And the privilege of living with a father who couldn’t afford to keep one.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

“What happened to your home phone? It doesn’t work when I call you.”

“Oh, really, it doesn’t? I wonder why?”

See what I did there? It was a reflex. One way to dodge a question is to pretend not to know the answer or deflect it with a question of your own.

I’m uncertain if my then-boyfriend knew that I knew our service was cut because my father had missed a payment. Shame paralyzed me from admitting it when he asked me the first time. And the times after that.

At the age we dated, everyone used the old-school landline…


Besides doing it for birthday presents — it was the type he targeted

Photo by Francois Le Nguyen on Unsplash

What do you suppose would be the worst encounter on a dating app? Maybe you’d meet a charming but psychopathic killer. But then you wouldn’t live to tell the tale. Or how about an equally charming but pathological liar who stole more than hearts — 42 hearts and then some.

But who would do such a thing and why? Let us turn our attention to 39-year old Takashi Miyagawa of Osaka, who did precisely that.

Before we get into the story, it spread like wildfire across news outlets in Japan a few months ago. I gathered more information to add…


Parenting

The neuroscience behind it. Plus one helpful mantra.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

I blocked my son’s arm mid-air like Chun Li and held him by the wrist and my piercing stare. “Hands are not for hitting,” I said while reminding him of the storybook.

He huffed and puffed. Frustration bubbled until his face was raspberry red, and then he resorted to high-pitched screaming at what sounded like 150 decibels, setting off the equivalent of fireworks. He knows this is unacceptable in our apartment when we can hear our neighbor’s sneezes. …


Photo by author

PHOTOGRAPHY

We started with a fake one.

What I See

When my daughter was 3 years old, I got her a fake wooden camera from Etsy. It has a cute little viewfinder, a focus ring to turn, and a shutter button to press. It was perfect for the monkey-see monkey-do phase where children copy everything you do. This was one way I learned that the best way to encourage positive behavior is to model it. Not that I wanted to push photography onto her, but it happened naturally and was an interest I didn’t mind fostering.

What I didn’t expect was how far children go to mimic your actions.

Since…


PHOTOGRAPHY

Hydrangea flowers galore.

Photo by author.

My eyes light up whenever I see hydrangea flowers peppering bushes. Here in Japan, they bloom when spring transitions into the rainy season. Hydrangeas love to drink up all the water, and the approaching summer heat makes them sprout like popcorn.

An interesting blurb on the history of its name from Bloom This explains:

The name ‘Hydrangea’ originated from Latin, leading back to as old as 1739, named by Grovonius, a botanist. He thought that the shape reminded him of an ancient water pitcher. Hence, combining the words ‘hydro’ (water) and ‘angeion’ (barrel/pitcher), resulting in the name Hydrangea.


Is the one you never saw coming.

Photo by Ava Motive from Pexels

My ex was a fine example of The Nice Guy. So nice to the point of being suspect.

He was a super sweet smooth talker. But in the years we were together, none of his words stuck with me, because he cast compliments like a net, in all directions. He worked his charm to inflate anyone’s ego, but by the end, I resembled a punctured balloon, and would leak what little love I had for myself.

Compliments are not created equal. We have the genuine ones, the white lies, or worst of all, back-handed compliments. I didn’t hear any of…


How small businesses boost sales using IG Live and Stories to their advantage

Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

I’ve seen a surge in small businesses marketing goods on Instagram using in-app video functions. I do not own a shop myself, but as a customer, I can tell you why this works even better than solely selling on a website.

I can see this method working with various products. Anything there’s a demand for. The example I’ll be using is my latest addiction — crystals.

Instagram Marketing With Video Functions

Instagram Live

There are two options to sell interactively on Instagram; one is broadcast in real-time for users who join the live stream chat rooms. …


From digital to detrimental — when the sight of once peaceful neighbourhoods becomes unpretty.

Photo by Aksonsat Uanthoeng from Pexels

I have been going to a secret spot in the springtime for the past decade. It’s within biking distance from my home, along a river in the outskirts of Tokyo with rows of cherry blossom trees dotting both sides — a view you never tire from, like the fleeting chance to see an old friend once a year.

It’s a quiet residential area. Dogs dash around. You will see people jogging or biking down the gravel paths parallel to the riverbanks while kayakers drift in the water. I don’t ever expect anyone to disturb me here or for me to…


On diverting my dog’s death, and how an editor changed my life.

Photo courtesy of author

Sometimes you start a piece in your element right on track. But the submission can come to a halt when an editor steers you along a detour with a suggestion here and there, or maybe you had blind spots and missed how it was a mess everywhere. And if it’s a mess, editors recoil. As Roz Warren has said, “there’s no point in polishing a turd.”

Except, this time, I hadn’t submitted a turd. In my mind, I had it in the bag. I thought it was the shit. …


When a crazy string of events is no longer a coincidence.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

I strolled into the bedroom on my way to open the windows when I stopped short of the bookcase, turned my head to the right, and peered at the spine of The Rainbow Tablets.

Read one page.

I didn’t have much time to spare. Motherly duties awaited, but this urge called out for me. I tilted the book off the edge of the shelf and opened it up to where I had left off. My eyes glazed over the print and stopped at this part:

“Once you have started to open the heart, you will notice a difference between ‘thoughts’…

Tracy Luk

Tokyo, Japan | INFP | Minimalist | Parent | Avid Reader | Seeker | Em Dash Lover | Never without a camera going with the flow with my kids in tow ♡

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store