Saturday, April 16, 2005


No, it has nothing to do with feijoada, the Brazilian national dish.

One of the first things I noticed after coming into this neighborhood is the abundance of lovely green fruits fallen on the ground. When crushed, it smells good, like white-meat guava. This is feijoa, which I should try one of these days.

Some people seem to roast them. It must be good on a plate with a steak. I think I'll ask for my neighbors' permission to harvest fruits from their garden.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

In Aotearoa

Such a hectic spring it has been. And it's over, transferred immediately to autumn.

From March 30 to April 3 I was in Chicago attending the AAS annual meeting. We had a panel called "Omniphony in Japan," in which I talked about the concepts of omniphony and exophony (thus presenting the general framework), Doug Slaymaker on Yoko Tawada, Kyoko Omori on Hiromi Ito, and Catherine Ryu on Yi Yan-ji. The panel went very well.

Then after only three nights back in Tokyo, I relocated to Auckland, New Zealand! I shall be based in this city from now on! What lift one gets out of a relocation. To begin everything anew has been my obsession, and this is something that comes closest to its ideal.

Auckland as I knew it would be is a loveliest Polynesian city. It out-Seattles Seattle in many ways, lush green, undulating terrain, sweet moisture, unpretentious cosmopolitanism, everything. My life will take a different shape here... You will hear more about this.

In that short period in Tokyo I wrote a piece called "X Southwest X", an over-250-lines poem about my remembrances of the American Southwest border culture. It will appear in the next issue of Gendaishi techo (Contemporary Poetry). My hunch is that it marks a turning point in what I write.

I'll rewrite it in English one day.

Monday, April 04, 2005

What He Says

You only knead a few things in life.
---Corner Bakery

What? Corner is not a first name?
And Bakery? It's not a last name?

So, it's not a person at all?
But still I like what he says and I KNEAD [ ].

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Two birds

Walking on a Sunday morning in the loop area of Chicago, looking for a place to buy some coffee. All the Starbucks downtown are closed. Then by the L line (in Chicago CTA trains are called "L" because they are elevated) I find on the pavement a dead blackbird. It is very dead with two feet sticking out into the air.

I continue my way taking random turns. Then some minutes later I come across another dead bird, this time a sparrow, as dead as a nail. I find it ominous, meeting two dead birds in this fashion, but there is nothing I can do to avoid it's consequences.

The birds have nothing in common but being dead and being birds. My random walk is the only connection they have to be juxtaposed in this narration. Narrativity requires an order; blackbird, then sparrow. It could have been other way around, but it didn't happen.

And if Starbucks were open, they would never have been juxtaposed.