Tag Archives: The Bluff

The shop near school


There’s a little shop near our school
that serves “the world’s best cheesecake.”
That’s not just my observation.
It was the name of the shop.

And then it closed.

{I know. It’s a lot to take in.}

So we were sad for a while
and then we got busy wondering
what might take its place.

Months went by.

A few weeks ago, we noticed
the arrival of mid-century furniture.
You know the kind…
Looks great. Feels terrible.
So we deduced it was a furniture shop.

Then we saw a man working at a bar
like a coffee bar
on the far side of the space.
Coffee shop?

Big arrangements of flowers
appeared last week
which signals
in Japan
the opening of a new business.
It looks like a funeral in there
and still the whole thing is a mystery.

Damien says there is a sign
but it’s too small to read
from the road.

So I don’t know whether to say,
“Hello. I’d like a chair with my cafe latte
or a cafe latte with my chair.”

I’ll keep you posted.

Love, Yokohama: Dessislava Veltcheva

Love, Yokohama is my photographic love letter to the city we have called home for the past three years. The concept is a simple one. From time to time, I’ll ask a student, colleague or friend to meet me at their favourite place in Yokohama… and I’ll take their photograph. These visual love letters are posted on Fridays.

Photographed on Monday 22 September 2014
in America-Yama Park

Dessy 2


At Motomachi Chukagai Station,
you emerge from an elevator
into a park.

It’s like something a little kid
dreamed up
and drew with crayons.

Metal doors slide open.
A stone path leads
by a rose garden,
vines heavy with pink
that blooms
much of the year.

Three benches nestle
against a brick wall.
Mothers cuddle
with small children
while old people

In the mornings
and afternoons
the park is filled
with kids,
most in uniforms,
headed to schools
on the bluff.

Among them,
running and laughing,
the plaid and blazer-free kids
from our school.

When they were still
in high school
Dessy and her friends
used to hang out here
in the afternoons,
walk under
the ivy-covered trellis
and make wishes
for the future.

Fingers crossed.




Dessy has just completed her first term at the University of York in England where she studies Bioarchaeology. Originally from Bulgaria, Dessy lived most of her life in Japan. She is one of the happiest people I know.

When a place becomes home

japan family
A friend of ours noted
that this path
through America-yama Park
and up the hill
by the Foreigners Cemetery,
is the bit of Yokohama
I’ve photographed
most frequently.

She said she wished
she’d done the same
in Bangkok
where they’ve lived
for years.

This path,
my favourite part of Yokohama,
is my walk to school
and home.

I know the afternoon light
on this path
at 4:37
and 5:03
and 6:12.
I’m acquainted with
all its disparate goldens,
have memorized the lengths
of shadows cast
by trees
and tombstones.

I wear this path
on the inside.

In Autumn
we decided to stay
in Japan
another year
and then for more…
for as many as we can.

A declaration
of place-love
as fierce
as we’ve felt.

my relationship
with this path
began to shift.

For thirty months
this path
has been inhabited
by changing seasons
of fairy-people
and magic.
On my way home
I would think
“We’re so lucky.
We’re so lucky.”

Now I think,

Although my heart doesn’t leap
every day,
I am happy,
happy that we found
each other
at last.

The Promise of Roses

As I left work on Wednesday
Mark said,
“Have you seen the roses
in the park across the street?
They’re a very big deal
in Japan.”

“Yup. Let’s go.”
DP said…
so we crossed the street
in search of roses.

It was golden hour.
The garden was full of people
admiring the roses…

and taking photographs…

and painting what they saw…

The roses were pink and white,
yellow and peach,
and a red so vivid
it refused to be photographed.

One delicate rose was named for
Diana, Princess of Wales.

The air smelled like true love.

I discovered that Instagram
doesn’t work with these roses.
They’re too beautiful for filters.
{God doesn’t need our help.}

After the roses
we stood at the look-out
with these lovers.

Contemplated the view,
and this bridge.

Followed this path…
blue wood-fairies beckoned.

We walked under canopies of old trees
while the sun peeked through.
A spy with good intel.

Spotted this little one
adorned with a rainbow of paper cranes.

Passed through tiny, tidy gardens.

And down the stairs
with my orange knapsack sweetie.

The Marine Tower popped up
in the distance.

We passed the Doll Museum
we have not yet visited.
(The promise of cute awaits.)

The Marine Tower emerged
Closer this time.
Almost home.

the walk home

i’d like to take a moment
to remember
how often the sweetest
in life
are also the simplest.

it had been raining hard
all afternoon
and when the bell rang
the kids went running
from the building
with yells
and stolen umbrellas.

by the time i left school
the sun was pushing her blonde head
through steel grey clouds.
the concrete was still wet
and the sun bounced there
like hard red rubber balls
in a playground.

at the end of golden week
in japan
the bluff was filled
with tourists
admiring the city
from the cemetery.
(a strange but true vantage point.)
the late-afternoon sun
made their faces soft
and kind.

the world smelled new.

i walked home.