The days are noticeably growing cooler. The songs of the crickets have lowered into a sluggish pitch as the musicians struggle against the temperature. For some reason the non-native Rose-Ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri), with their lime green, winged javelin-like bodies, have been congregating around the telephone wires and tall Zelkova trees around my neighborhood, and the mornings and evenings have been punctuated by their piercing shrieks. Parrots and parakeets most definitely belong to the area above the forest canopy… when you see their darting, vigorous flight it is hard to imagine them pent up in a cage ever again.
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.
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…
Last night the movie “Malena”, by Italian director Guiseppe Tornatore, was shown on TV and I watched it a second time. It had lost none of its powerful effect, and the climactic scene, when Malena is beaten and her hair shorn in public, left me chilled and deeply sad. Who hasn’t witnessed similar events of cruelty?
I have always held a strong dislike for zoos, feeling that all creatures ought to have the full expression of their evolutionary complexity in the way they live. All creatures became what they are out of an inextricable relationship with … Continued
Today definitely has the feel of the oncoming monsoon here. Cool and grey, the air is laden with potential precipitation. While most Japanese dislike this season, since everything gets covered in white mold and clothing is impossible to hang out … Continued