Category Archives: Seth Howard

5
May

HANAMI

 

 

 

 

 

 

-by Seth Howard

 

Pink petals softly fall

Heart-stricken, beneath the trees

We sit in company of ourselves

We yearn for the now to stay

But the moment lasts in memory

Falling petals pink

In bloom

 

Nightfall falls, then light

Shining, in your eyes a bright

Serenity reflected

The river reflects the colors

Of our minds

 

Our hearts filled up with song

Within, the image trails

As in the sky

The stars—were bright tonight

And the moon

Was ours 

22
Apr

Conflict on a Japanese Train

-by Seth Howard

On the train to Hokkaido I was trying to read, but one of those old Japanese women with too much energy for her age was blabbering on about something in a loud obnoxious voice. I looked up at her a few times annoyed, wondering when she would stop. She didn’t seem to care, or even realize her effect on those around her. She simply continued on as if in her own bubble. She was obviously taking advantage of the fact that she was an old woman in a country that respected the elderly.

It was morning, and having only slept three hours the night before I felt like dying, but I figured I would wait it out, having seen no other option. So I continued to read my book. The old woman went on and on, getting louder with each sentence. I couldn’t imagine what she could be talking about for so long. Each sentence stretched on as if she were bragging to those around her saying “Hey everyone! You have to listen to me because I am old, and there is nothing you can do about it, so just sit back relax and enjoy the show!" I had no idea what she was talking about. I probably could have caught her line of thought if I had any interest to, but I didn’t. I continued to try reading a Hemmingway short story, but it proved to be a greater feat of concentration than I was capable of at that hour in the morning. At the end of each of her sentences she said in that loud penetrating voice “Right!? Right!?" Her old husband nodded in agreement. His eyes looked tired as though he had given up long ago. I wondered how much of the old lady’s ranting reached his ears.

Just then, at the height of her petulance, a younger Japanese man sitting nearby yelled over at her.

18
Apr

End of the Line

-by Seth Howard

The heart lingers in longing

As the sun goes down

Over Osaka, footsteps felt

In subway stations, Salary-men

Of some renown

 

Opening up their One Cups

Glasses pushed up to the crown

With fingers fumbling

Finding what we thought was lost

Hands holding onto rails

People tossed, against doors

18
Apr

From China with Teacups

 -by Seth Howard

     My first day in China was spent with Leif searching for a bank with a good exchange rate.  He had met me at the Beijing Airport.  I flew over from Japan, where I had been staying for 2 years.  I was happy to see Leif again.  We were in the same Japanese class at Sophia University and became friends that way.  We went to a few different banks before Leif found one that he liked.  I withdrew some money from the ATM.  I was concerned that it wasn’t going to accept my card, but it did.  My parents had given me some 1000 dollars for the trip.  It felt good to have some cash in my hand.  After that, we looked for a hotel and Leif reserved us the night.  He could speak Chinese fairly fluently by then.  Of course, he had already been in China for over a year by the time we met up again.  It was a pretty nice room, but we didn’t hang around for long, as we wanted to see more of the city. 

     There was some kind of fair going on nearby the hotel where they were selling various things.  I was hoping that I would be able to buy a pad of paper there but they had no such thing.  We walked around the city for a while before ducking into a restaurant for lunch.  We figured we would try out their Peking duck, because it was said to be their (meibutsu) specialty in Beijing.  We ate it with some salty brown sauce they gave us.   It was a little on the expensive side for Chinese food Leif said, but I didn’t have a good idea of how much money was worth there yet.  My understanding is that people who stayed in China for any length of time ended up becoming really stingy.  Even if you could get something for cheap by American standards, they were always looking for something cheaper. 

17
Apr

HIKIKOMORI

-by Seth Howard

I withdrew from the world for a while

All my things were gathered here

Before my feet

Scattered as my many strange belongings

I knew no rest from my own clutter

 

Perhaps no one had noticed my withdrawal

From society, only quick trips to the

Convenience store was all they saw of me

Before I was back to that shrouded

World of shadow, my room

With the blinds closed during the day

And at night, the lights off

Perhaps only the dim glow of a laptop screen

 

Nengajyo lay pell-mell across my floor

Blank, unstamped, but all the same

It could be that I would never send them out

Or that New Year’s had already past

And that my loves were too far away 

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