This story was originally published on Spoonful — Insights on foods, cultures, and humans

Eating is a joy for me.

But sometimes I get sick of myself thinking about food too often. When I’m sitting at my desk, my thoughts tend to wonder what I’m going to make for dinner or the restaurants I want to try next. And I tell myself “Stop playing and get to work.” But still, I reach for a snack. There are times when I feel like I’m a sad animal who lives to eat. …

Photo by Freddy G on Unsplash

On a late September day, my older cousin “Masa” sent out a message to our family’s chat group that he was getting married in December.
Masa, who is eight years older than me, is a fun and cool guy. But, I had rarely heard of his relationships or marriage. So I was surprised and happy to hear this news.

But unfortunately, I live far away from Japan. Considering the corona pandemic situation, it was difficult for me to fly back to my home and attend the wedding. …

On the way back I went to view the room of a shared flat in Shöneberg, I was walking down Potsdamer straße, and checking out restaurants and little cafes as I passed. The sun was tilting to the west after 5 pm. The orangish-yellow light gave a sentimental touch to the street tree leaves and the white facade of the tall apartment buildings. I looked at the shadow of pointed roofs of a church. It was a charming landscape, I thought, but I felt hopeless.
“Oh, I will not get that room.” I figured.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I talked with the current tenants…

As my fellow birdy, Medea, mentioned in her article, the language you speak shapes your perception of the reality around you. And as you learn and speak different languages, you will develop different versions of yourself.
In this article, I want to share my experience related to this. I was not born multilingual. So here I want to share my insight into how learning and speaking English as a second language impacted my identity.

Detachment from the native culture

Since a child, I have been keen on learning English as I was fascinated by the different speaking manner from Japanese.
“I think…”, “I like….”, “I…

I’ve longed for a journey in great nature, walking and camping for days.

I have yearned for an adventure movie-like experience where a young girl overcomes all difficulties and grows stronger.

It was four years ago, in May.
A friend asked me to go for a trip to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, as her old friend got assigned there. To be honest, I didn’t even know such a country exists.

When I looked into it, I found out that the country is surrounded by mountains has numerous trekking destinations. …

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

May 5th was my grandmother’s eighty-eighth birthday.

Turning 88 years old is quite a thing. So, in Japan, this occasion has a special name “Beiju (米寿)”, which is symbolized by an image of rice harvest and the golden colour. Family gatherings are held to reunite and celebrate the longevity of darling grandma or grandpa.
But, at this time of the pandemic, we did not get to celebrate as we planned.

As my parents and sister live in urban areas, they decided not to visit her this time as it requires travels on different kinds of transportations. So they avoided to…

Daito Pagoda of Koyasan (Photo by Iroha)

“Maido, ōkini!!” (“Thanks” in Kansai dialect)
Delivery guys shout at us as they leave the kitchen from the back door. Foodstuff deliveries arrive incessantly to the large kitchen every morning. We open the boxes to check if we have everything to prepare the dinner. Sweet potatoes, aubergines, and Shitake mushrooms are for Tempuras, and sesame tofu is the famous delicacy of this mountain.

Mount Koya is located in Wakayama Prefecture in the middle-west of Japan’s main island. There are over 50 temples covering over the little Koya town located on the mountain top. I was standing in the kitchen in…

“Cheep, cheep, cheep….” (Hey, Hey, How’s it going? Is it nice over there?)

“Peep, peep…” (Hey. It’s not too bad. But not like an ideal place. I’ll see…)

Two little birds checking on each other across the sea.
They once have met in a windy city called Edinburgh as they came to practice how to fly. Both have just left their old nests, one in East Asia and the other one near European Alps. After getting to fly better, they headed to different paths.
Being so curious about the world, one continued to explore following the wind, and the other went…

Photo by Kristijan Arsov on Unsplash

Hey, Medea. Thanks for the sharing.
I understand how you felt confused about the “time lag” in the preparedness of the society while you already noticed what’s going to happen.

I was throwing back on how things around me have changed.
I found the text I send to my mom and sister in Japan in late February saying, “I saw many events cancelled in Japan. But, is the coronavirus stuff really going around??
How much I sounded carefree back then.

The situations in these two places look almost inverted within 2 weeks or so. The stats of epidemic in Germany…

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

COVID-19 is getting overwhelming for our societies these days.
I thought I should take note of my life at this time. As a record and reflection.

Here, on this platform, I’m going to start a journal about thoughts on different aspects of our life under the pandemic, hoping to share it with other people.

Please note that it is also for personal record purposes, so it tends to be subjective and monotonous. I’m going to write based on “this is how I felt”.

The Corona Pandemic Response in Berlin

I think the alertness has become visible here in Berlin since the second week of March or…

Moe Hirohara

Japanese writer based in Berlin. https://spoonful.space/

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