it's been obscenely long since i posted, but my lesson plans are set for tomorrow and (amazingly) it's only 7pm, so you have me for at least a few hours...i seem to have endured most of the depressive despair and giddy mania it requires to reacclimate to a foreign country. i've overcooked some pumpkin for dinner because, though i'm a decent cook, i'm absurdly forgetful of things in the oven.
where on earth do i begin this epic retelling? i struggle with being too linear...
i'll start with today.
sunday morning. i hold my breath when i wake up. the sky is bright outside, but i can't tell if the light outside is cool or warm, so i'm unsure of the weather. if it's raining, i will probably pace restlessly around my house and get nothing done all day. if it's sunny, i might have better luck. with my glasses still sitting on the bedside table (crap eyesight at the ready), i pull the curtains open in one swish: SUN!
thanks to the heater, my bedroom is a toasty 70-something degrees, but like every morning, i have to open the sliding doors to the rest of the house. a wall of cold air crashes over my sleep-warmed body. the thermometer says 48 degrees. i know i'll be lucky if this is the coldest it gets in my house, but it makes me want to cry when my hands go numb in the glacial water. the tea water is already hot and there's a swath of sunlight shining into my laundry room, so i situate a chair in its center and nibble on some shell-shaped almond tea cakes i bought as omiage. they're surprisingly good, and i can scarcely stop myself from eating the whole package.
i get some laundry on the pole to dry before the sun moves away from it. here's my laundry pole with the biggest clothes clamps you've ever seen keeping my duvet from blowing away.
i have a few errands to run in town, so i steer my bike into the glorious cold day. the light in my house is dingy and inadequate, though i've tried to remedy it with extra cords and bulbs in the bathroom and kitchen. that helped some, but i was still bummed to come back to my dim house after two weeks in my mom's home: the Land of Light. her bathroom is especially cozy and inviting, and i enjoyed many languid baths during the holidays, but i wouldn't be similarly inspired in my own house.
while mulling over the lighting options in my local grocery, i decided to scrap fluorescent and go back to my incandescent roots. at the very least they give off some heat which might make my bathroom a spot warmer. i installed the bulbs with low expectations. after all, the fluorescents were 100W bulbs, just like these. i flicked the switch, and HALLELUJAH; is the sun shining from my washroom!? i've harnessed a supernova--and hey, look how dirty my bathroom is! i've never seen grime with a such glee! it was such an incredible change that i rode straight back to the store and replaced the rest of my screw-in bulbs with incandescent ones. my blue mood doesn't have a chance.
yesterday was a perfect day. it was the remedy for two days of incredible stress and boredom, one day of "the world wants you in the gutter", and several days of "where the hell am i, again?" that's a brief summary of my time since i hopped over the pacific pond. but yesterday was full of wonderment. miss hess and i struck out to see what we could see in the fine nagoya metropolis. we emerged on a corner in the heart of the shopping district, sakae. as we waited for the light to change, we spotted two magnificent (for lack of a better term) goth girls. these were not the grim, morbid, bondage-fascinated kids clad in glossy plastic pants. they were tall, stunningly and confidently wearing all black frocks and, yes, some dramatic eye makeup. these exquisite dark flowers started across the intersection towards our corner as we struck out for theirs. i don't like staring, so i was looking straight ahead. however, just before we crossed paths i looked toward the tallest one and it dawned on me that she wasn't japanese. in the briefest of moments, she looked right into my eyes and nodded. it felt like the acknowledgment of some thrilling secret.
later, in the Loft, we meandered over to a workshop of people making paper out of recycled banana fibers. young, attrative, artistic-looking japanese people looked at us hopefully. did we want to participate? marina and i stood there under all those windows, caught in time for a moment. we hesitated and they waited. finally marina broke the silence and asked how much it cost. kindly, it cost nothing. gently they gathered around, a whole table of helpers and, ever-so-gently and patiently they took turns volunteering a word or gesture to explain how to fabricate our recycled paper. the moments were beautiful and flawless, and afterward, we floated off.
before we hit the tracks for tsu, we stepped from the mad rush-hour foot-traffic into a little sushi restaurant in nagoya station, and it was stunningly peaceful. we sat back (surrounded by fresh orchids), took deep breaths, and enjoyed our mugs of tea.
parting shot: this darling, dressed from tips to toes, waiting alone in the nighttime station. photo courtesy of marina.