of standard train travel. That’s how long my trip is this morning. Starting at 5:45 am. I could have taken the shinkansen and been there in just over two hours, but somehow it just turned out this is the way I chose.
Inefficient by design.
Originally I planned to stay up in Minami Aizu in my tent last night, but typhoon William sufficently washed out those plans so to speak. So I spent Monday, my first day off in nearly a month, getting acquainted with FFXII, which I quickly became hooked on and spent most all day playing. I did, however, scurry out of my blanket and tatami combination long enough to get a fairly nice bit of closing time shopping done, picking up a Snow Peak mess kit to go with my compact gas stove that I received from Rodney, as well as much needed replacement cargo straps for my Ferrino hiking pack.
Black and white film, foma RC paper, and too much imported beer. Another warm chat with the always bright checkout girl at Yamaya.
Though it’s very nearly gone from my everyday life, there are times when the magic of first coming to Japan returns for a fleeting moment like a faded odor from a childhood jacket. I exit Akihabara station and having fifteen minutes to transfer, scan the area sleepily for a convenience store.
The montage of unfamiliar signs; the nearly empty streets of early morning; the lack of time being relevant… Like a drunken bee at dusk, I stumble down into an Am/Pm for some sandwiches and token omiyage. My groggy gaze lingers on the neatly presed-together legs of a girl reading a magazine.
Royal jelly. Beauty tea. Otsuka pharmaceuticals.
Entering into the subway for a minute I am uncannily lost. The mulitple branching stairwells lead to the same platform and remind me of Silent Hill 3.
There are times when Japan doesn’t feel like Japan, usually times without architecture. The majority of people on subways at six in the morning; it could be almost anywhere. Bums the world around have similiar mannerisms, free from the pall of ethnic strata, more or less. But it rises… oh how the rays fall so corn yellow on the sea of crescent-tiled rooves. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a morning, it’s almost foreign to me. Three hours on a single section express train. The low sun is so reserved and distant.
Power lines, ginkoes, and scaffolding. Wet streets and danchi.
Sister Charles used to say that the skies in October were the bluest all year. This always filled me with a senseless kind of pride, simply because I was born in October, even though this had little to do with me.
Today is October the 27th. In three days I am going to be thirty years old. I wanted to spend a lot of this month celebrating and reflecting on this, but things were busier at work than October usually is and I had no time for much of anything. However, leaving that aside this week will be quiet and mostly reserved. I’ve been thinking of life and how simply you can change it. I could still be with the same someone a number of someones, but that doesn’t suit me now. To be honest, I see others making those kinds of commitments and I wonder are we so much in charge of our happiness? I used to think that finding someone and falling in love was rare and magical, something to desperately dream of. But after twelve years of dating, cheating, and heartbreak, I’m not sure I believe in courtly love anymore. Only the inexperience of relationships can lead one to search and hope for love. Now more than anything, love feels like a choice, the driving forces of which outside of loneliness or security I can’t fathom. I don’t say this because I’m bitter, I say it because I really can’t see it any other way. If that is innate cynicism, then I am sad and forlon that I made an environment to change me this way.
In Japanese, koi and ai (love viewed from the perspective of fancy and devotion, respectively) are separate things. My senpai at work once described koi as a feeling/circumtance, whereas ai was an action. Maybe in experience I’ve lost the ability to feel koi, but I’ve learned in practice what ai takes.
Does anyone over the age of thirty fall in love? Why do people marry? Why do people choose to remain with one person? I think the answer must exist, and if I talk to enough people I’ll find out this is just like any other question of human behaviour. I just need more outside influences to help me find peace in myself. It’s not impossible, just too ill-defined a problem space.
Rain. Fields. Cool autumn wind.
The rain in Fukushima is steady but light. If my mother were here, she’d say it’s a good day for ducks. Even though the weather maes taking pictures difficult, the overwhelming power of the countryside buoys my spirits. Rows of vegetables run into crimson and yellow underbrush. Tractors and very plain utility shed dot the landscape. Terraced fields of cur rice build into hillsides, and carpets of wet leaves reflect the occasionally passing car.