in my bubble

I love long bus rides

Cross-border ((inter/inner)country) trips 
The hours I spend sitting/lying in silence 
Not the deafening of sorts, 
But the cosy comfort of surrounding sleepiness
The trees and scenes rolling by 
Earplugs in, the soft cooing of Bon Iver 
The limbo I have from now till then

I can do absolutely anything I want – the time itself is a gift
a beautiful one i held snugly as i shut my eyes in silence

Musical box museum (Otaru)

A gentle tune played as we strolled along the snowy street, giving Otaru a magical air with its soft street lamps illuminating the relentless snow.

Otaru, albeit more touristy than Hakodate and Sapporo (or maybe because we explored more of the touristy streets which were, well, clearly touristy with free samples and confectioneries in beautifully wrapped boxes to be brought home as souvenirs, + multiple glassware shops along the same street) was probably my favourite of the 3. Maybe it’s because of the lightheartedness I felt, where the snow was soft but not bitter, where our steps felt magical, where I carried a transparent umbrella around to shelter my head from the snow.

Also, the musical box museum – it was the one thing I had looked forward to for the trip. A musical box museum!

I spent most of my time winding tunes after tunes, trying to pick the best one, the right one, for you. This, too cheesy… This, too light-hearted. This, too normal, too jappy. I tried to pick one that evoked mystery, and depth of sorts.

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Last day, we stayed at the airport hotel, where they gave us 2 complimentary coupons for the hot springs!

At the hot springs – there we carried our naked bodies trying desperately to cover our privates with the tiny brown cloth they provided. There you saw large bodies, thin bodies, young bodies, old bodies; bodies of the past and bodies of the future. Breast cancer survivor soaking on my right, mother of a Caesarian child sauntering past, unabashed. Bodies and the stories that lay behind them, I thought. I love stories. (Speaking of which, I received an email of a story about a girl and her multiple timelines)

After soaking for some time we forgot our nakedness and basked in the therapeutic waves of hot water. When we emerged from the water again we left behind the shyness we carried with us at the beginning. ‘Why is that so? We don’t care at all now’, she asked. ‘Because we’ve conformed, here nakedness is the normality, and after some time we’re as comfortable within this new world’, she said as she smiled to the ladies baring boldly their flesh and skin. 

I know I’m intensely privileged to be able to go abroad. 

Hakodate – (Sea)food!

Hakodate – peppered with crabs and seafood, freshly cooked, along the streets.
Hakodate Asaichi (Morning Market)


Crab ramen

When I ate the crab, I felt guilty because I had to use my hands to tear open its limbs and scrape out its flesh. Also, watching the scallop die before me as the fire beneath it cooks it alive. Humans, we cheer when we know we have it ‘fresh’ – to cook it and consume it in one swift action was considered ‘better’ of sorts, and yet there was something strangely morbid about it. Feeling pleased because something (animal, edible creature) takes its last breath moments before you get to taste its flesh. I am a hypocrite of course, very clearly so. I enjoy these seafood but to have to witness its life and death within such close proximity was uncomfortable. Selfish I suppose, very anthropocentric stance, wanting to relish and consume yet cowarding the whole time behind the estrangement caused by the forgotten lives in my food. Then again, what about grass, aren’t they alive too? 

Point is, having to peel open and scrape their flesh, watching them crawling alive in the tanks prior to my meal removes the element of estrangement by reminding me that they were only alive moments ago. And that makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable enough to turn vegan though. 

SASHIIIIMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WHICH WAS REALLY, REALLY GOOD 
It was $13sgd though which seems a little pricey… but in the context of a restaurant…… 

Melt-in-your-mouth Hokkaido cheesecake

Here, they handed you a rod and you were to catch a squid with it. The lady at the counter will then proceed to slice the squid apart, its tentacles crawling meanwhile, before sending it to the fire.

ice cream. very jappy

Hell Valley (Noboribetsu)

A day trip from Hakodate!

You could smell rotten eggs in the air as you walked past the smog of sulfur.

Hissing, spitting, bubbling. A geyser, spitting streams of hot water every 10 minutes.

Yum yum, geographical stuff. I took videos.

Got really cold, we sought shelter in a ramen shop. They had shelves of manga of every title. Living in our globalised world where Japanese restaurants were rampant in our little red dot, the ramen shops in Japan felt no less unfamiliar or ‘real’. The presence of this shelf of manga, however, stirred feelings of some form of authenticity – very Japanese indeed.

Mount Moiwa (Sapporo) / Mount Hakodate Ropeway

  

 Next to us, 2 Japanese men offered us some chicken chunks they weren’t able to finish. Such kindness :’)

I mixed the two together because, well, I suppose there’s a part of me that’s grown weary from cable-car top-down panoramic views of the urbanscape. How sad! I know! But it’s the truth (for now) I guess. All too similar – you take the cable car up, you look down as the buildings grow smaller, the urban structure, the infinite skyline of the urban landscape. Developed, structured urbanised landscape. Pushing forth nationalist narratives of development, showcasing their nation’s progression and modernity (ha, ha). And the darker, unseen, marginalised portions of the city…? (then again, my desire to see that – is it just to fulfill some sort of sadistic pleasure I have to View the Poor)
lalala, la la la