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.
All spring I had been anticipating the ten-day break of August this year, for a chance to escape Tokyo and spend a nice long period walking up along the ridges of the North Alps. My pack was loaded, all the food prepared, and the route mapped out. I even went to bed early the night before to make sure that I was fresh for the exertion.
Love knows no bounds, so the saying goes. At times I wonder about the cogs that spin around upstairs in my attic, because most of the emotions that have twirled and waltzed me around to that indescribable music seemed sourced to some transmitter on another planet, completely disconnected to any wires in my own little control panel.
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.