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2 poems by Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana

A Personal Glossary

daikon: a phallic white radish diced for soup,

some grow to small human size

enka: a sentimental karaoke song

and form of seduction

gamman: endurance

of the workplace, losing face, cheating partners

irasshai: welcome to my home,

but stack shoes in the rack

kobe niku: marbled beef

from cows fed beer and massaged

netsuke: sensual, miniature carvings decorating swords,

Japan, like a netsuke, I carry you

sumimasen: sorry, thank you, excuse me,

repeated insincerely

yochien: nursery, where Japanese babies can tell

if other babies do not know this word

Coming Home

My sister tells me I needn’t speak slowly

and make exaggerated movements.

I wait for the Sainsbury’s cashier

to pack my bags like in Fujiya,

for taxi doors to open for me.

I miss the driver’s white gloves.

The trains are grubby and I crave

cold Asahi Super Dry from the trolley

with the pink-suited bowing lady

and the eel obento boxes.

The sushi sucks and I can only find

California rolls, salmon or tuna,

but not my favourite, oily engawa:

the tail fin muscle of a flatfish.

I miss miso soup for a hangover

and I miss the word for a hangover:

futsukayoi (second day drunkenness).

I miss what I first heard as jibberish,

on the phone a high-pitched

moshi moshi: Hello; ladies giggling

at men, with their hands over mouths,

and all of the other annoying things,

right down to the smell

of the fading tatami.


Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana has a Masters in Writing Poetry. This year she

is published or forthcoming in Fenland Poetry Journal, Ink Sweat and

Tears, The Ofi Press and Diamond Twig Poem of the Month. In 2019 she

performed a sequence of her poems at the American Writers Program

conference in Oregon.


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