Japan

February 21st, 2005 by Shawkat Haider

Toronto Whispers

You are far away
Amid all the splendors of Sakura
And murmurs of colossal Spring;
Merging hopes in azurine sky
With the vast unseen meadows.

I can hear the whispers
Touching Toronto skyline
Saving last dews at the gates of dawn. (more…)

February 21st, 2005 by Shawkat Haider

Tokyo Morning

Commuting to the Office in Tokyo

An eight-car train is sliding into the platform, making a deep, hollow sound. Here I arrived a few minutes ago to catch this very train. It is still early. My eyes demand sleep in earnest. I rub them slowly. I can see some fifty other people on the platform, also waiting for the train. There are several children in school uniform, but most of the people appear to be office workers from the way they dress. Their dark suits glow in the heated morning light of August. The train comes to a halt, and the doors open. No one gets off. I step into the train and then look at my watch. It is 7:15 in the morning.

To reach my office, I take the Odakyu Line, one of many commuter trains connecting Tokyoís suburbs and the Shinjuku Station, Japanís busiest used by more than three million people a day. Each morning, hundreds of thousands of office workers and students take this line to migrate into the heartland of Tokyo. And for them, the cityís extensive network of trains and subways provides by far the most convenient and affordable means of transportation. But during the morning and evening peak hours, taking trains and subways is probably the least comfortable way to commute. They simply become overcrowded.

But at 7:15, it is not yet painful. I leave early to bypass the peak hours. All the seats are taken, but I can still find myself sufficient and comfortable space to read a book, or just to become lost in contemplation. The train is already on the move. It makes constant and industrial rhythms. I rub my eyes again. I stand by the left side door and look out the window. The train runs through residential areas, and familiar roads and houses greet me every morning. They do not change often, but they have expressions. Today, over one balcony of a deep red four-story apartment, a white futon is already hung and aired in the morning sun. (more…)

October 2nd, 2003 by Masato Hasewaga