For those of you who might be interested, I now have a photo gallery to go along with the blog.
It’s been quite a few days since I wrote anything in this journal. I want to apologize to anyone who has been checking in to see anything new and was disappointed. I haven’t been feeling well all week, what with the delicate balance of my diabetes deciding that it would commence its summer vacation without me.
I’ve been re-reading a book on Buddhist thought (“When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron) that focuses on turning towards one’s fears and despairs and allowing them to fill your thoughts as much as you revel in pleasure and joy. It is a powerful antidote to panic and hysteria, opening your mind to its own inner workings and helping you to step back from constant impulsive reaction.
On my way home from work this evening a sweating, smelly Frenchman, wearing a bright yellow shirt and bug-eye glasses, his face a cloud of hoary grey and brown beard, decided that since I was another foreigner waiting on line for the train, it was perfectly normal and acceptable to just come up to me and start talking as if I was his parlor room guest.
Returning from the mountains this last weekend was like descending from a great height. For three days I walked along fern festooned paths, my head literally in the clouds, all the while counting raindrops that seemed to have taken over the whole world. Originally the walk was meant to start along the higher, steeper crags of the South Alps, but with all the rain this summer landslides took out the one road that leads up to the riverine valley of Hirogawara. A whole mountain range that in normal years is overrun with hikers, this year sits in relative silence as most walkers avoid the astronomical Â¥25,000 ($220) taxi fare for the long detour.
On the night my family arrived in Tokyo from New York we were driven into the city from Haneda Airport. It had been a long flight, with a transit in Honolulu for refueling, and we were all tired and a bit dazed. A representative from my father’s company met us at the arrivals area and escorted us out to the street, where he had his car waiting for us. The air was heavy with humidity and insects whirled around the street lights over the taxi stand. The air smelled of burning oil and something else, something sweetly organic that a newcomer like me couldn’t identify. And all the while a numb sense of dislocation surged up in my belly, like having my sense of balance ripped out from inside me, a sense of being physically there, but my soul lingering in another time far away. When I think back on that moment, it is curious that I can remember the details of arriving in Tokyo, but can’t recall a single image of the moment we left New York…