Tales from the Land of Pocky

Hello Readers! For the last release of the ASIA edition, we have a double feature for you with two articles at once! In this article, we join Molly in discovering her love for a country through her uncle’s fascinating stories, and in Danish’s article Karachi Theosophical Society: the Historic TCK Archive, he discusses the strong impact of the Karachi Theosophical Society on his cross-cultural identity. Enjoy!

From the time I was 7, my uncle would come to our house and sit on the floral patterned couch in the living room and hand us gifts from Japan. Dolls, toys, my first fashion magazine and Pocky, so much Pocky. My sister and I would sit on the floor and open the Japanese snack of biscuit sticks covered in a strawberry coating, and listen while he told us stories about this country on the other side of the world. It was my first realization at such a young age that a world existed outside of this midwestern bubble I was born into.

He filled our minds with imageries of this beautiful country, of all the incredible food he ate, and all the sights and sounds of everyday life. He tried to give us a taste of these things by taking us to Japanese restaurants and ordering for us, urging us to try sushi and patiently teaching us how to use chopsticks. He started our collection of anime movies and we immediately fell in love with the stories of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, and more. My sister and I had wanderlust before we even knew what that was.

As I got older, my uncle introduced me to the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. I was immediately hooked and got lost in the beautiful fictional stories set in Japan. I am in love with a country I have yet to visit all because of the stories from my uncle and all the ways he filled our lives with this culture. He talked about it in such a way that it felt like he had lived there for years. The first country I ever visited was Peru, but Japan was the first one I fell in love with. It has been a constant in conversations and I don’t get tired of hearing about it, just like I hope he doesn’t get tired of me talking about Peru. It has always been our way of bonding, talking about cultures we weren’t born into but felt part of all the same.

My uncle supports my love for travel and he is always the first to encourage me to live abroad on my own, suggesting places that would be fitting. He tells me about Tokyo and the life there, and I imagine what my own life would be like if I moved there. One of these days I’ll get to Japan with my uncle and I’ll be able to live all the stories first hand with him.