Sunrise to Japan and Other Thoughts

Sunrise, Ulleungdo


It’s 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night in Korea and I’m typing presentation slides on how to write an essay about scenes from Baraka for the uni students in tomorrow evening’s lecture, and Billie Holiday’s singing through the Mac and there’s a white candle burning on the coffee table and a fluorescent bulb beaming from the ceiling and Facebook is full with Bin Laden and Harper and opinions and a Martin Luther quote and the New York Times is flying giant flags with stripes and stars and big fat capital-letter headlines about a dead man and a compound and justice and revenge and the people are happy and the people are angry and my west-coast and east-coast and middle-Canada friends are fuming and sad about the new blue map and one of them used the word crushed and I’m sorry I didn’t pull it together to apply for an absentee ballot and I didn’t mean to be absentee from my country, though I saw a photo of it last week from a student who had been there on vacation, her and her Korean family sitting in front of a lake somewhere near Vancouver, she said, with a crazy tall mountain stretching behind them all the way out of the frame and holy shit did I miss it and I’ve got six-year olds in the morning and a cup of mango tea to keep me awake well past midnight and I miss the long nights of writing when I had time with the words and the thoughts but for now, a sunrise, witnessed from an island as far east as you can go in Korea except for Dokdo, that spit even closer to Japan, a small stone of territory claimed by both countries with accusations and ancient maps, but either way the path I watched these rays pierce the cloud from was pretty far east in the far far east and the waves were foaming up against the rock as the dark lifted and I wanted to share it, and remember it tonight.


14 thoughts on “Sunrise to Japan and Other Thoughts

  1. Thank you for this, Taiter. I too didn’t mean to be absent from my own country (from my own life, maybe). It’s good to read your words.

  2. You are the one who will have changed by the time you
    come back, and you really are like the sunshine and the
    rays beaming off the water. I love you much!

  3. fabulous photo, and extremely great writing, You are a new and profoundly gifted writer. Very proud of your work
    and keep it coming.!

  4. Hi Courtney. Your writing continues to amaze me. You sound a wee bit homesick. When you get back after 2 yrs away you’ll find things haven’t really changed that much, you’ll pick up where you left off, and you will be so glad you did what you are doing. We love you.

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