Fading

posted in: Japan, Journal, Life In, Tokyo | 2

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.

Gaseous Clouds

posted in: Japan, Journal, Musings, Tokyo | 0

The window is open and through the screen drifts the music of various crickets all rehearsing for the Autumn Gala. The repetitious strokes of the Common Cricket, the melodious. liquid-like warble of Teleogryllus yemma, the slow-sawing buzz of Loxeblemmus doenitzi, the high-pitched, metallic twitter of Ornebius kanetataki, and, later this evening, the non-stop, ringing vibrato of the non-native tree cricket Calyptotrypus hibinonis, which fill the trees like the chorus from the Aida, a musical rhapsody just above your head.

The Smell of the Sea

posted in: Japan, Journal, Nature, Tokyo | 2

In the last two weeks three times the air has carried the smell of the sea through Tokyo. Tonight was another such night. In all my years living in Tokyo never before have I smelled the ammonia and seaweed and salt away from the coast. It was like a subtle reminder of where I am, where all people in Tokyo are, but which is so easily forgotten amidst all the concrete and rush.

The Barley Fields

posted in: Japan, Journal, Life In, Tokyo | 8

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…