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Sirens’ Song

Sirens’ Song

The train whisks us past Osaka. It’s the end of autumn. Beautiful green foliage is giving way to ambers and tangerines. Smoke-stacks in the distance, puncturing the clear blue sky. Past grimy – well grimy by Japanese standards – houses with rusted steel gates and darkened wood, not without their charms.

Kamo River Kyoto

The allure of having a crush on someone lies not in the virtues of the recipient of our sentiments, but in our ignorance of their inner demons and shortcomings. The overwhelming emotions can lead to disastrous consequences. Every trip to Japan feels exactly like that. Its visible charms obscure the problems that one does not face until one lives here. The call of the sirens is strong.


A lone figure stood by the train tracks, cigarettes between his lips. We locked gaze for a split second. I liked his navy blue jacket.

Jackets. Many of the Japanese blue collar uniforms are so well-designed I had to stop in my tracks to study them. Discreetly of course. Cerulean blue paired with midnight, separated by strips of silver hi-vis tapes. A Japan Airlines mechanic bent down to pick up the change from the vending machine, revealing panels of elastics hidden by overlapping fabrics at the lower back of his jumpsuit. A cleaner in an aqua coat; dissected in the middle by a matte waterproof zipper. A beautiful shade of aqua, I might add, and no less noteworthy than the sound I’m imagining that zipper will make as it glides smoothly up to the collar.


As someone who prefers rice to breads, I don’t usually eat sandwiches. But when I do give them the occasional try, they are made of milk bread and stuffed with persimmons and a generous dollop of homemade whipped cream. We were taking a break from our shoot as it started drizzling and decided to try this quaint looking cafe in the vicinity; completely unaware of the popularity of the place. They roast their own beans and the sandwiches they made was superb. We sat by the kitchen bar so we could watch them slice every sandwich with precision, filled with egg mayo and ham, or sweet slices of seasonal fruits. Our accidental find turned out to be our breakfast favourite. We enjoyed the sandwiches and coffee so much that we came back two more times. More information on Ichikawaya coffee can be found here.

Hills and mountains. Surrounding this valley of a city. Orange, greens and reds. The train is slowing down. Wonder what it’s like to live in this city as the evergreen leaves turn into warm hues slowly and surely everyday. We often take the things we see everyday for granted. The lamp post outside our home. The bus stop we walk by everyday. The gaggle of grandmothers congregating in the park. The vending machine that never fails to replenish itself. The home we live in. The partner we live with. The life we lead.

I fear I may be doing the same every time I fantasise about uprooting my life in Shanghai and living in a city like Kyoto.

The Haruka train draws into Kyoto station. I step out of the train, swallowing the sights and sounds of the hubbub. It’s all so familiar. Almost like home. Again.

The song of the sirens grows louder.


I’m wearing ROSEN’s upcoming collection that will be released in the next few days.

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