tokyo markets



(FILE) November 10, 2012, Tokyo, Japan - The bustling Tsukiji Market, officially called Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Although best known for its seafood, the market also sells vegetables, fruit, beef and poultry. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood and employes more than 60,000 people. Together with two other Tokyo wholesale markets Tsukiji Market handles an incredible 675,000 tons of marine products a year. The first fish market in Tokyo was established near the Nihonbashi bridge, starting point of the important Tokaido road connecting Tokyo with Kyoto. After the market was leveled by the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, it was relocated to the Tsukiji district, nearby Tokyo's famed Ginza Avenue. A modern market was completed here in 1935 and is still used today. But not much longer. In 2014 the market is slated to be moved to new facilities on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. (Kjeld Duits/AFLO)
 Tokyo, Japan – The bustling Tsukiji Market,  is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Although best known for its seafood, the market also sells vegetables, fruit, beef and poultry and sweets and sweets and sweets. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood and employes more than 60,000 people. Together with two other Tokyo wholesale markets Tsukiji Market handles an incredible 675,000 tons of marine products a year.

tokyo markets
jammed with strolling locals
baskets and bags knocking and nodding
bustling shoulder to shoulder
the markets absorb
and huddle the people
here it’s about the splurge of living
here life pulsates
under swaying red lanterns

a lively buzz and brackish tang
lures me
to a cool sea-wash briny world
octopus tuna and sword fish
on rock salt and ice
eyes stare blankly
lobsters tap panic-like the glass of the tank
mackerel beat their tails in a shallow dish
crabs crawl and clamour over each other
a gasping fish with throbbing gills
waits on a sacrificial wet grey-scale altar
deep guttural cries of skilled hands
in wet galoshes and plastic caps
tout their wares sharpening their knives

a willow of a boy in the corner
with kokoro and pride in his stance
chants a mantra to buy his shrimp
his shrill soprano voice
in harmony with the rhythm of the sea
catches me as water sloshes underfoot


vendors flaunt boxes of sweets
their chants like a rehearsed choir
blend in harmony
pasted deep red azuki beans
coloured in chestnut hydrangea blue
cherry blossom peach and grape
are jellied and displayed to allure

the pied pipers of the food markets
in coloured caps cry out oishi oishi
and woo with samples on bamboo toothpicks
from sizzling pans and hot plates
crisp aromas that waft
crowds swarm like bees to a hive
at displays of tempura  teriyaki  sushi and soba
each on a bed of fringed green plastic leaves

i am immersed in the chaos of humanity
and feel at home



kokoro: with heart feeling energy

oishi: delicious

azuki beans: red skinned sweet beans, basis of most japanese sweets

dispossession 2

dispossession 2


today a dusty sun slants sepia light
an eerie still scene of a shanty town
on the outskirts of Lima in Peru

monotone brown
ruins rubble rubbish scant vegetation
brown dusty brown

the dispossessed
in makeshift shelters
never ending palette of desolation

here on the outskirts of Lima
like a barnacled mass they cling

one night ten years ago
in india
i lay in your arms weeping for the poor
having seen the sorrow in a mother’s eyes
felt the touch of a begging hand
and i asked why

here they do not look
they turn away
a water truck comes
to refill drums
for those who can afford water
earlier it had freely watered green grass
of our resort with its luxury pool

when i walk away
i do not weep
answers would choke with dust
i don’t even know the questions
just crave your arms around me
against this inequality

dispossession 1



“Without our land there is no life”

dispossession 1


black marble horsemen
with helmets medals and guns
celebrating the history of conquests
dominate santiago’s plaza des armas

yet i’m drawn by an abstract monument
catching morning light
history’s cry is its caption
without our land there is no life

its massive basalt boulders
circle like a gossip of standing stones
and mounted high
on a roughly hewn second tier
chiselled cracked and cut
as if lightening spilt the rocks
a shadowed noble face
bigger than life
its carved wistful eyes
look beyond the plaza people pigeons
to the mountain
once home of the mapuche people

around its base children play
lovers cuddle adults chatter
while first people still with indomitable spirit
bear memories of dispossession

chance encounter





chance encounter
my rustling disturbed his place
how long he watched
i do not know
but hopped off to a safer place

then stopped
looked again

our eyes met
both stood still
two of us alone
in the bush

yearning to bridge the gap
i reached out my hand
a divide
like two pots of gold
without a rainbow
held us apart

for a moment
I breathed his fear
our eyes were held
alert . . . focused
a glint of knowing
crossed the stare

this proud grey
the hunted
knowing his place
and bound away

fromelles 2009

A battle in WW1  19th July 1916.

In 2009 – mass graves began to be exhumed, remains being identified and laid to rest with honour: it brings to the fore once again a story of the worst 24 hours in Australian history, july 19th 1916.

5,533 Australian casualties in one night and with no ground taken.


fromelles 2009
in no mans land !
stories shout
from mass graves

hell-trap stories
gallant stories
fear-filled stories

failure crawls
through fire
mud barbed wire
piteous writhing mates
drainage ditches
no respite

blinkers of youth
lure of adventure

an emotional cry
will you not fight for land your fathers died for !
and wars roll on
deafened with enterprise

now i ask how can cycles have an end

Colleen Keating from A Call to Listen

hiroshima sixty-five years on

Twice a year for just over a decade I had the privilege and exciting opportunity of working for a week at a time in Japan. I was invited by the School of Aromatherapy in Tokyo to give the Reflexology section of the Aromotherapy Diploma.
On one of my trips after the 30 hour course given over 5 days, I caught the Shinkansen, the High Speed Bullet train, to Hiroshima. I enjoyed three wonderful days and relived the sad story I read many times called Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr.
It was the  time of the 65th anniversary.  I headed to the Peace Park where I went each day and was there early morning on the 6th August 2010.

The photo shows Hiroshima Peace Park completed in 1954.  The park contains 66 statues, monuments and buildings that stand as a symbol of the nuclear abolition and the vow of humanity to pursue peace.




hiroshima sixty-five years on

sings a song of hope
cicadas have the upper note
the coo of doves
like tenors ground the sound
cooling water trickles
and children play

incense wafts from beds of sand
people bow as they pass
coloured cranes like prayer flags
hang on trees
and memorials

today is warm balmy
i sit by the river near the epicentre
it is 8.15 am

ring out across the peace park
and around the city

Colleen Keating    A Call to Listen       2014  Ginninderra Press.

going going

Ringtail possums are part of our night life.  They depend on the trees to get to their food source. After some beautiful old Bluegums were destroyed, cut down by a  horrible noisy roar of chainsaws,  and an even noisier greedy mulcher, that made the gracious bluegums into woodchip, the possum in my poem had to use the electric lines  to travel and the risk is so much higher. You can see I am very angry about the cutting down of the suburban trees and i love our Australian Ringtails and am afraid we are loosing our animals from the cities. On my walk one morning I found the Ringtail Possum  lying electrocuted at the foot of the telegraphic pole lying “like a sacrificial lamb to progress.”





going going

the chainsaws stop

with night
possums scurry across the fence
over the ivy into the last blue gum

tiger eyes
in the dark glow
white furry tails
curl flashes of light

they scramble
onto swaying melaleuca to feed
before they are off
for their night journey

on my morning walk
at the foot of a telegraph pole
a young ringtail possum lies
in sacrificial pose

in stiff smelling air
standing alone on the street
i look at the bare spaces in the sky
and rage
against the taking of our treescape

Colleen Keating   A Call to Listen  2014 Ginninderra Press

how to love a rock


This poem is part of my beach walking experience



how to love a rock


its a hard thing to love a rock

you need to receive it as gift spend time

touch and stroke
its smoothness
and grooves
flaws and imperfections
hold and ponder
imbue the magic of its radiating warmth !
wait upon it
allow it to seize your senses
listen for its whisper

consider where it belongs
maybe to spin joyfully back out to sea maybe a memory of a beach walk
or friendship
to adorn your book shelf or garden
or a bonsai pot
for a miniature fig to claim as its own

if it doesn’t inspire
let it go

at the nursing home






In 1998 when I began the double Diploma course on Healing at Nature Care the Health College at St Leonards in Sydney, Reflexology was one of the courses.It is a system of massage and reflex used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands and head (ear) which links to every part of the body
It is based on the theory that energy is moving through our body and it can become blocked and this is where health problems can begin. By working the spot that is pinpointed can assistin moving the energy or chi again. We all know what happens to a pond that becomes stagnant . . .imagine digging a channel to allow a flow again. Well Reflexology works mainly on the feet to do this.
One of the experiences was to visit a Nursing Home near by where Reflexology was very popular.


at the nursing home

i fill the foot bath
my elbow checks the tepid water

she sits like a goddess at an altar
regal and stoic

her face shows many lifetimes
lipstick defines the line she desires
white wavy hair swept with combs
into a tight bun
gives the air of holding it all together

gently i hold and massage her feet
in the lavender scented water
feel a trembling and look up

tears rundown her cheeks

she weeps the words
I haven’t felt touch like this
for as long as I can remember