worlds just from the music. Miterwort will be one of my favorites because of the gentle melody, which just reminds me of the hot springs in Japan. The peacefulness of it, plus the beautiful vocals, you really can feel yourself relaxing. I can imagine myself in a hot spring, but I’m sure if you don’t have that connotation like how I do, I can also imagine playing in a park, then stumbling upon that one true love of yours, in a large green meadow full of miterwort. Then you two spending time together, picking and kneading the miterwort into little flower crowns to place on each other’s heads. I swear to god, I need to stop reading shoujo manga. It is slowly killing me inside. No, Yumi! Kamiya-kun isn’t worth it! Daisuke-senpai is the one you need to fall in love with! NO! Yeah, that’s hopefully not from anything, because I just made it up on the spot from how many of these damn shoujo manga I have read over the years. Oh, shush. Internet, you cannot possibly judge me much more than the fact that I am already writing about Japanese-type songs for RPGs. I AM ALLOWED MY WEIRD MOMENTS!

So in conclusion, Miterwort is just a song that relaxes me. I just feel myself, drifting off to a place where I can relax and not feel scrutinized or pressured whenever I am listening to it. It invokes simplistic innocence for me. And then there’s the fond memories of Japan, which are a huge plus. I’m still doing research to see if this is an edible plant or not, because if I can make a Miterwort dessert, that would be pretty awesome and I’d be so down to do it. Anyways, music can be such a great way to relieve yourself of stress and anxiety. Miterwort did that for me to a large degree, so hopefully you too can find a song that will help you make your life much more feather-light.












Sky Bird: Chapter 17

“Goodbye, Tokyo.” It was a few days later, and the Skyes were already taking the Shinkansen over to Aomori up north. “If Fanny doesn’t appreciate this, I swear to god.” Megan grumbled, referring to the three large bags she had to haul onto the train. “If he doesn’t, just burn the clothes!” Gil sniggered maniacally. “It’s always the youngest sibling who becomes the most sociopathic, isn’t it?” Megan glared at him. “But you do bring up a good point. Want to help me burn them if he doesn’t like them?” “Sure thing, sis.” “Back on the Shinkansen we go.” Kendall sighed as the train took off. It was going to be at least another few hours before they arrived at Aomori. “I can’t wait for you guys to try the apples. My grandmother, she grows them in her backyard, and Aomori apples are very special.” Mrs. Skye excitedly explained to them. Kendall was only half listening at this point; he kept dreaming about the same girl, over and over again. And each time he almost caught up to her, the dream was over. Who was she? The brunette thought to himself, lost in thought. She sounded familiar, but he couldn’t quite place where he had heard her voice from before.

“Here we are! Welcome to Aomori!” The city was lush with trees. Unfortunately, the cherry blossom season was not quite there yet, so they were bare, but just imagining them covered in the pink blossoms, it must be a sight to behold. “Alright, let’s go to visit your great grandparents.” Mrs. Skye ushered her children, still trying to meet their schedule. The five made their way to a taxi, which took them to a large apartment complex. “Grandma, we’re here!” Mrs. Skye chirped into the door bell’s speaker. “Oh. Coming!” After a few minutes, a small old Japanese woman came out of the elevator, opened the glass door, and greeted the family. “Hi! Nice to meet you all!” She hugged each of them. “Hajimemashite.” Kendall and Megan chirped, much to their great grandma’s surprise and delight. “Arisa, komodotachi wa nihongo wo oshietta?” She looked at her granddaughter, amazed that her great grandchildren could speak Japanese. “Kendall to Meganshika.” Mrs. Skye responded, explaining that only Megan and Kendall knew. “Sugoi!” She smiled. “Hajimemashite. Watashi no namae wa Isogai Mayumi desu.” She bowed. “Uh, can somebody please translate for the two of us who can’t speak Japanese?” Gil looked up at his father, and then back at his siblings, mother, and great grandmother. “Oh, sorry. My name is Mayumi Isogai. Christian, you’ve grown up so much since I last saw you! I haven’t seen either of you since your wedding!” She smiled. “And now you have three beautiful children.”

Gil and Megan were eagerly playing with Mayumi’s dog, a pomeranian named Dango, while Kendall, his parents, and Mayumi were sitting together. “So you’re the eldest, right?” She looked at him. “Yes. I’m currently 16 years old.” “Oh, that’s a good age. Alissa has told me a lot about you.” She explained. “She told me about how her son, Kendall, was such a hard worker, and so talented.” He was surprised to hear that from her. “Mom, dad! You need to check out what Dango is doing!” Megan ran in excitedly. “Oh, hold on, we’ll be right back.” His parents left the living room. “Who is the girl?” Mayumi turned to Kendall. “What?” “I can read it on your face. You’re thinking about somebody. Is it a girl? Or a boy?” She pressed, curious. “It’s a girl. But the thing is, I don’t quite know her name. You see, she appeared in my dreams, and I can’t stop thinking about her.” He started. “I don’t know what she looks like. But there was something about her voice that I remembered.” “Young love is a beautiful thing. I met your great grandfather when I was around your age. But then again, things were a lot different back then. That was almost 90 years ago.” She laughed. “But this girl, when you finally get to meet her, I’m sure she will be the luckiest girl alive, to have a boyfriend like you.”

Two days passed by really quickly. The Skyes were back at Haneda Airport and getting ready to take off for LAX again. “Oh, jet lag is going to be a bitch.” Kendall groaned as he got into his plane seat. “Well, it could be worse. You could have somebody using your shoulder as a resting pad.” Gil yawned, leaning onto his brother’s shoulder. “And I thought Fanny was gay.” Megan rolled her eyes at the two. “Shut up, Meg.” The two chanted in unison before laughing as she just continued to ignore them. Their sister was just sad that she had to return to tests and papers right after spring break, and it was stressing her out. “I guess I can study on the plane.” She thought, grabbing her textbooks. “Goodbye, Japan!” Kendall and Gil waved, as the plane took off. In the older brunette’s head, he just thought about what Mayumi said to him. Whoever that girl is, he hoped to find her. Not because he was in any rush to get married or settle down, but more because he wanted to be able to experience what it was like to be in a relationship for once in his life; he was the only one out of his friends who never dated before. Even Gil and Megan had been in relationships before he had. Kendall knew that finding a girlfriend had nothing to do with being an aerospace engineer. But he did want to start a family one day, and he needed experience in knowing how to treat somebody he loves.

Arriving back at the apartment, Kendall felt bittersweet. On one hand, home, sweet home. But on the other, he felt like he left a part of himself back in Japan. It was a very conflicted sensation. He had never left the country before, and he had enjoyed it thoroughly. It was back to reality for him. “Thank god! I just finished my paper!” Megan grinned triumphantly. She was able to finish almost all of her remaining assignments. “I’m just glad I don’t have any homework assigned to me.” Kendall grinned smugly. “Shut up. We can’t all be like you, Kendall.” She rolled her eyes, retiring to her room. “Well, I need to study for American History. We have a test coming up.” Gil growled, grabbing his textbooks from his backpack. And just like that, their vacation had ended. It was time to go back to being a student. “Ugh! I’m so jet lagged right now.” Fanny messaged their group chat. Everyone was getting back to America, one by one. “How were your vacations?” Carly, the only one who didn’t leave the country, was eager to hear about them. “A lot of fun! We’ll talk more in person, Carl.” Fanny sent back. “Ugh, this jet lag is killing me.” Sophia sent them. “But yeah, I’ll tell you about it later!” “Alright. I can’t wait!” She messaged back, eager to hear more. “See you guys on Monday!”

Sky Bird: Chapter 16

“Wow, it’s finally spring break!” It was Friday, fifth period. “What are your plans?” Sophia looked at her friends. “Well, I’m going to be teaching a course at Stanford on plankton.” Sharquiqui started. “And it’s going to be some nasty ass shit. Seriously, you’d think that plankton are not gross, but do not get me going on this topic. Somebody else, please cut me off.” “Well I’m going to Hong Kong to visit some family!” Fanny grinned. “Nice! I’m going to be spending time with my family.” Carly smiled. “My mom needs help around the shop, so I’m going to be doing that.” Carly’s mom was a very popular florist in Santa Monica. “My brother and I are going to be in Thailand.” Sophia smiled. “And what about you two?” Everyone turned to the Skye siblings. “We’re going to Japan!” Megan grinned victoriously. “Oh right! Visiting some family?” Fanny was interested. “Yup! I can’t wait!” Kendall completely forgot about their trip. Time was flying by so fast that he didn’t realize that this was the week before spring break.

“I’m so excited!” The three Skye siblings were sitting in the back of a large cab with their luggages. They were with their parents on their way to LAX International Terminal. Their excitement completely masked the taxi’s stench of plastic and burnt cigarettes. “We’re here!” Mrs. Skye looked at her three children. “I can’t wait to introduce you to my grandma!” Surprisingly enough, Mrs. Skye’s grandmother, a Japanese woman, was still alive. She actually lived in American for a little while, having moved there with her daughter at first, only to move back and settle in Aomori. “So we’ll spend one day in Osaka, three days in Tokyo, then two days in Aoyama with your great grandma, and then the last day, we will just go back to Tokyo to come back home.” She listed their schedule for the week. “I can’t wait! Mountains and mountains of takoyaki, here I come!” Gil kicked his feet up in excitement.

The airplane ride to Tokyo was one of the longest Kendall had ever experienced. As fun as it was to be in the air, he was surprised to find out that he managed to watch three movies, get in a nap, and only then, hear the pilot announce that the plane was descending. “Attention, passengers. Please prepare for our initial descent into Haneda Airport. At this time, please put your seats back to their original position, buckle your seat belts, and put away any portable electronic items. Thank you for flying with us.” “Japan!” Gil pointed out of his window as Megan and Kendall peeked over their shoulders. It was beautiful. Fields of pure green, large pools of water, reflecting the bright blue sky. It was a completely different feeling from Asia, where simple nature really embodied the landscape.

“This is so much cooler than LAX!” The Skye family was walking down a completely white, tiled hallway in Haneda Airport. It felt futuristic compared to what they were used to. The monochromatic and modern aesthetic of the airport alone was just a reminder that they weren’t in California anymore. “I can’t right now. This is amazing. I am so proud to be a quarter Japanese.” Megan was astonished by the design. “Okay, guys, we have to get going. We need to take the Shinkansen to Osaka!” Mrs. Skye urged her awestruck children. “Mom, dad, why aren’t you guys amazed by this?” Gil looked at the two. “Well, because we visited quite often before we had you guys. And we even got married in Japan. So it’s somewhere we don’t get too touristy around.” Mr. Skye admitted. “Correction. We had a wedding in California, and then another wedding here.” Mrs. Skye giggled. “Right. Those were the days.” Mr. Skye laughed.

“This is just unreal!” Kendall sighed to himself. They were on the Shinkansen, the high speed magnet train, shooting through all of Japan to get to Osaka, which was the southernmost part of the main island. The train was as fast, if not twice as fast, as a speeding bullet, as they could only catch glimpses of buildings, mountains, and fields as they sped right past them. “We should be approaching Osaka by the next hour or so.” Mrs. Skye was looking at her watch, not wanting them to fall behind their schedule. As a bakery manager, she was always stressed by meeting or making deadlines. “Calm down, honey. Even if we’re late, we can just find new things to do.” Mr. Skye reassured. “Well, improvisation will be up to you then. I like to follow a strict schedule.” She sighed, crossing her arms. “You’d think that would be the other way around, given that I’m the accountant.” Their father laughed.

“Wow!” The five of them had finally checked into their hotel room; because Mr. and Mrs. Skye were members of the Marriott Rewards program, they got a nice suite in the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel for them to stay in for the night before they headed back up to Tokyo.  The building was a glass paneled skyscraper located just off the Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Art and the Tennoji Zoo. “So your mother and I will share a room, and then Gil and Kendall will share a bed, while I get my own?” Megan counted out the three beds in the suite. Their suite was a lot nicer than their apartment, being decorated with white walls and modern decor. The windows looked out onto the city. “Yeah, it looks that way.” Kendall nodded. Sharing a bed with Gil was expected at this point. “So let’s get out and grab some food!” Mr. Skye looked at everyone excitedly. The five made their way to the streets of Osaka. Buildings with large, lit-up signs covered the area, as a large river ran through them. Food stalls and restaurants as far as the eye can see, littered the first floors of every structure. You could definitely never starve in Osaka,

Okonomiyaki, takoyaki, taiyaki, yakitori, melon pan, so many different kinds of Japanese snack foods were being harvested between the three Skye siblings, who were eager to reconnect with their Japanese heritage: more accurately, they have not eaten since they got off the plane, and were really hungry. But that was quickly fixed after about their fifth helping to takoyaki. “So what now?” Gil looked at Megan and Kendall, unsure of what to do. “Hm, let’s go to the castle? Mom and dad said to meet them back at the hotel after dinner.” Kendall suggested, looking at the sightseeing pamphlet that he received from the hotel. “Alright, sounds good.” The three headed off to Osaka Castle. The structure had white, stone walls and blue tiled roofs covering each floor of the building. “So this is a Japanese castle?” Gil was not quite sure how to react. “Honestly, there are bigger houses in Beverly Hills now, but considering the technology that they had back then, this was pretty impressive for that period, and just the fact that the castle is still up and standing now, again, we have to consider those things.” Kendall admitted, trying to convince himself that the castle was something of a wonder.

“Well, now what?” Megan looked at her brothers. They had eaten their way through the city, they have seen the castle, and the only possible thing left to do was go to Universal Studios in Osaka, but why would they when there’s one back home? “Let’s just walk around the city.” Kendall suggested. It was only dawning on the three that they were alone in a completely new country. “Hmmm… I know! Let’s play Pokemon Go!” Gil pulled out his cellphone. “Oh my god, of course you’d want to play that here.” Megan sighed. “Any suggestions on what else we can do?” Kendall looked at her while he took out his own phone. “You… have a point. Hold on, let me get my app started too.” She resigned, opening her cell. Luckily for them, almost all cities in Japan offered free city-wide wi-fi, so connecting and playing the game was possible without data. “Ooh! Look! A Farfetch’d!” Gil pointed excitedly, running off. “Hold on! Wait for me!” Megan screamed, sprinting after him. “Guys, I’m not a runner!” Kendall groaned, chasing the two. “We better not tell mom and dad about this!”

“So, did you guys have a lot of fun?” Mr. and Mrs. Skye were reunited with their children at a local teppenyaki restaurant. “Yup! I’m actually surprised by how much exercising we got done just going around the city!” Kendall grinned, laughing internally at his own omission of them playing Pokemon Go. “Well, that’s good! I hope you guys really got to explore everything.” Mrs. Skye smiled, happy that her children were appreciating her mother’s home country. “I can’t wait for us to go to Tokyo, though. I promised Fanny I’d get him a ton of stuff from Harajuku. He already Venmo’d me the money for it.” Megan laughed. “I’m just glad that I caught a-” Gil started before he realized he was not supposed to mention their afternoon activities. “A real love for the Japanese culture.” He finished, proud of his own save. “I’m so glad.” Their mother bought his lie, oblivious that Gil was originally going to say “a ton of rare Pokemon.”

The family retired to their hotel, and got ready for the night. Unfortunately, they had to leave Osaka tomorrow first thing at sunrise, which in Japan, begins at 4-5am, to make it to Tokyo. “Good night, Gil.” Kendall whispered to his little brother. “Goodnight, Kendall.” They drifted off to sleep with almost no effort. “Kendall?” The brunette opened his eyes. He was in a field of flowers. “Where the hell am I?” He looked around. He saw a slim figure with long black hair, wearing a flowing white dress, and a large white sun hat, standing in the distance from him. He couldn’t quite make out her face from where he was. “Kendall!” She called. That voice? It sounds so familiar. But who’s is it? He was perplexed. But her voice, it made his heart beat faster. He could feel the metaphorical butterflies in his stomach, telling him to be nervous. The girl laughed and started running off. “Wait for me!” Kendall screamed, getting up and running after her. “Ugh…” The brunette opened his eyes to the sound of Megan’s Taylor Swift alarm, which was blasting through the suite. That was a strange dream he had. But who was the girl?

hidden romance

It was late as night. He was told to meet at the white gazebo, overlooking the koi pond. “Is anyone there?” He called, only half-expecting a response. Nothing. Defeated, he rested on the wooden railing, gazing into the dark water. He could see the koi dancing among each other. Dancing, he thought to himself. It reminded him of the their very first encounter. It was back in the castle. He was invited to a gala to honor his uncle. At first, he was bored. Everyone was older, rich, elitists and socialites. Typical attendees for this kind of event. But in the midst of these people was the one. He found himself flushed as he nervously approached the center of the crowd. He wanted to talk. He wanted to learn more. The two quickly met eyes. And soon enough, the entire gala was off to the side. They were laughing together, watching the castle from the nearby hills. Ending their chat with a kiss and promise, the two parted ways.”Hey. Sorry I kept you waiting. My dad did not want me to leave the house.” He turned around excitedly. “I managed to escape, but it was not easy-” He pressed their lips together, cutting off the rest of that statement. He did not care. He was just happy to see his hidden flame. His hidden romance. Parting lips, still locked in an embrace, their eyes gazed into each other once again. Nobody could know that they were romantically involved. The nephew of a general and the son of a wealthy socialite. It was a relationship that nobody could find out about. It was a secret they had to carry to their deaths. But they knew, despite the expectations and stigmas, that they needed to be in this relationship together. It was their escape from the harsh expectations of life.

Generally, I would post my short stories on Saturdays, but this story fit the theme of Valentine’s, so that’s why I posted this off-schedule. Happy Valentine’s/Singles’ Awareness Day! We are genuinely lucky to be living in this day and age where people can love each other, regardless of judgement, unlike during the time and setting of my story!

An ideal life: dream 3

When I think about what I am working for, it’s to help reassure me that what I am currently doing is the right thing. For me, a perfect life down the line would include being happily married by the age of 30, living in Japan and owning my bakery, while my spouse would also be doing some sort of non-hospitality job in Japan as well. For kids, maybe before I’m 35, because I don’t want to be so old that my children cannot relate to me at all. I would like at most two kids, since we as parents would also be preoccupied with our respective careers.

In my bakery, I’d be preparing mostly modern desserts. Think Reynold Poernomo’s concept in Sydney, Australia, Koi Dessert Bar. Actually, Reynold is somebody I aspire to be one day, and it’s not just because we are the same age. The desserts he creates, they take you away to a magical land, far far away from all your troubles. That’s what I try to do with my desserts as well. For the kinds of desserts, I’m probably going to do French-Japanese, because it’s something I love to do.

With my kids, I plan on raising them when I’m not working. I’ll probably go into the bakery early in the morning, just to get the operations started, and as my bakers come into the kitchen, hand tasks off to them to finish. Hopefully, I’ll be done early enough to pick up my kids from school and take them home. I’d expect my spouse to come back home maybe a little later, since most jobs are 9-5 outside of the hospitality industry, and then I can leave the house, come back to the bakery, and close shop. After closing, come back home, eat dinner with my family, and then go to sleep and start the day over.

For me, having a family to take care of makes me happy, because I am a naturally caring and nurturing person. The bakery side will keep me preoccupied with both my love of baking and storytelling, but also presenting me with challenges that will help me continue to grow as a person. Just thinking about being able to live that life, I want to work hard, just to make the steps towards achieving it feel more like leaps and sprints.

That sort of routine is enough to make me happy for the rest of my life. I have family, I’d have my own business, and most importantly, I’m doing something that I genuinely love. For anyone out there reading this, just know that with life, doing what you love makes doing the obligations you have now, such as school or jobs you don’t like, all the more worthwhile.