“Awk sure, let’s just see what’s around the next corner…”, my papa always used to say, ferrying my nana and I around in his prized light-blue Fiat Uno – a car I soon associated with day trips from the ripe old age of eight or nine. Much of Northern Ireland I saw from the backseat of his car, headphones on, listening to Queen. Yet no matter how far we went, when it was time to go home, we would always instead go that little bit further – just to see what was around the next corner.
For my 21st birthday, I asked my nana and papa to buy me a Russian wedding ring – a ring with three interlocking bands. At the time, it held no significance – I just thought it looked pretty cool. But over the years, the three bands came to represent me, my nana, and my papa. I’ve worn it every day for the last 17 years, and it doesn’t leave my finger. And so, even though they are now gone, they are still with me, walking around all the places I go.
Last weekend, I found myself wandering about a new part of Tokyo with Miss IKIMASHO, and instead of going one direction, we spontaneously ventured down a random lane to see what was there. What greeted us was a simple scene, yet one that was also so beautiful – a small group of people gathered at a temple, burning bamboo and other old materials, to start the year afresh. Ash from the fire danced in the air and landed on our clothes, while traditional Japanese music played softly in the background. As I took in what was happening around me, I smiled and thought of my papa. “You never know what’s around the next corner…”