In the first few days
buying toilet paper
is a great adventure
and ordering food
an orchestra of index
fingers passing over
pictures in gaijin menus

It’s like c’est la vie, said one student

my knees bent a little
in my roller skate car
driving on the other side
like James Dean for one month
and Miss Daisy the rest
excitement fades quickly
at 30 kilometers per hour

It means whatever, said a friend.

getting a hair cut
requires browsing books
filled with shapes my hair
would never reach, who knew
that lost in translation
as a phrase could be applied
to parts of the body

It is my fate, chimed the robot voice of a computer dictionary.

crawling into bed one night
with a beautiful stranger
in a love hotel, bathed
in neon and perfume
and waking up alone
naked as the horizon
in the painting on the wall

It means I am a victim of my fate, were the last words she spoke before I fell asleep.

traveling has never been
about what I can see
or the novelty of difference
not about how I use this freedom
it is about what I bring
from memory to the present
and if all I’ve kept
is a word, a passing thought
then Shoganai

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