I wasn’t born to this grand life I neither expect compassion nor have remorse I was carried here by the currents Changing the direction of my life’s course
I sit waiting with my face painted In white coloured metallic oxide Delicate flowers adorn my raven hair The prominent rouge my anxiety hides
With ruby coloured trembling lips And my small hands folded neatly in my lap Kohl rimmed eyes lowered in contemplation In the dim light of the gasoline lamp
Draped in an elaborate silk kimono With the nape of my neck left bare A red undershirt shyly peeks So does the red ribbon in my coifed hair
I am a creature of the night An artist to be admired and gawked at by all I’m perfectly poised from my head To the heels of the clogs that make me tall
For tea ceremonies and spring dances I play the shamisen to entertain Men who pay for my company, Weaving a world of elegance one cannot feign
Swish- swish my fans sway Every movement conveys a different feeling People come to watch me dance And are left with their minds reeling
Not free to run my own life Okasan from my okia runs it for me My onee chan keeps me grounded Like the roots of a sakura tree
Behind my painted face is pain Of wilful captivity and familial disgrace One day when I’m old it will disappear like smoke Eliminating my existence, leaving no trace
Japanese words used :
Geisha - a Japanese hostess trained to entertain men with conversation, dance, and song. Their distinct appearance is characterised by long, trailing kimonos, traditional hairstyles and oshiroi makeup.
Kimono - a long, loose traditional Japanese robe with wide sleeves, tied with a sash.
Clogs - a shoe with a thick wooden sole.
Shamisen - a traditional Japanese three-stringed lute with a square body, played with a large plectrum.
Okasan - In Japanese it means someone else's mother. The head of the okiya is addressed as “okasan”.
Okiya - is the lodging house/drinking establishment to which a maiko (apprentice geisha) or geisha is affiliated with during her career as a geisha. A geisha's engagements at parties, and her lessons in singing, traditional dance, musical instruments and tea ceremony are also booked through her okiya.
Onee chan - one’s older sister. She is the one who takes a maiko (an apprentice geisha) around the various tea houses, guiding and educating her till she becomes a full geisha.
Sakura - The national flower of Japan, the cherry blossoms represents a time of renewal and optimism. The pops of pink mark the ending of winter and signify the beginning of spring.
Hikikomori is a term in Japan used to describe someone who has “withdrawn” from society. The average age of hikikomori is around 32 and consists largely of men. This is a mental disease that was initially thought of as a simple refusal of a young man to leave the confines of his room/ parental home to interact socially or get a job. It is however much more layered and difficult to treat without medication and therapy .
Crippled by the very thought of leaving The comfort of my home Has made me Hikikomori with no one But my parents to call my own
My sekentei I’ve forsaken, become Completely amae and lost my ikigai Akin to a rapidly flowing river I’ve let Life simply pass me by
The helplessness I feel inside is like A bird flapping it’s wings in a cage Not even my own brother can understand Or my discomfort begin to gauge
Beaten, threatened and abandoned I survive Willingly bound to the confines of these walls Forgotten I have the komorebi through the sakura Or the autumn leaves come the fall
Being considered a recluse, a hermit Would’ve relatively been some relief The doctors have failed to treat my condition Or find a reason for my disease
Complicated is my situation just like The intricate folds of an origami bird People negate my very existence and I am considered a burden on this world
I am like the broken vase that no kintsugi Could ever with gold hope to mend My life has an undecided future Living in an ibasho not seemingly a very happy end
Japanese words used:
1. Hikikomori: withdrawn 2. Sekentei - a person’s reputation and the need they feel to impress others 4. Amae - dependence 5. Ikigai - essentially about finding your purpose in life 6. Komorebi - the Japanese expression for the sunlight as it filters through the trees 7. Sakura - cherry trees 8. Origami - the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures 9. Kintsugi - the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum 10. Ibasho - a place where you can feel like at home, being oneself
Having recently watched some documentaries on the effects of nuclear radiation exposure I can safely say that the nuclear bombings of Japan in ww2 were some of the greatest man made catastrophes to ever see the earth. Radiation exposure causes your cells and dna to break down while you are still alive. Your cells stop regenerating. Your bone marrow turns to mush. Your white blood cells disappear and you slowly die as the last of your cell storage runs out and your body begins to rot while you are alive. It is impossible to cure and every part of your body is irradiated making any transplants or treatment impossible.
In short, we should all be against these barbaric weapons.
“Hikikomori” is a term in Japan used to describe someone who has “withdrawn” from society. The average age of hikikomori is around 32 and consists largely of men. This is a mental disease that was initially thought of as a simple refusal of a young man to leave the confines of his room/ parental home to interact socially or get a job. It is however much more layered and difficult to treat without medication and therapy .
On the onset of the 1990s , Japan’s faced faced recession. Having a good education did not result in good jobs. Some people were forced to work part time jobs. This phenomenon was looked down upon and came with stigma, not sympathy . Such men “freeters”, a combination of the word “freelance” and the German word for worker “arbeiter” , “neets” - a British acronym meaning "not in education, employment or training" and “Hikikomori“ were considered parasites on the Japanese economy. The generation that had graduated before them in the 70s and 80s could not relate to them.
Hikikomori are plagued by a crippling fear or lack of desire to go outside, anger towards society and their parents, sadness about having this condition, fear about what would happen in the future, and jealousy towards the people who were leading normal lives. This is complicated mental health issue that is still considered a social stain.
A common reaction is for parents to treat their recalcitrant son with anger, to lecture them and make them feel guilty for bringing shame on the family. Some even resort to getting agencies to forcefully pull their sons out of the house in an attempt to reinstate them in society. The risk here is that the communication with parents may break down altogether. A few sufferers may also get violent and hit and scratch their parents who pester them. Other hikikomori might be obsessive, paranoid and depressed.
The rising cases of hikikomori can be linked to
1. “Sekentei” - a person's reputation in the community and the pressure he or she feels to impress others. The longer hikikomori reside inside their homes, the social pressure rises and this in turn makes them more aware as to their failures and recedes their already dwindling confidence and self esteem. Parents too feel embarrassed of having been shamed by their lazy sons and often delay seeking help for the same reason.
2. “Amae” - dependence , that is characteristic of a Japanese family relations. The intricacy of the Japanese culture can only be compared to the complicated folds of Origami. The daughters are wed when they come of age and sent to live in their new homes. Sons however continue to reside in their parental homes sometimes forever. Japanese parents traditionally expect their sons to get jobs and look after them in their old age- sort of like a pay back. If the son becomes hikikomori and begins hitting his parents, the parents still may not consider throwing him out of the house. Some say this “amae” encourages hikikomori.
The number of people affected by this affliction may hover around one million. Since by definition the hikikomori stay hidden , it is difficult to track them . The average age of hikikomori also seems to have risen over the last two decades. Earlier it was 21 - now it is 32.
Sometimes the hikikomori seek help . It begins with reorganising the relationship between the parents and the hikikomori. By educating the parents, the bridge of trust and confidence is slowly built between them and the sufferer. Once the hikikomori are better they can be brought to the psychiatrist for further treatment.
Through drugs and therapy , often group therapy, they are treated and sometimes able to rejoin society as productive members of the same. Many doctors say that hikikomori is an addiction much like alcoholism and difficult to get rid of without support .
Since most hikikomori refuse to get out of their homes and go see a doctor , their parents attend an “ibasho” - a safe place for visitors to start reintroducing themselves to society.
Japanese words used:
1. Hikikomori - withdrawn
2. Sekentei - a person’s reputation and the need they feel to impress others
3. Amae - dependence
4. Origami - the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures
5. Ibasho - a place where you can feel like at home, being oneself
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Mondo is another short form of poetry that comes from Japan. The idea is to pose a question in the first stanza and then try to answer it in the second. A single stanza of a Mondo has 5-7-7 syllabic structure knows as a Katuata (side poem or a half poem). The Mondo is pretty similar to a Sedoka but varies in terms of the subject matter, which is nature for mondos. This form was used as a religious training method by monks in the past, written in the spirit of Zen and encapsulating an observation of natural surroundings. It was sometimes written by two different poets. . . #mirakee#writersnetwork#napowrimo2021#napowrimo#mirakeewrites#writerscommunity#instapoets#mondo#haiku#japan#poem#pod#poemoftheday