I never thought in a million years I’d ever spend any serious amount of time in Asia, let alone Japan. I was just coming out of Africa and was desperately trying to lay roots in France. All my efforts were thwarted, and the next thing I knew I was stepping off a plane that had just landed in Narita, a million miles from where I wanted to be. Life is funny that way. All the bright colors and vending machines were jarring and surreal. But now I wouldn’t trade any of it. Not even the painful moments.
I met people who permanently changed my life in Japan. I discovered art and befriended artists. I discovered design and designers. I discovered spiritual mentors. I experienced God in a way I hadn’t prior to that time. It was as if Japan forced me to stop and pay attention and ponder all the beauty that surrounded me each day. Attention to detail - that’s what they’re known for, right?
My first couple months in Japan were comical - this was pre-Tokyo. I lived in the inaka and couldn’t speak Japanese. That ended up being both a good and bad thing. I was deaf, blind and mute. I bought kefir by accident thinking it was milk. I was perpetually hungry (how can portion sizes be this small?). I was perpetually sleep deprived. I was perpetually stressed, about everything. But it was also there that I began to feel the most free in years, perhaps ever. Riding my mamachari along the oceanfront, picnicking on the beach. Picking wildflowers for the beautiful vase I had found at the secondhand shop. Learning how to drive on the left side of the road. Befriending locals who introduced me to shoyu and wasabi ice cream. It was these little victories that kept me going. I began to carve out my own little space in this foreign world. And then I moved to Tokyo….
It was the end. Maybe not the very end, but 'an' end.
Every city has their ups and downs. The longer you visit, the more downs you start to notice.
Mahler's Resurrection Symphony
The salad bed in our garden
A connection revisited