Happy Mother’s Day (from around the world)!

A Saturday night potluck dinner among friends morphed in a celebration of our mothers. Irrespective of what language we may speak, or where we may come from, one thing is absolute- in a world filled with borders, our love for our mothers has no borders. 

Jenson recommends: Telling your mum, in whatever language you may call her, that you love her. =) Happy Mother’s Day, mummy! I love you.

– Jenson

Note: This video was a collaboration by the 2014/15 MA TESOL class (and friends) of the University of Leeds.  

– Jenson

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3.11

There are some dates that are never lost; they become part of your life’s internal analog- my mother’s birthday on January 16th (because she’s my mum, and I love her); my sister’s birthday on April 12th, 1990 (because she consistently reminds me); August 12th, 2007 when my granny unexpectedly passed away, and who I still miss every single day; February 11th, 2009– the first time I fell madly in love; and March 11th, 2011 when the earth shook.

It’s been four years since the tragedy, and I cannot help but remember those who lost their lives in the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. May you sleep well, rest well and be eternally happy. May your families see your souls in the stars above, your smiles with the rising sun, and forever feel the warmth of your spirits with the gust of the gentlest of winds.

The beauty of rest is that when you close your eyes you dream, and when you dream- however long or short- you are at peace.

Rest in peace.

Tokyo 2013.

Tokyo 2013.

 

– Jenson

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Eternally (Cool) Japan

A stack of unopened textbooks sit besides me, willing me to open them. They go unnoticed as I play with the teabag dangling from my rapidly cooling cup of green tea mixed with Australian honey, and dash of freshly squeezed lemon at the suggestion of my best friend, Nadia. This sore throat is unforgiving- I can barely utter a word. Google has just sent an unwelcome reminder of a list of things that I should must do. I ignore it. Joining the gym can wait. I have already put it off three months. Okay, five months. Fine- a year and a half, but who’s counting?  And, let it be known that in Samoa well-fed men are considered quite the catch, and I have every intention of visiting Samoa someday.

I need to return an unread book to the library. I should have read the chapter on “Surveys: Students’ difficulties”. Oh, the irony. Most importantly, I admit, I must e-mail Jamiee.

We met almost seven years ago in Japan in the coastal town of Namerikawa- our then home when we were both English teachers on the JET Programme. Built like a (beautiful) brick house, she was the first person I had ever met from New Zealand, although she sounded unmistakably Australian. I should delete that. She wouldn’t like me calling her…Australian. It doesn’t matter. She knows it’s written with love. I can’t believe it has been so long ago since we first met. Yes, it is cliché, but when I blink my eyes, the memories are still palpable. I can remember us biking along the meandering Namerikawan coast, and Jaimee shouting, rather aggressively, “Jenson, work those glutes!” Our drunken karaoke nights, she “singing” The Beatles “Yellow Submarine“, and I ending with a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace, and Jamiee enquiring, “Who died?”. A year after we met, I wished her sad goodbye in Namerikawa. It was a tight , final embrace. She was off to drink in Osaka one last time before returning home, and I was about to leave the comforting serenity of Toyama to have a quick rendezvous with my now ex in Shanghai.

Jamiee was gone, and Namerikawa felt empty- there were no more daily after-work phone calls, witty comments and uncontrollable laughter (mine, not hers). I was trapped in the eye of the storm- chaos was everywhere, but for me the resounding stillness grew heavier-unshakable. Namerikawa had forever changed. “At least there is Shanghai,” I comforted myself.

Weeks later, in Kansai, looking for the departure gate, I looked up and I saw a blonde haired woman with a Japanese umbrella (who else would have an umbrella as their carry-on?), and, of course, that broad (beautiful) back. I really should not have described her as… Australian, earlier.

Wearing, quite fittingly, a koala t-shirt, I run towards the woman, and sure enough, it was my kiwi. Equally shocked, she embraced me, and started talking, and I listening, about her escapades. It was like the months before, our enduring routine, only this time it would be our last. I insisted that we take a photo. Not before she insisted that I capture her with her red umbrella open. “Like the perfect geisha,” I responded. I quickly placed the camera on my luggage, set the timer, and we both gave our best Japanese peace sign.

Almost 6 years ago at Kansai Airport, Japan.

Almost 6 years ago at Kansai Airport, Japan.

The announcement was made. Jaimee needed to board her flight. We hugged, tighter this time. My friend was now gone.

Japan is cool- the eccentricity of Akihabara’s electronic district, opulence of Ginza on a spring Sunday evening, rotating sushi bars on the neon lit streets of Shinjuku, falling cherry blossoms at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto, quirky characters that fill Namba when the sun has set and moon is high, Naoshima and Yayoi Kusama’s captivating (and arguably lonely) yellow pumpkin sculpture silently sitting by the sea, the many matsuri (festivals) that charge the summer air with happiness and brilliant displays of light, and of course, the people- hospitable, kind and always gracious.

Instead of doing what I often need to do, I dream- usually dancing off to a happy memory etched in the past, or constructing an idea of a future utopia, but always, seemingly, evading the present.

I should really start my assignment, but ANA’s Cool Japan videos distract me. Natsukashii (懐かしい) or a beloved memories, of Jaimee, Japan, and my adventures are, for these moments, my present. I will begin tomorrow.

Jenson recommends: Reminiscing about the past can sometimes be comforting.

P.S. I also recommend, if you get the opportunity to fly with ANA, do it. The best airline service you will ever receive. (n_n)

– Jenson

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A Hopeful Valentine

Love is patient, love is kind
Although I am alone, I won’t be defined
For residing deep down inside of me
Is endless space
For someone to someday truly love me.

The Rose

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. (n_n)

– Jenson

 

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2014- A Photo Blog

Tumultuous is not a word that I would like to use to describe 2014, or any year for that matter, but it somehow seems to be the most honest insight into my year gone by. It was full of exciting meanders, paralysing dead ends, indescribable euphoria(s) and challenging endeavours. It is indicative of the unpredictability of life, and a sobering reminder that perhaps some things are just written in the stars.

Like each year that has preceded it, I have learned and hopefully grown from it. I hope you enjoy my brief journey into 2014.

January

My American friends and world travellers, Nicki and Paul, visited Trinidad and Tobago at the beginning of the year, bringing with them their gorgeous daughter, Mahi. I had until then, still been plagued reverse culture shock after living in Japan for five years. They had inadvertently helped me rediscover the beauty of my country, and it was truly spectacular.

A flock of bright red Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago, make their way to their nests on the mangroves of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.

A flock of bright red Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago, make their way to their nests on the mangroves of the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.

February

An exceptionally busy month at work meant that my camera spent most of its time with its lens covered. However, on an unusually hot February afternoon, my mother returned home with a bag of tomatoes boasting of its unbelievable price. 39 tomatoes cost only… TT$2.50 (US$0. 37)! Equally shocked, I had to snap it. And yes, we ate tomatoes that entire week.

A bag full of tomatoes. Special thanks to my mother's hand. =)

A bag full of tomatoes. Special thanks to my mother’s hand. =)

March

Carnival is the personification of what Trinidad and Tobago- colourful, playful, daring and sometimes, cheeky (pun intended). I believe, quite vehemently,that no picture can truly capture the happiness that Carnival brings to my country on these two days. However, on this Carnival Tuesday in Port of Spain the radiance emanating from this beautiful masquerader gives, I believe, a little insight into the unequivocal euphoria of what we call The Greatest Show on Earth.

A beautiful masquerader bursting with colour on Carnival Tuesday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

A beautiful masquerader bursting with colour on Carnival Tuesday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

April

One of the things I miss most about Japan is the sweeping beauty of the cherry blossom. In Trinidad and Tobago, around the same time as hanami, or cherry blossom viewing in Japan, our tropical cherry blossom, the poui, brings the same joys with its pink petals.

This photo was ironically taken at a Hindu cremation site in Central Trinidad. The cherry blossom mirrors one of the ideals of Hinduism, which is reincarnation. The cherry blossom and poui, only last for about two short weeks, but one thing is certain; as devastating as its lost is, there is a comforting notion that it will bloom again one day.

Chasing 'Trini' cherry blossoms. Caroni, Trinidad and Tobago.

Chasing ‘Trini’ cherry blossoms. Caroni, Trinidad and Tobago.

May

I was very adamant about not going to Mayaro Beach on this particular weekend, but my mother was forcefully insistent, and my sister and I vexatiously agreed. The next morning, the entire beach was carpeted in seaweed which gave it an eerie beauty. This was a stunning silver lining to a predictably boring weekend.

A seaweed carpeted Mayaro Beach, Trinidad.

A seaweed carpeted Mayaro Beach, Trinidad.

June

My best friend, Chantal, and I escaped Trinidad for brief getaway in the extraordinarily beautiful island of Barbados. On this day, we took a long bus ride from Rockley, where we were being warmly hosted by my friend, Clyde, in search of the highly recommended Bottom Bay on the eastern coast of the country. When we stepped off the bus, we got lost, thanks mainly to my unsurprising lack of direction. Noticing the indecisiveness in our eyes, a kind-hearted Bajan woman walked with us to the direction of the beach, and this is the postcard that embraced us. Our  paradise was temporarily found.

Bottom Bay, Barbados

Bottom Bay, Barbados

July

This photo of my beautiful best friend, Nadia, is the only photo I was most certain that would be in this blog. It represents many things-my love of black and whites; the beginning of (hopefully) a future exhibition called “Sputnik Sweethearts” named after Haruki Muramaki’s book “Sputnik Sweetheart” and the first Russian Earth satellite “Sputnik”; but most of all, it represents of the depth of my more than decade long friendship with the wittiest, and one of the most amazing people, I know.

"Nadia" taken with my iPod.

August

I had been to the bamboo cathedral a very long time ago, but I had this urge to see again, and as usual, Chantal delivered. It was much smaller than I remembered, but it didn’t take away from its grandeur. I had told Chantal that it would be a perfect place to get married, and then the winds blew, and the bamboo began singing in what I hope was in agreeance.

Bamboo Cathedral, Chaguaramas, Trinidad.

Bamboo Cathedral, Chaguaramas, Trinidad.

September

September is a blur. It left as quickly as it came. I departed from my tropical Trinidad for a cool Leeds to pursue my Masters, and it was an utterly enjoyable albeit busy month. I remember walking around the campus and thought two things- one, the constant blue skies were atypical of the moody British weather I had often heard of; and two, the creeping red vines hinted at the changing weather, and metaphorically this particular moment in my life.

Creeping on. University of Leeds, United Kingdom. (Taken with my iPod)

Creeping on. University of Leeds, United Kingdom. (Taken with my iPod)

October

A class autumnal trip to Lake District affirmed how incredibly breathtaking the English countryside it. I also have never counted so many sheep in my life.

Sheep, Lake District, United Kingdom.

Sheep, Lake District, United Kingdom.

November

November reigned in the realities of academia in England. My evenings were spent borrowing and returning books from the library. Along the way, I would always pass the Majorie and Arnold Ziff building, and would think “It’s quite lovely.”

Majorie and Arnold Ziff Building, University of Leeds.

Majorie and Arnold Ziff Building, University of Leeds.

December

A boyhood dream was realised- I had made it to Turkey, and it was everything I had imagined it to be. There is an unexplainable romanticism that permeates Istanbul at its quietest moments. I felt somewhat hypnotised when I looked at the Sophia Hagia this night, but a hovering sadness prevented being lulled in. A few days earlier I had found out, very unexpectedly, that the one person I had ever loved, was now married, and the loneliness still lingers.

A lonely Sophia Hagia at night. Istanbul, Turkey.

A lonely Sophia Hagia at night. Istanbul, Turkey.

Happy New Year, everyone! (n_n)

Jenson recommends: Measuring your happiness, love, adventures, hopes, dreams and successes by only how you choose to define it. =)

– Jenson

 

Have a look at:

2013- A Photo Blog

2012-A Photo Blog

2011- A Photo Blog

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Love is…

The scariest uncertainty is, and perhaps always will be, love.

– Jenson Deokiesingh

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The Real World Cup Winners

In the grand scale of the World Cup, this is story is small, almost forgettable, but definitely warrants mentioning for its simple, unexpected beauty.

A young Japanese boy cleans up after Japan's draw to Greece on Thursday, June 19, 2014. (Source: Dailymail.co.uk)

A young Japanese boy cleans up after Japan’s draw to Greece on Thursday, June 19, 2014. (Source: Dailymail.co.uk)

According to reports, after a goalless draw to Greece on Thursday, June 19, 2014, Japanese supporters earned the respect and admiration of spectators around the world by doing something that is so intrinsically Japanese. The Samurai Blue supporters, armed with hundreds of plastic bags, cleaned up after themselves quietly leaving the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil in the same condition as they found it.

Japanese supporters waving blue plastic bags as they support the Samurai Blue. (Source: Dailymail.co.uk)

Japanese supporters waving blue plastic bags as they support the Samurai Blue. (Source: Dailymail.co.uk)

Even after a disappointing  4-1 loss to Colombia, and subsequent elimination from the 2014 World Cup, Japanese supporters continued this altruistic act that is so ingrained in its culture, and truly captures the Japanese spirit.

A Japanese supporter cleans up the stadium he used. (Source: NBC News)

A Japanese supporter cleans up the stadium he used. (Source: NBC News)

Japan may be out of the World Cup but arguably won the respect of world.

 

Jenson recommends: In the world’s greatest sporting event, never forget that it is often times the stories that are rarely told that are the most powerful.

 

– Jenson

 

 

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