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Showing posts from October, 2008
"A Towel" is accepted by Chiron Review.


My mother cleans my grandfather’s apartment
every Thursday. She picks up a photo
documentary; Auschwitz.
“A heavy, dusty book,” my mother calls it.

I ask her, “Will I go to a war?” Her palms,
her warm palms are on my cheeks.

Mothers have strong,
strong hands to push away all the soldiers.

Holding a vacuum cleaner, she says,
“I want your pain.” In the smallest

room, my sister cries, the glowing teeth.
My grandfather watches TV with the loudest volume,

the loudest speech. The howling-wind.

He lost his voice seventeen years ago,
the stroke. This mouth and the quietness like people
in those black and white pictures.

Piles of Jewish clothes, glasses, and hair.
Half-naked bodies and holes in the ground.
Their stark tongues and dirt in their mouths.

A last word adheres to their throats.

After the atomic bomb in Hiroshima,
my grandfather stood alone on a black hill.
He saw nothing but smoke. No clothes. No shoes.

Burnt skin hanging from arms.

Empty Suitcase:
Meet the Fujimoto Parents

My death metal guy is going to meet my parents this Thanksgiving weekend. The Japanese usually do not celebrate the harvest, and I have never left school in the middle of semester to go to Japan. But, this November, my family is going to have a family reunion, a celebration for my parent’s 27th wedding anniversary, and my best friend’s wedding. Especially, I would like to visit my grandfather, who connected to a feeding tube now, before he takes off to the other side of the world.

When I told my plan to my guy, he said, “Why not.” It was the shortest answer that I have ever received. I made sure he knew how important this decision was and what “meet the parents” means in Japanese culture. It is more serious than a relationship between Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller.

My father is not a CIA agent but a regular office worker carrying a briefcase and his proud cellular phone. It has a radio system inside so he can listen to baseball games wherever he…

Christmas Gift Project 1

Empty Suitcase:
Olives on Pizza

Suddenly I received three hours. A meeting, class, and other commitments were canceled one after another the other day. Under the autumn sky, I did not know what I wanted to do for three hours. I could have gone back home to sleep or do massive loads of laundry, but I did not feel like it. I could have read articles and homepages that I was interested in, but I did not feel like fitting myself in a computer lab listening to other’s typing keys. I was just standing in the middle of campus with a vacant look.

Then, I felt my hunger. Deep inside my body, my stomach craved for pizza with lots of olives. I purchased it from the Courtside Café in the Student Activity Center. I like the pizza from the café because I can choose three favorite toppings— my favorite is X cheese, olives, and olives on pizza bread— and with a bottle of water, it costs five dollars. I usually order X-cheese, tomato and chicken but I did not feel like it that day.

If I have lunch at one…
Naoko is observing bloggers. Paparazzied by Ann Weedon (A photographer and The editor of IU South Bend Student Publications: 2009 issue of New Views on Gender.)
Empty Suitcase:
The Halloween Magic, the Nile’s Haunted House

Two weeks ago, I received a love letter from my death metal guy with an invitation for a date, which he called a blue night. I was kind of expecting a romantic blue night— under the stars and the moon in an autumn night sky— whatever it was to fulfill my fantasy, my girlish dream. The blue night was indeed haunted, an enchanted night, the Halloween magic.

I dressed up in a little red riding hood costume with a slightly shorter skirt and fishnet tights. Instead of waiting for him at a country home in the woods, I was waiting for him by the street-light pole in red high heels. “How much?” was a forbidden question to the innocent riding hood.

His car parked next to me and he rolled down his window. His face was exactly like the Joker from Batman: the Dark Night. I watched the movie on the day it came out with him and I fell in love with the Joker’s creepiness between his lonely and sadistic moments. His sense of humor—making a pe…
Toys for Tots

I would like to make an announcement…

This year the Preface will be conducting the toy drive here on Campus.

“In the United States, children now make up about 29% of the population, and 13% of our population lives in poverty. That means a lot of children in our country are waking up every Christmas with little to nothing under their Christmas tree” (Mabie, the Preface Oct 1, 2008).

I would like to support the event selling my art. If you are interested in purchasing pictures from Empty Suitcase, please email me at

$10 for one picture but if you would like to donate more, you are welcome!

I will donate all profit to the Preface.
Empty Suitcase:
A Violation of Parking

I received a parking ticket— a violation of parking— parking on the wrong side of the street. In my defense, I did not know that parking a car facing opposite of the other cars was against parking laws. Maybe it is common sense— dangerous to park on the wrong side of street— however, how would I learn this common sense with my Japanese and international backgrounds.

I recalled to myself that there was no such question on the driving exam— some people said that I can find the law on the internet or in other brochures at the license branches— again in my defense, I drive on the left side of the street with a right side steering wheel in Japan— why should I need to pay the fine by in the absence of being informed? I would like to say loudly that the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles should educate me with all the complicated, detailed driving rules on the driving exam or maybe have a lecture. Japanese driving branches often have driving lectures f…