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
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,
yochien: nursery, where Japanese babies can tell
if other babies do not know this word
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.