A Life Distilled

Awamori Kame pots used for ageing.

You were born on the day of a storm

The weather matching the thunder and lightning

Rattling inside my chest from the moment

You were due to come into the world

I’ll never forget the gentle heartbeat

Or the tiny hand you placed into mine

The spark of potential that flashed in your eyes 

Was preserved inside the kame

Sealed with a handprint

Years of maturation

Cultivated with love and care

Until the boy became a man

And what a man you’ve become

Strong, brave, compassionate

Together we’ll drink the memories

That have aged in awamori

Nuanced flavours of a life

Still maturing 

Becoming more complex

With every new experience 

Set aside a fresh kame

Fill it with the hopes and dreams of your children

Teach them a life distilled 

Is a life worth cherishing

Book Reviews

Men Without Women Review: Haunting, Beautiful, Playful And Relatable

Haruki Murakami is arguably the most well-known Japanese author for western audiences. With a writing career that spans over forty years, Murakami has been delighting readers for decades with his signature surrealist humour and bittersweet reflection on the transience of life. 

While Murakami has written some wonderful novels, I’ve found myself gravitating towards his short stories lately. One of his most memorable collections is Men Without Women, a poignant series of short stories that delves into the concept of loneliness and what it means for different people. 

In the absence of female company, all of the men in this collection have lost something. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it’s obvious. The reader feels it in every word and that is Murakami’s talent on full display.

Continue reading “Men Without Women Review: Haunting, Beautiful, Playful And Relatable”



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


Kika Sai


The house of the heart

Where memories collect dust on the shelf

Bottled and stored for safe keeping

Childhood painted across every wall

Coloured gold and silver

A tableau for every joy and triumph

Weighed against sorrow and disappointment

Each room has been built to the exact measurement of your ribcage

No bone or strand left out of place

Preserved as a monument to all the lives that you touched

A system pumping the lifeblood of laughter

As they remember every moment spent in your company

Beautiful, bittersweet

Hana wa sakuragi, hito wa bushi

You are home


Lady Of The Snow

Have you heard the story of the yuki-onna?

The maiden with the heart as cold as ice

They say she preys on the souls of lost travellers

Leads them astray and devours their lifeforce

Cold bitches the lot of them

Well, maybe not all

I remember hearing about a yuki-onna

That fell in love with a one-legged man

Looking for his little brother on the mountain

In the middle of a blizzard in the dead of winter

Stupid? Stubborn? Suicide?

All the above

But the one-legged man dragged himself through an icy hell

To find his kin trapped in a cave

Some say the yuki-onna guided him

Others say she followed to test his resolve

But these are just rumours, you understand

Ghost stories, really

But I like to think that even ghosts

Remember what it’s like to be human