Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I want what she's having

Oh my dedicated readers, how I must have disappointed you these last months.

Truly, I've been thinking of making a blog post at least once a week for the last half-year...but nothing interesting ever came to mind. I live in Japan, yet I couldn't think of anything interesting to say. So I said nothing.

But today, I went for a walk. Even though it was rather cold, I threw on a sweatshirt, got my reflective walking sash and my rape whistle (compliments to the traffic safety department at my local public office) and set out.

And man, I have been missing something great. There was always a good reason not to exercise. It was too hot, or I was too tired, or I deserved a break for working so hard. It was raining, or it looked like it would rain, or I had heard that it might maybe rain that afternoon and why risk it. It was too dark or too early. Or I would just admit my laziness to myself and cozy up inside with a show I've seen too many times to count (Gilmore girls).

Boy, were those days wasted.

Walking is invigorating. Every step I took gave me another ounce of energy. By the end I was practically flying.

Walking steadily down those narrow streets with the cramped houses too-close together, the bulbous white lights that lead to the Shinto shrine at the center of town, and the crisp air filtering deep into my lungs, I remembered what it was like to be in love.

To describe my infatuation, my absolute enchantment with Tateyama Town is like trying to explain why humans must breathe air. It's quaint, it's friendly; with super markets that close early and street lights that start blinking after nine. It's quiet, but lively; during the day kids are playing on playgrounds in small parks and the elderly work in the wide rice fields that dapple and surround the tiny, crooked buildings with their layered roof tiles and sliding doors.

And then there's the mountains. It is honestly painful for me to remember what it was like to not have a massive mountain range right outside my window when I wake up. In the morning it's a faint shadow against the horizon, an uneven cut-out taped to the sky. In the afternoon, the sun is high enough that you can see from one end of the range, low and unconfident, aaaall the way across the boasting ridges and gallant peaks, back down along into smaller leaps and bounds until your eyes rest on the sea, which glistens a deep blue separate from the sky even from a 30-minute distance away.

And when the sun sets, well, that's my favorite time. Pinks and scarlets dance across the surface of the range so that shadows bring out the depth of the valleys and summits, and the darkness creeps up from the rice fields that line the natural beast and crawls across its body until it's submerged in night, and the intricate details that have taken millions of years to form so perfectly have become but a plain, 2-d silhouette against the night sky.

And the stars come out. And they blink fitfully at you from above with such energy, these pinpoints of light some billion miles away, that you think they must be satellites, but you watch them long enough to determine that they aren't, and they really are blinking red and blue at you like that (or so I've determined). And it was as I was walking through these shrunken streets, filled to the brim with their old shops and houses, staring at those dancing droplets of light that I felt again what I had felt the first time I saw the coast of the main island of Japan from my airplane over three years ago.

Complete and utter enchantment with my environment. With the world around me, with the world I participate in every day. And it has become my everyday. I believe this is why it's been so long since I've posted; to post about my life seems mundane and narcissistic. And maybe it is. But the spell I am under has been awakened as I went on my walk this evening.

And how glad I am I went for a walk this evening.

I can get caught up so easily in what's going on in my life. I get wrapped up in my plans, in my friends, in my generally busy nature between my job and studying Japanese, between my social life and my activities, like Kyudo. But it's been so long since I've stopped to unplug from my phone, from my computer, my TV, my games, from my friends, my family, my repetitive thoughts, my schedule, my plans, to remember who I am and what I'm doing. To allow myself to submerge into the world around me instead of just gliding through it. To make things happen instead of letting them just happen to me. To feel my independence and confidence as plainly as I feel the cool air on my face and the wind in my hair and the ground beneath my feet. To be moved to tears by the way time passes and the world turns, indifferent to its countless passengers in life.

As you can probably tell, it was one hell of a walk. And I hope to take many more like it. You never regret going outside and feeling the wind on your face and getting a little chilled so that you can return to a warm house with a hot cup of cocoa.

So, I'll challenge myself by posting more, if you challenge yourself by going outside more. Because a single walk really can change your entire perspective on things and just feel...magical.

Until next time!

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