Playing With Fire
We scramble across the street in Shibuya, our young bodies confined to matching school uniforms, jostled by salarymen and office ladies on lunch breaks, dressed in their own cloth prisons. We steer around retired obasans and ojisans, slow obstinate stones in the raging current. We escape from our fieldtrip group, filled with clueless boys and girls, our destination, a nest of K-pop shops feathered with purses, stickers, t-shirts, smartphone cases of our favorite idols. We drool over BTS, Twice, Blackpink, their braided lyrics of Korean, Japanese, English wind around us as we kakkoii and kawaii, rubbing their perfect faces, skin shining and almost translucent, their perfect bodies, dancer thin, against our bumpy skin and bulgy bodies. We race to eat army stew and tons of kimchi, daring each other to try the spiciest food on the menu, slurping up spam and fish cakes, noodles and rice, rap music scattering Korean like crunchy seaweed over us. We soak it all in, absorbing gochujang and gochugaru through our pores, our skins bursting open, revealing our new selves underneath, bodies sleek, skin pale, a fire raging in our bellies.