(from the series Chasing Sakura)

A traditional teahouse on a light-dappled path in a gorgeous rural setting, replete with cherry blossom tree in bloom
A traditional teahouse on a light-dappled path in a gorgeous rural setting, replete with cherry blossom tree in bloom
Teahouse

Every time we go away together, I wonder if my husband is plotting to kill me. For us, holidays usually involve exploring a place to the point of exhaustion while sampling the local snacks. The first time we went hiking was on Scafell Pike with my pal Sara. As my then-boyfriend didn’t have any suitable footwear, I lent him my boots. This left me with a pair of hi-tops, which I figured would be fine (I’d done no research on Scafell Pike whatsoever, apart from finding a cute Airbnb nearby). To everyone’s surprise, I bounded up that hill like a goat on springs. I then descended like a drunk in a war. …


(from the series Chasing Sakura)

Beyond a zebra crossing on a wide road, the beginnings of an old Tokyo neighbourhood
Beyond a zebra crossing on a wide road, the beginnings of an old Tokyo neighbourhood
Minutes from the museum

Due to the back-and-forth nature of our trip, we had two days in Tokyo before we were to leave it. We’d be back in the weeks to come but we craved a taste. All those images fed through film and TV: the clamour of night-time arcades; dress-up karaoke booths; clusters of skyscrapers; neon lights pinging off cabs and rivers. How do you begin to absorb a city of Tokyo’s scale in mere hours?

From the safety of a window in Shibuya train station we watched the infamous scramble crossing below. All at once, the lights turn green for pedestrians in every direction. The streams of bodies clash and mix and eventually dissipate, like the lines of the Union flag exploding. I could take this, no big deal. If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my adaptability. The fact that I was dropping off and startling myself awake every twenty seconds was mere biology — jet lag is jet lag. …


(From the series Chasing Sakura)

The back of my husband’s head as he looks into a packed Tokyo subway train
The back of my husband’s head as he looks into a packed Tokyo subway train
Not quite rush hour.

For someone who won’t even break a novel’s spine, I’ve always fostered a love of the out-of-place. As a child I was riveted by that hurricane uprooting Dorothy’s house and dropping it in the Land of Oz; transporting it from a world of black and white to one of so much colour it toppled over into gaudy. In my teen years, feeling like a total misfit among other teens who also felt like misfits, I became fascinated by Colonialism. …

About

The Crooked Side Street

Polis Loizou // writer and performance storyteller from Cyprus. Bisexual, loves to travel. Debut novel ‘Disbanded Kingdom’ published by Cloud Lodge Books.

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