Done with relieving a heavy load off my chest after some vomiting literally into my private diary… wait. Wait wait wait.

That’s not how the word “literal” works, is it? That would mean that now the papers of my secret notebook are soaked wet with an encrypted pool of sick on it. No. That’s gross.

I think the word I am looking for is literary. Sorry, literarily. More like. Don’t laugh at me, you know, because after living this long in Japan, I bet you wouldn’t know how R and L work anymore, either. Also, Engrish is hard.

Alright. Let me start again.

Done with relieving a heavy load off my chest after some vomiting literarily into my private diary… wait again.

What did I intend to type in the first place, even? I don’t remember anymore. See? You guys. This is how having a broken, shitty gut messes with your brain. And now I am not even sure if a shitty gut is a good or bad thing if you are struggling with IBS–a problem where you are either worried about having too little shit or too much shit in your gut. But anyway, a broken shitty gut is bad, I assume. The broken part. Not the shitty part. Shitty might be a good thing, when it comes to guts, for the above reason, because, like, that’s only natural, I suppose. But if it is broken then the shitty parts will just spew all over, which is bad. Now I don’t know why I have to explain all of these. Anyways. So yeah, when it comes to shitty guts, all bets are off the table.

And before I even attempt to remember what I was about to write today, let me tell you that this is the problem. This is the problem. (Okay now I am all confused how Italic works in sentences. I’m not very Italian, to be honest.) This is why I can never bring myself to write another book, or a blog post, or an essay–especially not an essay–because this happens. Before I get to the point of talking about the long and short of the essay I have already hit the 400 word limit because I’ve been writing about shit. Literally. I mean, literarily. I don’t want to spoil my now puke-laden diary further with warm diarrhoea. Also, I don’t know how Engrish works anymore.

(↑ 400 words. Word count tells me 400 words. Exactly. I just checked. I can’t even make this shit up.)

(Except that I totally did. I just defecated non-literally on my imaginary journal.)

Anyway. Let’s start all over again. For the third time.

After some violent smashing on the keyboard, which belched letters (not the ones Showa people send to their pen pals, but like, you know, the one which words are made of. Also, why do I have to explain this too? GAH this shit is too hard!! I mean, no offense to people with constipation but) into my private diary–and let’s avoid oral ejecta or lower-body excrement for now, for the general wellbeing of everyone–I took a walk to buy groceries. I wanted to go back home quickly to take a shower, but ended up at the shrine again.

(Phew. I did it. The official blog posts starts, hereon.)

(Or an alternative opening paragraph: “One day, I walked to the shrine.” There. I suppose this is how people who are not me write their essays. That would save me so much heartache. Us. Save us.)

I always end up at the shrine. It is one of those moments where you wonder if there’s such thing as free will. Did I signal to my brain to move my legs up the stairs and beyond the torii, or was I summoned there by an unseen force, done by airily implanting an idea into my mind “I want to go there” which I thought was my own?

Either way, I don’t mind. I like this shrine. Or am made to like this shrine. Whichever is fine.

The different shades of verdancy deeply impressed me. It was late April. It first started when I took a bow in front of the Jizo san. The little red hat, the blue sky peeking out from the lush curtains of green. It opened my heart a little. Then I turned into the quiet pathway teeming with moss and stone statues. I took a deep breath. I knew this was what I needed. (You know, after all those vomiting. Also, I promise, this is the last time I will ever mention about vomit.)

Then I entered the shrine. It was unusually crowded. Perhaps because of lunch break? What is everyone doing here? Most of them just sat down by their own, relaxing, or were deep in thoughts.

I sat on a stool that I have never sat on before. I looked up. The sacred tree looked completely different from this angle. I gasped. Again, the depth of green took my breath away. Shinryoku. It was so beautiful. I snapped a few photos, caught some Pokemons, and then I went home.

That is how I spend my day.

If you came here from my social media, you have already noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. (Can you still call it writing if all people do are stitching footages together and finding the now-trending audio for a potential reach explosion?) I also have not been going to places much. It is not needed of me at the moment. Nothing is happening much.

I have just been… watching myself.

Not into a mirror, nothing like that. I’m not Narcissus. But watching myself internally… Okay, okay,  that’s just as gross, I realized. But I suppose staring in awe at your own spleen and pancreas sounds less vain than lovingly approving of that which reflects in the mirror. Now I must give myself credit for not making references to shitty guts again. Y’all owe me one.

I have been watching myself to see what it is like when nothing much is happening. I often get anxious when there’s nothing to do. That’s why I get that euphoric thrill when I made pre-covid day-trips from Haneda to Changi back to Haneda, all within 24 hours; and that smug elation when I filled the last square of my calendar with multiple-colored tasks. I’m generally good with not having the space to take a break. But when the opposite is true, my world starts to crumble.

So… What does it feel like when nothing much is happening?

I sit in front of my laptop and stare blankly at the room. The outside world.

“Wash me.” the plate says.

“Fold me.” The beige blanket coaxes.

“Sort me out.” the random bunch of receipts on the table demand.

“How dare you neglect me for so long. Pick me up, right now!” yells the iPhone 13. (Probably the loudest.)

The same goes for the stuff in my head. The inside world.

“Worry about me right now. Otherwise you are irresponsible.”

“I’m right here. You need to feel anxious about me right now, or I will ruin your life.”

“Hey, just saying. have a look at this: you have no work, no companion. You should be afraid.”

I am watching myself from a close distance participating in what is commonly called life, like a movie running real time. A rather dull, overstretched movie, if I may. My patience is running out. There’s no supporting cast, no solid theme, half-arse plot twists (oh dammit of course it is the cafe’s off day), very cheesy dialogues, and I can’t even find the exit sign of the cinema room.

But I watched on. With a very mild interest just enough for me to not turn away.

The main character has this blank expression. It is not sadness. But it is not happiness either. There isn’t a smile. But there is this inexplicably vague softness that was never there before. A softness that’s rather gentle, and upon which, I assume, things can happen, or unhappen, freely.

It was still.

The only thing moving right now are my fingers, the sound the keyboard makes, and the swaying of the leafy branches outside of the window. There’s a dull, low-key humming that probably comes from the kitchen.

And strangely, I think I like this movie.