Can I?

Can I?

I ask myself this everyday

Can I?

Be someone proud

Can I?

Be someone who goes to Japan

A dream within a dream

Living outside

An existential crisis

Can I?

Live with being me

A contradiction 

Up and down

Travel or no


Frozen inbetween

Can I?

Be a father

A man to lead generations

Children who look up

To the guy who was meant to lead the way

I don’t know

I’m drowning

In indecision

I’m shattered

Pick myself back together

Can I?

Survive the pandemic

Living alone

It’s scary

I feel the weight

Unknown shadows

On my shoulders

Can I?

Be the man

Inside my mind


Connection to culture

Can I?

Keep moving


I cry

Can I?


I’m suffocating

Can I?

Live with myself

Can I?

Not be drunk

Making excuses

Can I?

Listen to myself

Find the answer

Can I?

Bear the pain

Move beyond suicide

Can I?

Explore Hokkaido

Eat ramen in an izakaya

Drink sake in a brewery

Be the gaijn in Roppongi

Dance awkwardly to K-pop

Dive into Kyushu

Drinking shochu

Can I?

Lie on a beach in Okinawa

Speak of the habushu myth

In bars with old men

Still trying to get it up

Can I?

Sip awamori

See kame

Melded before me

Can I?

Accept the things

That can’t be controlled

I don’t know

I’m trying

Forgive me

I will

One day

I see the dawn


Can I?

I can


A dream


The life I’m living

At last

I’m here


I’m living

A feeling

Without fear


Clear eyes

Blue skies

The future is bright 



When I was a boy

My father used to tell me it was a man’s world

And to grow up meant to trade comfort for duty

My mother taught me how to make art

I used to watch her carve kokeshi every day

Their faces marked with funny little grins

Like they were in on a joke that only the two of us understood

And when she died it felt like a part of me went with her

So, I preserved the rest of my childhood inside a kokeshi

Innocence chiseled in wood

Sculpted out of memory

Sometimes, my daughter takes hold of the child I once was

And runs around the garden laughing and yelling

When she squeezes too hard I let her know

And I tell her stories of obaasan

Until the day comes when she’s making figurines for her own family

And we’re all just raw material stacked on shelves

Destined to outlive our bodies