Finding Your Feet in Kofu (Unitas Student)

I have to admit, I was heavily aided in my preparation to live in Japan (shoutout to my school’s coordinators, James-san and Hide-san for letting me harass them to no end about the various nitty gritties that I was quite unnecessarily bothered by on hindsight). Yet, there are some aspects to living in Japan, or…

Kofu, Week 1 — New Beginnings

Before I left Singapore for Japan, I told anyone who had to put up with my annoyingly incessant conversations about the latter that I was looking forward to the many challenges that would invariably fall my way as I navigate foreign lands on my own. Hoo boy, did I get one the moment I stepped…

Nomadic Affair — Chapter II

I was debating for a bit, if I should be publishing this, mostly because I didn’t want to overly dramatise moving abroad, and partly because I didn’t want to jinx what could possibly by the biggest life decision I’ve made in my entire life, all 30 years of it. As I write this, less than…

No More Trains Left

I found myself at a crowded train station, packed to the brim with folks from all walks of life. Some were friends I grew up with, mucking around by the playground when I was a little boy. I spotted a few of them, and I waved. They waved back. The train platforms stretched to no…

Chinatown: Tradition’s Last Frontier

I’ll admit — when I was younger, I never enjoyed going to Chinatown. Not only was it out of the way — requiring bus/train transfers — but it was run down and seemed to be in a perpetual state of chaos, like a large colony of ants scattering about after being sprayed with water. Wide,…

Commentary: Travel Writing

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a travel writer. When I discovered my passion for writing some eight years ago, it was the very genre that prompted me to make a career out of it. Grandiose dreams of travelling the world and writing about it sprang to mind,…

Pursuing the Autumn Dusk: A Photo Essay

Highway after highway, the bus carrying several passengers, including myself, strode effortlessly along. I remember looking out of the window, watching neat rows of houses pass me by. “I wonder how life is like in those neighbourhoods,” I would muse over and over. Eventually, the houses disappeared, and we crossed over a deep gorge —…

Directionless in Tokyo

On 28 October, 2018, together with my parents, I embarked on what was my first ever trip to Japan. Although it was meant to be a family vacation, it was also an opportunity for me to ascertain for myself if Japan really is how I had made it out to be. You see, for the…

Kyoto-Bound

Some years back, I wrote this for someone I used to cherish. We both dreamt of moving to Japan one day, so we kept each other motivated, and this was how I went about it. Over time, people change, and perhaps my writing has, too. But, the same wistful desire remains.   She was nervous….

Playing Marco Polo: Reliving the Silk Road

The searching light shone upon the world by great explorers of the Middle Ages begins to flicker, and for millennials, few of their names bear any significance at all. Interestingly however, prominent figures like Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo appear vaguely stored in our memories, perhaps from the odd atlas book we had skimmed through…