Little wonder we stumble in life.

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First Week in Japan

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This is my University. It’s called Nagoya University of Foreign Studies.

次の四か月、ここで勉強します。 日本語とか日本の文化とかを勉強します。

For the next four months, I’ll study here. I’ll study things like Japanese and Japanese culture.

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これは、大学りょうです。 私の部屋は二回です。 部屋のとなりはだいどころがあります。

This is my university dorm. My room is on the first floor. Next to my room is a kitchen.


When I first arrived, I was helped into a bus and taxi. At the airport, bus station and uni dorm, I met other students.

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On Wednesday, there was a Welcome Party. There was food, and clubs performed.

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On Friday, we went to Ise Grand Shrine. We entered, then before continuing, washed out hands and mouth.

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After we arrived here, we saw the Kagura. In the second photo is where we saw them. Behind the blue curtain was the Kagura. It was a big tatami room.

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After that, it rained. I also didn`t have an umbrella. But I went to this shrine. I gave 50 yen, and made a prayer.


Then I saw some other shrines.

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When I returned, I went to have lunch.

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The next day, I went to Nagoya Castle. My tour guides were Ryo, Reiko and Haruka.

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The first photo is Reiko. The second photo is Haruka.


First, we went to Hommaru. I took off my shoes, and walked around inside.

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Next, we went into the big building. There were 7 levels. Inside were many pretty things.

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After we left, we walked to a restaurant. It was pretty.

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Friday Fictioneers: Abandoned

The place had been abandoned for many years. It had been his childhood home. His father had been the founder of a car company. After he died, he had left his son one of his newest models.

He didn’t want it. His mother had just bought him a new cars, ordinary as it was, and he escaped in it.

His father was addicted to wine. He’d hit his son. He couldn’t get away soon enough.

The car had been left to rot, an undriven Rolls Royce. It was now a classic car, and it would be sold to the highest bidder.

Friday Fictioneers, 31 July 2015.


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“I don’t have a daughter.”

She looked Julia in the eye. “You have to talk about her sometime. You have to open up to someone, and talk about it. Even if it isn’t me.”

“No,” said Julia, and walked away.

Julia refused to talk about Norrell, no matter who asked, and she had a lot of offers. She had opened up once, and it had blown up in her face. Never again.

“Who’s Norrell?”

She had two younger daughters who shared the same room. This question came up as she was tucking them into bed.

Julia paused with the blanket over her 9-year-old. “Nobody. Why do you ask?” Julia replied, tucking the sheet over her.

“We heard your conversation with the lady today. You said she was your daughter.”

“I said no such thing.”

“Mommy!” Sandra in the other bed, and her sister Alex joined in the stretched out chorus.

“Alright,” said Julia, silencing them. “I had a daughter once, named Norrie. But she was taken away from me.”

“Why?” sang Alex, innocent eyes stared up at her.

“Because I told her a secret, and in return she told the school. They deemed me unfit to take care of her, and took her away.”

“What was the secret?” asked Sandra.

“A very bad thing.”

“Can’t you tell us?”


“Well, was it true?” asked Alex.

Julia paused. “No.”

“Then why’d you tell her.”

“I was afraid she’d run away from me.”


“Because… she’d stopped trusting me. She knew I was keeping something from her. I just wanted to keep her with me.”

“So why not just tell her that?”

“I… was afraid.” She tucked in Sandra. “Goodnight.”

Julia turned out the light, and closed the door.

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Card Shark

“Put in your 8 months leave. You’re coming on the road with me.”

David turned and walked away, and Jason walked out from the counter.

“I work at a hot dog stand! What could you want with me? I can’t just put in my notice, it doesn’t even go up to that in most offices. How am I supposed to eat, make a living?”

David turned back to him. “You know why I want you. And I’ll tell you how we’ll survive. Your ex, Cait. She’s the best in the business. She’ll keep us fed on her salary.”

“Salary? She’s a card shark! She’s fucking vicious!”

“You don’t have to go near her,” said David, walking along again with Jason from the stand.

Jason almost stopped entirely. “I don’t want to be near her ever again!”

“Too bad, coz I’m relying on you.”

“Well, don’t. You can’t. I won’t.”

They stopped walking, and David marched forward into his space, backing Jason up a few steps. “We’re going on the road. We’re pulling the biggest heist in history. I could leave you behind, but I can’t her. You got me?”

“I get her on board, and you promise you’ll leave me.”

“No deal. You’re coming.”

“But you just said –”

“Doesn’t mean I will.”

“Then why should I do this?”


Jason watched him go with a sinking feeling. The last time she’d seen him, it had been in the fury of revenge in their home. He was in the shower, and she had the bright idea she would beat him at his own game, she would trick the trickster. But he had seen her coming, and the moment she tried… down rolled the projection slides at both open doors, before and behind her, written large with advice for her future tricking.

Furiously, she tried to backtrack, to avoid his smug face, but she couldn’t punch through the projection slide behind her. Growing desperate, she moved forwards, tearing down the slide before her and crashing into the shower, bending him over so she wouldn’t have to see his face, created blood smears on the wall next to his head despite trying to hold him back from smashing his head into it.

“I don’t need you to lecture me with your smugness,” said Cait. “I don’t need it.”

“I was only trying to help.”

“Bullshit, you were trying to humiliate me. Again.”

The memory wasn’t a fond one. When he walked up the silent emptiness of her crap shack, the echoes of it bounced around his head.

He sat in a white plastic seat in her kitchen as she stared. “What do you want?”

“This isn’t about me, it’s about David.”

“So you said. What about him?”

“He wants to take you on the road, for a heist. From the look of this place, you need it.”

“You be there?”

“He wants me. I don’t, so much.”

“Because of me?”

“The fuck you think? Of course you. But it’s not just that. I got a life here. I’m not gonna be pulled back with you. I’ll sort it, you don’t have to worry about me being there.”

“What’s he want me for? I don’t need him, I could get out of here on my own.”

“Then why haven’t you?”

“I score enough to get by.”

“You’re in a rut, just admit it. You need his ambition to claw your way out of it.”

“If I am, you know the cause. Why would you give a shit?”

“Because David’s on my ass about it. Look, I’ll win you over by telling you one thing you never heard from me. You’re the best, you’re not second.”

She smirked. “You think I’ll join because of you?” she asked, looking up at him with that old light in her eyes.

“I think you’ll do it to go over me.”

“God knows I wanna do that,” she said.

“Then do it.”

She looked at him. “Fine.”

David pulled him away from Cait as soon as he showed up at the lot. “You got her, good on you! Now tell me, you on board?”

“No way. I’m moving on.”

“You work at a hot dog stand. She needs this as much as you do.”

“Be real, Dave-o,” said Jason. “What you want her for? She low-time. She can’t possibly provide for all of you,” he said, looking around at all the caravans.

“She’s a high roller,” said David. “She’s gonna win us big bucks. I told you, she’s the best.”

“Yeah, whatever you say.”

“You ought to believe in her more. And yourself, for that matter. I’m just trying to help you out here. When your stuck in the low class and she’s rolling in the big bucks, who’s gonna win? It’s gonna be her.”

“Damn,” said Jason. “You win. Fuck you, I’ll come.”

“Atta boy,” he said, patting him on the shoulder and walking away.

“Son of a bitch,” said Jason, “bamboozled me.”

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Silent As The Grave

He had always been the strong silent type. While she was in church, he killed men for the mafia.

Bernice came out of the community centre just as service ended, and they caught up. They left the church together, and stopped to talk for fifteen minutes. Then she walked around to the back of the church where she’d parked the car.

As she turned the lock, she looked up and saw him across the street. For a moment, he stared. Then he walked away from the hospital he had just left.

She saw him again at the coffee shop. She almost turned around and left. She knew she should. She moved straight to order a flat white, and sat down at her usual table.

The man stood up, moving from the table and entering the toilet. She stood and snuck a look. He was reviewing the obituary section. Feeling a bit perverse, she sat back down and nursed her coffee.

He returned and they sat in silence. He remained on that same page for half an  hour. She finished her coffee, stood up and left.

She felt she was coming apart at the seams, everything in her body falling loose, and she tried to pull herself together. Nothing was enough, and she kept walking down the street.

She went home and cleaned the whole house. She put the kids to bed early that night. She couldn’t say nothing to her husband when he came home. He inquired, wrapping his hands around her waist from behind. She let him kiss her, and make his conclusions. She couldn’t even dare to speak.

He fell asleep beside her, and still she couldn’t sleep. She pulled herself from his arms and went downstairs to stare out the window.

She made it easy for him. He shot her through the window, in the heart.

In a way, existing without her body was a relief. It was just like in the bible, transcending the flesh. She became a whole entity of herself, unbound by those feelings, good or bad. There was more dignity in it.

She watched her husband find her body, watched him cry his eyes out. There were no tears in eyes, no swelling in her chest. Yet she felt him in the air, and her heart broke.

Unable to watch anymore, she floated out of her old home, and searched for her murderer.

It figured he would be at the hospital. He lay in surgery, had been there for over an hour. The man in the hospital, the man from the coffee shop, didn’t kill her.

He might have saved her. And now he might die too.

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Coco’s Kitchen

She had always felt subconscious. It just didn’t matter what; there was always something. She had been the gossip queen in primary, because she had heard the things people said about her, and she wanted to fight back. When she made it to high school, she began to look at boys, and they began to look at her. So when word reached her that she was ugly, she did everything she could to fix it.

When she got her first boyfriend, she thought her plans had succeeded. But the word didn’t change, and she pushed him away. She saw pity in his eyes, and sinked only deeper into despair.

She hated herself so much that she’d take what she could get. She became ruthless, using every trick in the book to keep boyfriends, win popularity, and make people think she was pretty.

When bribes didn’t work, she turned to blackmail. When blackmail didn’t work, she tried scandal. She had more boyfriends in and out of her life than she could count by the time she graduated, and moved into the only career she had become truly good at in her education: a critic.

And another bonus: she won herself a husband when, at the age of 20, she became pregnant with his child. That white sent her higher than heaven, she was so happy. It was the best she could ever have planned for herself.

And then the fights began. It was only a matter of time. After only three months, the marriage went exactly the way of every other relationship she’d ever had. When he finally got tired of her bullshit, he began to regain control over her. Her whole life was a powerplay, but she had the most powerful weapon she could own this time: her baby girl.

When Joan popped out of her, she thought it was very impressive that he stayed, and supported her. When it ended, she looked from the baby to her husband and thought, We could really be a family.

After that, they did. Coco learned to cook, and she slipped from manipulator to housewife. A year later, they had another child, Nick.

They still fought, but not as often. Loveless it was, but that didn’t make Coco any less proud of what she had achieved. She had done it, succeeded where she had struggled all her life. She had domesticated a husband and was raising his children. She got everything she wanted from him, and she maintained his life. It was win/win.

So of course, her next ambition was to win her children’s love, to be their favourite. Because no matter who you are, she was certain that everyone played favourites; parents and children alike. She wanted popularity again.

She bribed them with toys and sweets, and it worked for a while. But their father never asked for anything, only listened, and loved them unconditionally. Soon, he became their favourite, and Coco got jealous.

Nick was full of passion, and like his mother, craved attention. Joan, like her father, was more loyal and mature. He tried to give Coco advice when she turned on him, but that only made her angrier. In the all-out battle that ensued, Nick took his father’s side and learned to hate his mother. Joan, however, felt sorry for her mother, and sometimes sided with her. This earned her brother’s hatred too, and when the family divorced, they were split by sex. The father kicked out Coco, and she took her daughter with her.

Joan took the arrangement calmly at first, but when Coco turned her anger onto her, she began to miss her brother. At school she apologised, and he told his father to pick her up with them after school ended. From then on, Coco was alone.

Alone in her kitchen, she began to break down. She stopped cooking, and slowly became thinner. After ending up in hospital, she started on rehab. Joan visited her sometimes, apologising and keeping her company. After a while, she stopped though, and Coco learned to get along without her.

When she returned home, she took up cooking again. But the food often remained in the fridge.

When she discovered her sister had died, she relapsed. She spent some months in the hospital until she realised her sister had left behind a daughter, Melody. She fought for custody and won.

Melody saved her. She didn’t force her to do anything, but reminded her how much she loved food. Coco cooked first for Melody, and then for herself.

She wrote an article about it, and soon began to spread the message further, earning her own show and inspiring kids everywhere. But none more than her own daughter, Melody.

The premise of the show is basically Coco cooking for her family, friends or fans. Sometimes she’ll cook for the public. The point of this is to show support and camaraderie for those either suffering or those who believe in her message, that it is okay to be yourself and that kindness heals all wounds.


Friday Fictioneers: Gazebo


She hugged the snow jacket over her black turtleneck, bracing against the wind. The place was packed; there were balloons, food stands and performers in the centre of the room.

Rachel made her way through the crowd, towards Paul. “Where is she?”

“Stop complaining. I know you don’t get out much. I was starting to worry about you.”

“There’s a reason I don’t get out. It’s bloody cold.”

“Please, I’m worried about you. She’s not like you. She can’t just shut herself indoors all day.”

“You can’t ransom her off whenever want to speak to me.”

“Then talk to me.”

Prompt from Friday Fictioneers


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