Jianghu Hai

Across the road from Tokyo Prince Hotel
in a train station basement
I ate a pasta I had never tasted
outside of my family’s home Matoushan
deep in China.
The flour is ground, dried in the sun,
beaten into a dough, pressed into strings,
these are dried again.
To the sound of the big village drums,
the pasta is born in a fine-tuned process.
It’s very resilient, every bite fills your mouth
with the scent of the grain.
I left home when I was 14,
had all sorts of pasta, sweet sour spicy,
strong kinds of taste, made very fast,
so the scent of my hometown
went very far away in the distance.
Never thought I would find it at this moment in Tokyo.
Above there are trains arriving and leaving,
producing a rhythm of deep and high notes
very much like the drums
of Matoushan.

Translated by MW, August 2018

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