An aside — and then I come back

Homeless and mentally ill

Homeless and mentally ill.

Apologies for the unexpected hiatus. I filter my photos on the computer. To fill the quiet I put DVDs for Arrow on in the background. By episode six I lay down in front of the tele with a plate of snacks and binge watched both seasons. Then another show. And another. Then another. I was avoiding my blog. It took me a while to figure out why.


A homeless woman getting ready for bed under a blue tarp in a crowded park.

shibuya homelessness

Homeless, mentally ill and asking for something to eat. He’s been wandering Shibuya as long as I’ve lived here.

I started blogging to make friends, to talk about food, to give my cooking a new direction and purpose — and you have all been wonderful. The suggestions to share more about myself required I turn memories I long ago packed away into stories. It has been hard on me.

I grew up with hunger always one step away and homelessness not far behind. My mother heard voices and imagined herself raped and pregnant or a divine messenger and I needed to take care of her (the other reason I can cook), contain her, and keep our home in order. My father never learned English and my mother forbade me from learning Portuguese and no one ever tried to teach me, so I know nothing about him though he lived a few miles away. School was a nightmare. My baseline for normal came from a tiny black and white television. It was really hard to connect with anyone being the weird kid in ‘that’ part of town. Picked on and bullied or avoided. And then there was an accident. . . .


Homeless, ill, and drunk wandering around Yokohama station.


Drunk and alone drinking sake from a vending machine from the early afternoon. Look at these pictures and remember how fortunate you are to have the technology, free time, and sound mind to reflect.


I put all of those memories away when I left home. I never spoke of any of it. Then I started blogging about it.

Unpacking those memories, looking for the words to turn them into stories has been unpleasant, yet cathartic. The energy these lies of omission consume, well, let’s just say I’ve been melancholy and moody. But it’s good to grieve. It’s even better to chose to be honest with you and say all this rather than, ‘I’ve been busy’, and move along to the next recipe.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not unhappy. Rather, I’ve chosen to look back after many, many years and claim those bits of personal history. I am no longer the crazy ladies son. I am a man. I am self-made, perhaps proud but grateful nonetheless.

See you with some recipes soon.




51 Comments on “An aside — and then I come back

  1. “Rather, I’ve chosen to look back after many, many years and claim those bits of personal history.” Wow. It takes courage to look at yourself and embrace all of you. Thanks for sharing, Steven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arrow, Agent’s of SHIELD, Hannibal, Sleepy Hollow, Salem, and The Goldburgs for some laughs. Now I’m all about Penny Dreadful. Can we talk about Reeve Carney? Wow.



      • Hannibal? Of course, why am I surprised 🙂 I love that show, can’t wait for season 3.


      • Penny Dreadful. Make it to the end of episode four. Trust me, you’ll love it. 🙂


      • I had mixed feelings about it until I looked up what a penny dreadful was, a kind of pulp fiction in the 19th century. With that in mind I understood the excess and gratuitousness in the show and have come really enjoy it. That said, if you have trouble with the first or second episode, have faith and keep watching. It pays off. And the acting is exceptional, especially Reeve Carney.


      • I promise I’ll give it a few episodes before I make my mind up 🙂
        The last show I fell in love with was White Collar, and it’s been hard to find something to fill the void until the next season (although it’ll be the last so I’ll have to find something after that 😦 )


      • You gave me something to put on my watch list.

        If you haven’t watched Salem, it’s pretty good. Do you watch Japanese Doramas? I downloaded Shomuni last week, old and new versions.


      • White Collar also made me fall in love with Matt Bomer – he’s just AMAZING 🙂

        I do like J dramas if they’re good 😉 The last one I really enjoyed was Last Cinderella. It was such a sweet love story (with a little bit of mental stuff in the mix, ha ha).

        I’m waiting a bit on Penny Dreadful to get more episodes aired before I start, so I’ve been watching Orange is the New Black in the meantime. It’s quite all right, actually. I love the strong female characters and their back stories 😀


      • I kinda pictured that as Chicago without the music. 🙂
        I still have to watch Mad Men.

        Did you ever watch謎解きはディナーのあとで? I got a major crush on Sho Sakurai after that. 😀


      • After experiencing Matt Bomer’s character, I feel like I’m going to end up single and alone with 9 cats, ha ha – he’s the whole package 😀

        I tried Mad Men but gave up after one episode 😉

        I never did watch 謎解きはディナーのあとで. Is it good? I like him too (though I tend to prefer MatsuJun :p )


      • OMG, Matt Boner looks like Damon Salvator! Aim high. Cats aren’t so bad. 😉

        Sho won my imagination when he did that photo shoot with An-An. I nearly fell over in the store.

        Nazotoki is fun. It’s shot like it was taken from a manga. The best part about it is when the butler (Sho’s character) curses her out in polite Japanese. アホでございますか?
        I feel on the floor the first time I heard it.


      • Isn’t he beautiful? And he’s a great actor, and he can sing, and dance, and he’s arty, and romantic sigh

        Oh I remember that An-An shoot VERY well 🙂 I started sweating profusely in the conbini even though it was the dead of winter, ha ha 😉

        Ooh you’ve got me sold on Nazotoki 🙂 Once I’m done with Orange I’ll check it out 😉


    • Thanks. I’ve been cooking all the while. I taught myself how to make pulled noodles and I’ve done some interesting things with lye water. 🙂


  2. So glad you are back. I have been watching for your return. The photos are amazing. Thank you for touching us with your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good heavens, Stephen – so this is what’s been going on – deep thinking about your journey to where you are … Well, I’m very happy to see you around again – VERY.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been so worried about you !!!
        I imagined all manner of ghastly things going wrong for you. Sighh …
        It’s really, really nice to have you back, Stephen … I send you a big fat ancient hug of joy !


      • Thank you M.R. I saw the message you sent through here the other day when I was cleaning out my SPAM folder. (Yahoo’s been putting them all there, naughty Yahoo.)

        It’s funny how the mind works. Face the problem and it goes away. I dreaded not having control in how people perceive me and once I acknowledged it the fear more or less dissipated.

        You should Facebook me. Just put Steven Santos +Yokohama and I’ll pop up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not on TwitBook. Nor Instagram. Nor nuffink. I don’t have time for anything except this, and it’s driving me bonkers. Hence my posts of the previous couple of days about having to take some time off. Only difference between us here is that I TELL PEOPLE !!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, the differences between men and women. You’re sex is much more communicative. We strong silent types sit back and brood. 😉

        They’re rereleasing the 1954 Godzilla today. I have a ticket for the matinee. How cool is seeing the original monster movie IN Tokyo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Pretty damned cool, m’dear ! 🙂 You’ll adore the experience because of that.
        I’m off to have some Turkish bread toast and marmalade. I am VERY HAPPY to know you’re around again – very !
        Loud smoocheroony on the ear.


What's that you say? I can't quite hear you. Do you mind writing that down here? ;)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: