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Tokyo Neon

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posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 04:07 PM
The bright lights and noise swamped over the bent gnarled woman as she trudged, head bowed, body broken by time, pushing slowly against the oncoming crowd.

None of the new ‘Tokyo Neon’ paid her any attention, unless it was to sneer sideways at the figure they perceived as a dinosaur, a relic, a reminder of days gone by that they were frankly glad to be rid of, dressed in her frayed, battered kimono and rattan hat.

No one noticed the gnarled face glance up at the harsh lights, eyes squinting, struggling vainly to see what could not ever be seen again. Had they looked, they would of seen a single tear trickle down the canyon map of lines that criss crossed her cheeks, and had they stopped to ask her if she was ok, would of heard her rasping voice almost whisper to the heavens.

‘Dear stars, where have you gone?’.

No one heard her words, and because of the harshly lit city all around, and the skies drowned out by the glare of an almost dystopian neon nightmare, the old stooped woman did not see the kerb that caused her fall.

Many fleetingly saw the falling figure, some even heard her call of despair as she tumbled, and some as they flowed around her even heard the slow thud of flesh onto concrete. No one stopped, no hands bent to aid her. Life moved on around her like a river parting for a jutting rock.

A taxi driver slammed to a stop, his car inches from her head. Horn blaring he leapt out raining a tirade of expletives at the stricken woman, not thinking, or caring, to assist. Time was money, and this old gnarled figure was wasting both.

No one saw the tears start to flow freely, nor the ragged breathing, and the tears in the kimono that rent the material almost to the waist might of well had been tears across the dark side of the moon for all the people cared.

The gnarled face looked up at the hazy light polluted skies, and face awash with tears called out, ‘Oh skies of my youth, my beautiful Tokyo, where are you?’

The skies remained defiantly neon, and the noise coupled with motion meant she didn't see who came to her aid. Two figures stooped down besides her, and with gentle hands under her arms, lifted her to her feet. She eyed them both slowly, and saw both were in beautiful blue and white kimonos, adorned with flowers, koi, swirling prints.

The smile lit her entire face, from her crinkled her deep brown eyes to toothless gums. She rubbed a bent and crippled thumb across the kimono and felt luxury. She revealed in the touch of another, as years starved of human contact had beaten her down.

The low voice from her side startled her, as it was silken, smooth, and beautiful to the ear. ‘Grandma San, please, our honour, let us help you, come, walk with us’

She didn’t think twice, reaching out blindly she held tightly to the offered arms.

‘Here, we should take this alley way here, my mother has a shop, we will get you a new kimono’. The old face looked up at the gentle figure. He was tall, heavily built, strong features and hair! what amazing hair. A top knot of old, so out of fashioned she hadn’t seen one since she was a young girl on her father.

The alley way loomed dark and foreboding, but suddenly widened to a beautiful two way road, and she gasped with joy at the shops all ablaze with lanterns, drums, shrines, and there, there in front of her, a kimono shop with patterns so exquisit she gasped as they flowed and swirled in the lights.

Her second companion called out. ‘Mama San, please, come quickly, we have a lady in need of help. She wears ragged clothes!’. The shop door opened slowly, and down floated and swayed a vision of beauty. Skin on her face a stark white, lips painted with tiny cherry blossoms of red, and eyes! what beautiful eyes offset with the gentlest golds and reds across the eyelids.

The hand caressed her face, and the old woman flinched backwards, a sure sign years of conditioning at the hands of the new, hip, fashionable generation.

‘Please, my Honour Grandma San, sit awhile, I shall fetch clothes for you’.
The vision of beauty floated away inside the shop, and the old woman through scrunched squinting eyes saw near her face a bowl of steaming rice and fish. ‘Grandma San, please, if you are hungry, do eat’.

The old eyes looked at the bowl, but she didn’t feel that eating would be good manners amongst such materials. ‘I thank you warmly, but I cannot, not amongst things of such beauty’. Her host said nothing, just gently set the bowl down with a small smile across his strong face.

‘Please eat if you feel hungry at any time, it is here by your side’.
The words tapered off at the click of the door sliding back, followed by the gentle smell of jasmine and saffron upon the breeze. The old lady sit up as best she could.
‘Here Grandma San, I have chosen this for you - I hope you find it to your utmost satisfaction’
The box was laid onto the table, and hands gently lifted the kimono out into the street light. The old lady gasped.

The material was of the purest white she had ever seen, cherry blossoms cascaded down from one shoulder to the hemline, and the sleeves and trim were the deepest inky blue. The right sleeve had a rising sun in gold at the cuff. Never in her life had she owned such a work of art.

Deep sobs started to heave her chest, and fat hot tears stung her face. ‘Madam San, I cannot accept this, its too beautiful for an old crone like me. Please, no, I cannot accept it’.
Gentle hands lifted her to her feet, and helped her into the door way. ‘Nonsense my honoured guest, you will not take another step without a new kimono to make you as beautiful outside as you are inside’. The kimono maker guided the crone into a dimly lit room.

Three younger girls slid in behind them, and within minutes, her new gown was wrapped around her. It fitted as if it was made for her by an army of expert tailors. New sandals caressed her feet like the lightest gossamer slippers.

‘Now Grandma San, my Sons will walk you for a while yet to see you safely along your way’.

The old lady rummaged through her purse and weakly offered up a small coin. The beautiful kimono maker smiled ‘yes, yes that is truly a gift I will treasure, thank you’.

The old lady didn’t know what to say, but the door slid open behind her, and once more two strong sets of hands helped her out of the shop and down the small wooden stairs.

The steps didn't seem so steep on the way down, and her feet felt less heavy. Her kimono swished against her skin, and it truly felt for the first time in decades that she was part of the world around her, not an ill fitting misfit, a dinosaur, a relic of a bygone age.

The noise of the road was gentle to her old ears, and the people around her were happy, smiling to one another, some sat talking, some sat eating together under moon shaped lamps that glowed gently. It was gentle, peaceful. Her memories took her to roads long lost to development of the city around her, the roads of her childhood.

A voice startled her back to the present, and a wide eyed young girl was stood almost touching nose to nose. ‘Grandma San! you cannot wear such a thing of beauty and have those rat tailed locks upon your head! follow me! all of you!’

Her companions smiled at one another, and they followed. Her guide spoke gently once again. ‘Grandma San, please, allow her the pleasure of a hair style. She is new here, but she does incredible works, you will not be disappointed’.

posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 04:08 PM
The single chair outside the brightly lit salon was flanked by mirrors on one side, and shelves of combs, scissors and ties of all colours and sizes on the other. the lilting sing song started again. ‘Sit, sit, be comfortable Grandma San, my pleasure, lets work these locks to a shine!'

As soon as she eased into the chair, hot towels were wrapped around her neck, and the seat reclined gently. The old lady gasped as the small bird like hands gripped her hair like iron vices, and started to tug her cascading mane of grey.
‘This will not do at all, all this grey! I want it black, yes, black as sure as I am it was in your youth!’. Bottles clinked, water boiled, combs raked her scalp. As strong as the hands were, the old lady smiled at the caresses and gentleness of them as they worked through her hair. She shut her eyes.

‘Grandma San! Look!’ Her eyes flying open, she smiled. The broken mirror thrust in front of her, badly dented as it was, showed her hair in its glory. As black and styled as she had it before the dark days of the war. She raised her hands, and felt the upsweep, the braided bands holding in massive curls, and a set of the coldest ivory pins completed it all.

She couldn't help it. Years of misery and lonliness were being swept away by the kindness of strangers. Hot fat tears sprang to her eyes. ‘You are so kind, so gentle yet so strong. You have made an old lady so happy, thank you, from my heart, thank you’. Her old hand felt into her bag, and a single coin was all she had. ‘please, take this, its all I have’.
The young girls eyes widened, and she clapped for joy.’yes, yes that is beautiful, thank you Grandma San, thank you’. The young girl hugged her tight, then pushing her back to arms length, looked at her face, then to the two guides.

‘My sister, my sister has a style house down the way, Grandma San needs styling. Her face needs painting. Yes, thats what we need, make up’. She stepped beyond the trio, and pointed down the road to an old fashioned hanging paper sign jutting from a doorway in the distance. ‘Thats my sisters house’ she looked at the guides. ‘she will happily do your make up, give her this from me when you get there please Grandma San’.

It was a hot bowl, and in it, a mix of rice, almonds, fish and spices. The old lady looked at it.

‘Please’ said the girl, ‘if you are hungry, eat, and I shall make my sister another bowl’.
The old lady looked down at her kimono, raised a hand to her hair and sighed. ‘no my friend, I shall not risk ruining my beautiful clothes, nor get grease on my face as make up will not stay!’.
The young girl smiled, and put the food in a beautiful ornate paper box. ‘My sister will help you’.

The old lady stepped back, and holding the box, set off down the road. People once more were milling around, playing games, eating the most divine smelling foods she had ever smelt. Thoughts once more of her new clothes banished the idea of food, and she slowly took steps towards the sign in the distance, her new wooden sandels clicking against the stones beneath her feet, beating a slow tattoo that drifted off onto the gentle breeze.

Her guides were stood by her side as she reached the glowing sign. Sat beneath dimly lit paper lamps were a trio of geisha. The old lady bowed as deeply as she could. ‘Honoured Sisters, please permit an old crone to sit with you a while, it would be my honour’. The three women rose soundlessly, their deep crimson and white kimonos edged with gold flowing easily about them. The tallest of the trio stepped forwards. The penetrating eyes of this tall woman made the old lady take a sharp breath in. Her words were most unexpected. ‘Grandma San, the honour is ours and ours alone. Sit with us, and I shall if you allow me, paint that beautiful face of yours’.

The old lady smiled, and took the offered space on the bench, and like a wraith the Geisha silently dropped to one knee. Hands toned and skilled with decades of practise flowed across the old crones face, and to the old lady, it felt as like the caress of a million butterflies it was so soft and gentle.

Time flowed easily, and it seemed like a heart beat had passed when the geisha stood. ‘Grandma San, I am honoured’. The bow was deep, to the waist, and her two companions followed as if all three were one. The old lady bit her tongue to stem the tears, some thing she hadn’t done for many a year. 'Sister, I forget, you are to have this’. The box of food was offered up by the old woman, and the Geisha opened it gently.She handed the box back with a smile. 'No Grandma San, please, this is’n’t for me tonight as I have already eaten. Please, carry it awhile and if you are hungry, eat’. Once again the three Geisha bowed, then silently stepped back as one flowing into their house in a swish of silk and a scent of wild jasmine.

posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 04:10 PM
The street was nicely lit, and the view beautiful. Looking up once more she saw the stars above her shining like a million diamonds. Her thoughts went to the days of her youth and the vaste sprawl that had wiped out the milky ways beauty forever over Tokyo. Turning to her guides, she smiled. She smiled as she felt like a Queen of the Emperors realm, she smiled as she felt fresh, new, vibrant. She smiled because it seemed that new clothes, hair style and make up made the years fall away.

‘I feel like a walk my friends, would you walk with me?’

The two men bowed gently, and the shorter of the two stepped to her side and offered her his arm. His deep voice rumbled like a waterfall of the silkiest dark chocolate ‘It would be my greatest pleasure Grandma San, as tonight is a fire work display at the lake, and I would love to see them. Come, lets take awhile and see them together’.

The road wasn't long, and before she knew it the houses and shops faded away and they stood stopped at a gate, and what a sight! it was lit in a thousand lamps in hundreds of colours and hues. ‘Oh how beautiful! I saw this once when I was a young girl, many decades ago, almost identical. Oh how divine is that?’ She stepped forwards holding a strong arm.

The path in the park was well lit, the darkness pushed away by a million lamps of varying size all bobbing and nodding on the gentle breeze. It looked as if it was a Firefly kingdom. Music floated through the trees, and it tugged her heart to see falling cherry blossom drift slowly around them rise dramatically as if the very musical notes lofted them higher.

The trees suddenly gave way to a lake view, and there was a veranda, but the crowds were no where to be seen. She turned to her guide, confused. ‘Please, where are the people for the fireworks? I don’t want to be alone here’. Her guide stepped back, and lifted his hand, pointing to the silohhetted veranda by the shore. A single figure stood there in a deep black rich kimono, a single gold star blazed from between the shoulders lit by the lamps in their thousands floating out over the waters.

Had her guides not stood by her so attentively, the years of hard work and toil would of buckled her knees. She couldn’t help it. Her eyes glistened with tears, her heart raced, and throat felt tight.

The short path was the longest walk of her life as she stared hard at the kimono. The silver threads of the hem, the needle work of the collar. She shook her head as if to try lift a fog.

The man was stood by a table, upon it was two empty plates and a pair of steaming hot cups filled with tea. The man turned to face her.

The rich gentle voice caressed her heart. ‘Please, will you sit and join me for some food?’

The tears flowed freely from her eyes, the years melted away as she lept into his embrace and her hug was fierce, tight, and words strong. ‘Oh yes, yes my Yukkichi I would love to more than anything else in the world’.

She gently opened up the box she had placed on the table besides them, but a strong firm hand guided her to the chair and helped her to sit. Once comfortable, he himself sat. Reaching for the box, he unfolded it and peered inside. ‘My favorite my love, thank you from my heart, you truly are my Souls blessing. Lets eat!’

The Paramedics battled against the crowds and noise of Tokyo. Now every one saw the broken gnarled woman in the torn kimono. Not because they cared, but because she would be in the news, and they swarmed like vultures, gaping slack jawed at her lifeless body to make sure they could tell all the gory details to their friends in their neon bars and soulless hide outs.

No one there that night would think twice of the gentle smile across the broken and battered face, nor the joy in her eye as she laid there, broken, empty, lifeless.

No one noticed, no one cared, but had they cared, had they stopped and stood in silence, they would not have missed the music that drifted gently through them, nor the smells of the sweetest of spices on the air, nor the single cherry blossom leaf that gently fell into her lifeless palm.

posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 05:05 AM
Kanashii.... Oishi...
edit on 6/12/13 by Expat888 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 05:34 AM
reply to post by Expat888

arigatou gozaimasu!

Thank you for taking time to read my words.. very kind of you, thank you.

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 03:01 PM
What a beautiful story... Thank you!!
* & F

posted on Jan, 3 2014 @ 04:57 PM
I just read the first post, and I was thinking to myself that she died when she fell.? I don't know I might be wrong I will read the rest of the story. I got inspired while reading it to write something like the end of the movie Titanic. When it is just the camera going around and someone opens the door to the titanic and everybody is still alive and there is a mantage moment. I was passing through kitchen and my dad was watching it the other day and saw that part.

I was going to try to quit site for awhile but was still reading, and I just wanted to post. It's stuff like this why I really like the site. My sister was watching a movie the other day I think ," whatever dreams may come" with Robin Williams where he chases his wife through a sort of dream or I forgot I hadn't seen it in awhile.

posted on Jan, 7 2014 @ 05:54 PM

What a beautiful story... Thank you!!
* & F

Thank you very much for taking a small slice of your life to read through my words. Thank you.
edit on 7-1-2014 by Astr0 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 27 2014 @ 05:57 PM
a reply to: Astr0

Lovely and uplifting. Enjoyed.

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