one-person shiritori


[A cookie I made a few months ago that bears no relation to anything that follows.]

Today I’m going to make five categories, then set a timer for two minutes and write as many awesome things relating to each category as I can before time runs out. It’s like a mêlée of free-association. But! There’s a catch! The challenge is that every thing has to start with the last letter of the thing before it. I made this up based on a game Japanese people play call しりとり(“shiritori”) which goes like this:

THIS GUY: ラ (rabu = “love”)
THAT GUY: ぶた (buta = “pig”)
THIS GUY: (tamago = “egg”)
THAT GUY: はん (gohan = “rice/meal”)

Dun dun DUN. THAT GUY has lost because he used a word ending with ん (/n). Now he has to go win a Pokémon tournament or the Japanese government will transform him into food for Tokyo Sky Tree. Things that actually don’t might happen in Japan.

Usually you play shiritori with another person, but I already asked myself if I’d play and I said yes. (…I’m not procrastinating on my book, I’m letting the plot marinate. Shush.) The other thing that’ll be different about my version is that I’m going to be writing more than one word for some of the things I list.

Okie doke, so! Today’s categories are!


All right, timer on! First category:

Starting letter: A

A word of gratitude


Sinking below the surface of a bubble bath and blowing the bubbles like a bubble cannon

Not noticing the rain on your window yet feeling the sense of calm from it

Tiptoeing around sneakily when you don’t have to


Well now! I’m sure I can do better than that. Next category!

Starting Letter: O

Opening your front door and they’re there

Entering a room as they follow you

Under the blanket thinking you can’t see them

Meowing back at you when you meow at them


That one was more fun, but smaller final count. I guess I could accept quality over quantity but I’d rather take both. Mwahaha. NEXT!

Starting Letter: N

New book smell

Lying on the sofa reading a book while it’s raining outside

Ending a book with a smile

Entering a book shop

Paper under your fingertips

Searching for your favorite part

Tracing a well-creased spine

Errant bookmarks in old books


Whoo! Not thinking really helps move that number up. Becomes a lot more free-association-like, too. The last one might need explaining. Like when you’re looking through old books you’ve either reread or not and you find bookmarks stuck inside and you read a little and you either don’t remember or you do and it takes you back to that time when you were reading it last. I read “Memoirs of a Geisha” in college and then I started to reread it after I spent the summer “studying” abroad in Japan (I studied Osaka and how to get tickets to concerts). Recently I went back home and I found the book and I brought it back to Japan with me intending to reread it here. When I opened it, I found it bookmarked a third into the book and suddenly I remembered standing on the curb at JFK in winter reading while I waited in line for a taxi. I hadn’t picked up after that for some reason (I had a habit in college of living in Barnes & Noble and taking half the store home with me when I had to leave).


– LOVE –
Starting Letter: S

Sending someone off with a kiss that goes on for longer than ten seconds

Shared smile

Envelopes holding handwritten letters

Showing flaws without fear

Roaming new cities together

Regular moments made special


Intriguing indeed! I like the fifth one best. Because traveling is the best thing. Better than cheese.

Last one!

Starting Letter: E

Exploring old cities

Shrines with freshly-lit incense

Evenings lit by temple lanterns

Silent trains

Smiling luck cat

Traveling by shinkansen

Night view from a mountain peak

Kissing in rare snowfall


Hmmm! Pretty good for a first round, if I do say so myself. I’ll have to challenge me to a rematch someday.

The plot has marinated long enough! Back to the pages.

Good afternoon, citizens of joy!


One thought on “one-person shiritori

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