Monday, December 29, 2014

Routine

37. Today. 

I just finished reading the book "25 Lessons I've Learned about photography life" by Lorenzo Dominguez. It was given by a friend in 2012. In one of the last chapters, the author talked about a realization while living alone -
While living alone, waking up alone, going out to take pictures alone, eating alone, being alone, I became much more aware that I was not alone, that apart from other people, the world was full and overflowing with, with beauty in motion.
And that brings me to reflect on my life here in Japan. Yes, I am living alone and felt that I have already made the necessary adjustments in order to survive in a foreign land. After all, my seven-year stay is more than enough.

37 


703 Candles 

After carols filled the air 
and before the fireworks upstaged the stars, 
I had my first cry. 

 The first candle I had was baby blue. 
Photographs told me so. ‘Twas Ma’s and Pa’s 
air that blew the candle off. 

 Same table but with different mantle,
 family and friends chanted 
as I blew the 105th candle. 
I was 14 then. 

 Oh how I missed that table during Decembers. 
Gone are the claps, the cheers, 
the balloons. Alone, I blew 
the 216th candle with a cold glass of cola. 

 Another set of candles will come my way, 
for a grand total of 703. Still missing that old table.  
A toast to the wind playing songs 
with unfamiliar lyrics. 

The snow outside my window confirms, 
I have another cold
birthday.


Being a salaryman, or a regular office employee, your life revolves on a routine and it can be pretty boring. My day starts at 6 am and ends at midnight most of the time. Here’s my routing on weekdays; shower, chase the bus and train, breakfast in the office, work, lunch, work, dinner, take the train and bus, shower, sleep.

I still stay in the same apartment since returning back to Japan in 2008. And every day feels exactly the same, except on weekends.

There are times that boredom can be equated to homesickness but it’s up to me to counter these feelings. I have my cameras to make my life more interesting.

Unlike in the Philippines, December 29 is a non-working holiday (or if not, you can use your birthday leave benefit). However, in Japan it is a regular working day and that means I am working on my birthday. No one knows. Ssshhhh. 

Three more years, this birthday suit shoot will be over. I am already running out of concepts too. I have wishes and hopes of course, but I always keep them to myself.

37. Today. 

/totomai
2014/12/29

45 comments:

  1. Happy birthday, Totomai. Maybe you just need a break. :)

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    1. Thanks Mich :-) I do if allowed lol

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  2. Happy Birthday ! x...Oh you made me feel sad.

    You must miss the warmth of your family a lot. It is hard but make the best of your situation which wont be forever. You can change things ... make good things happen for yourself ....Big world out there and lots of fish to fry.:)

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    1. Definitely I will Rall. Thanks for that. Sometimes, occasion like this, you long for someone to be with you.

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  3. Loneliness certainly makes one philosophical. However for us you have produced some outstanding photography in your time abroad. We are so thankful for that.

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    1. Thanks Robin. If not for photography, I think, I could have quit working abroad.

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  4. Happy birthday kababayan ~ I know that loneliness specially around Easter and Christmas time ~ The warmth and laughter of family and friends can't be replaced ~ Still we do our best to make the best of our lives ~ We all have routines but we can make weekends something special with words and pictures ~ Have a good week, smiles ~

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    1. I know you can relate to it Kabayan. You are right, we should fine some way to ease that loneliness especially working abroad.

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  5. Totomai, I think this is the first time I have felt the yearning for home in your poetry, but this week I can sense the missing of home strongly in your words. I think at birthdays especially it is nice to be with those who know and care about you, and it sounds like you have had some wonderful family birthdays. It also sounds like your days are VERY long. It is good that you somehow do find time for photography. And the book that you just finished seemed very interesting. Belated Happy Birthday, Totomai!

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    1. Maybe because I grew up with a big family and every celebration is grand, that is why I missing their company. But I am getting used to it already. As for my work, yes, but how can I complain haha :-)

      Thanks Mary.

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  6. may you find others tool to relieve your loneliness and perhaps a less punishing routine.

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    1. I am trying to do something interesting Abin :-)

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  7. I love how the mathematition reveals himself--a candle count as a prism into lonely biirthdays. Next week's midweek motif at Poets United will be on birthdays. I hope you'll share another meditation then.

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    1. Hopefully I can join Susan. if meeting in Korea will be finished as soon as possible :-)

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  8. i hope that you have a great birthday...
    and i do feel the pull in your verse....the yearning or missing....
    i worked apart from my family for a year and it was...
    not good at all...

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    1. It's always a struggle Brian. But yeah, it's the path we took and we have to adjust on the situation. Thanks!

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  9. Belated Happy Birthday, totomai. Birthdays and holidays can be hard when you are far from family and friends. I am glad you find joy in photography, and I hope in poetry too, as a means to escape from the daily routine and demanding job.

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    1. Poetry was my first love Gabriella but my muse disappeared before haha.

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  10. A very much belated birthday wish - to be there stuck in loneliness in a far away country. A strong feeling in your words. ..

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    1. Glad there are lots of subjects for photography. If not, I have lost my sanity. Thanks Bjorn.

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  11. A birthday alone does make one think of home and family. I am glad you still lit the candles! I hope you bought yourself a few little treats. 37. Wow. So many wonderful adventures ahead! Happy Birthday, Totomai!

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    1. Thanks Sherry. Can't wait what the world has to offer.

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  12. Happy Birthday and may you soon be with the ones you love, while knowing you are not alone when surrounded by the beauty of the universe you capture. Love the picture :)

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    1. Thanks Loredana. I am a laundry man :-)

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  13. I takes guts to live alone but it also comes with a special kind of freedom. This is a very thoughtful write on the anniversary of your birth.

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    1. So true Kerry. Sometimes we need to be alone too

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  14. Much happiness I wish for you in this year.....I feel the loneliness woven throughout your words. You are learning much about life and yourself right now but don't get burned out by all those candles.

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    1. Haha. To get burned will be a lesson well-learned. Thanks Donna.

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  15. Your work, Totomai is very demanding...long hours...and having such a gift as photographing and words you're always the master of good mood. Hope your next birthday will be with family and close people! Thanks for sharing your gifts!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words humbird. Poets United is also one way of forgetting loneliness and the demands of my work

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  16. amazing work here...your commentary before and after really allows us a view into your world.

    the poem has a nostalgic, homesick feel...i often yearn for pieces of my past as well.

    when i am feeling lonely, i try to see the world as a collective whole...we are separate, yet still together.

    happy belated birthday!

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    1. Thanks Stacy. Glad that technology at least can help ease homesickness.

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  17. Happy Birthday... yes, go find an adventure.
    ZQ

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  18. What a clever but poignant use of numbers - we will make you a birthday tea :)

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  19. I wish you a happy birthday, and trust you have made it happier for yourself by this post. I too live alone (though I am not bound to long hours in a boring job) and I too am glad of writing, my camera, and the online blogging community.

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    1. PS Well I se the birthday has come and gone, so I'll wish you a happy year! And I forgot to say how much I enjoyed the poem, and what a great motif of the birthday candles over the years.

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    2. Happy New Year too Rosemary :-) Let's continue writing and shooting and sharing all year round. Thanks a lot.

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  20. Yes, the winter birthdays are so cold. Hope you enjoyed it.

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any thoughts to distill?

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