On the Road to Japan, Pt. IV

Packing is such a chore.

How do I decide just how much I should bring of everything?  When do I decide that too much, is too much?  Where do I say stop to bringing little things that don’t really amount to much, until I’ve brought too many and it’s taken over half of my suitcase?  What do I bring, and what do I buy when I get there?

I mean, for camps and short term trips, it’s easy to pack for.  After all, it’s over in a week, and things aren’t essential when you can return to it in five days.  I used to laugh at how much my mum always wanted to pack when I left for these things, but now I wonder how my mum has packed for all those long extended family trips and known just how much we needed for each trip.

Especially since she had to pack for three people.  I’m only packing for one, and I’m struggling.

This just makes me realise how much I don’t ever want children or any sort of dependents.  Or they can pack their own things (nekminnit the kids pack an entire suitcase of candy and toys and there’s nothing practical whatsoever inside the case.  Worse, they bring toy guns and warfare toys and we all get detained at the airport).

And how do I pack away the things that are intangible? In-jokes and impromptu DnMs? Those Looks between friends? Meeting gazes across a crowded room and making faces at each other before bursting into laughter?  The warmth from a multitude of hugs?  I know I’ll meet new friends and these will happen anyway, but it’s not the same.

Having said that though, it will be great to be away from everyone familiar for a year.  People are going to change, relationships are going to change, I’m going to change, and all these changes will make something new and something fresh and it will all be very exciting to reacquaint myself with the familiar and be pleasantly (hopefully) surprised at how fresh everything has become.

And now I’m going to stop, because I’m starting to sound like a twelvie on tumblr philosophising on life.  Let’s see what I say when I look back on all this when I come back in a year’s time.

Three more days to go!


Ode to Bag

An overly sentimental tribute to the most loyal of tote bags, having suffered years of oppression serving an overwhelmingly careless and demanding owner.


Oh, how I’ll miss you!

In dedication to my bag,
My bag, from which
Its love and support
Its enduring reliability
Has given me strength to carry on.

From the trials of senior high school
To the lethargic years of university,
You have been there
Always by my side
Always faithful, never complaining.

And now!
You are gone.
Seven years of companionship,
Usurped by gifts from well-meaning friends.

You will never accompany me again
During those sleepy mornings
On the trains
Filled with faceless people
Gearing themselves up for the day.

During those late nights
Full with food and dessert
Full with friends and company,
And anticipating the warm embrace
Of a shower, and a bed.

You have been a pantry,
A receptacle of drool,
A lap blanket,
A travelling wardrobe,
A carrier of everything and anything,

You have gone above and beyond your calling
Where all other bags would have failed.
You are the bag to end all bags,
And you will be missed.


On Raging

Sometimes, you just have to rage.

For sure, sometimes rage is justified, like that time when some random in class starts going on about how your motherland is basically all about that propaganda lyf and what he says just gets worse and worse and at some point could probably be counted as racial hate in a way and you get all worked up because you’re getting personally offended because they’re insulting your roots even though you insult your roots yourself 90% of the time but it’s different when some outsider is doing it and it’s just like YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING YOU’RE MAKING IT ALL UP NOW STOP JUST STOP A;DLFKJAL;KDFJ

And so on.

But most of the time, that rage is uncalled for. Like when your mum decides to clean out your room and chuck half of what she call ‘rubbish’. Or when a friend is being stupid and not seeing sense and you have had enough about just how blind and immature they’re acting so you get all angry and immature too.

And sometimes, you get inexplicably angry explaining things to people -coughdadscough- who are just missing the point.

Today, my dad decided to ask if it was possible to memorise twenty minutes worth of music to play and perform. Concert pianists memorise hours of music, so of course it’s possible.  Personally, I have strong aural and muscle memory, and I began to elaborate how it’s hard for me to change things once I’ve committed it to memory because I essentially have to record over the permanent track in my head every single time I play.

And then he had the bright idea that it was the best type of memory, because then it meant that as long as I heard things a certain way, I would be able to produce it exactly as how I hear it. Fair enough, because it’s true… but it’s not possible for someone to learn just from hearing things. It means you have no foundation. You can’t read music, you can’t fix yourself, you have no basis for anything you do or anything you play apart from what you hear.

“But that’s a good thing! If I give you a track of a world famous concert pianist, then you’d become them too! And you would be perfect!”


Dancers can’t just watch other dancers and copy to become great without knowing the basic moves or without training their flexibility and coordination. Builders can’t just look at a house and copy it to build solid architectural monuments without knowing what tools or materials they need. Singers can’t copy Beyoncé without technique and not ruin their voice forever.

Besides, every player has their own nuances, their own take on pieces.  To be successful, you need to find a personal balance between interpretation and staying true to the music.  You can’t just copy someone’s style.  It just doesn’t work.

And so the more we argued, the more I didn’t get why he didn’t just understand. In the end, I just stood up and left the room.

Looking back on it, it was probably the mature thing to stay calm and rationally present my arguments.

But sometimes, you just have to rage.