Appreciate the sensesNagoya, Academic Year 2009-2010
I tried to save my words but was unable to. I expect everyone who creates knows of a time when their creation simply vanished, leaving you at the top of a steep evening road, gazing up at the single light in the sky when the power lines and buildings continue to pass, until your entire surrounding and direction has rearranged. Though if you look up it is the same. I guess the experience is more than the words we reflect with.
This weekend we visited a few smaller villages in the countryside. These outing experiences are always wonderful, full of beauty to the point that you’d fight exhaustion on the bus rides just to take in the view between tunnels through the mountains. We’ve all known that feeling I think.
The first village was on the other side of a rocky stream whose bed gave us the impression that it could reach impressive heights. A small but long bridge led from our grassy hillside into the tree-hidden village. People sat under a tree along the hill’s slope watching the foot traffic and the great expanse that stretched on down the river’s path. Further away children were diving down the slope like a slip and slide. I literally laughed watching a group of guys as excited as children going down head first, pulling their friends down, or all running and vanishing over the slope at once. The village was crowded with sightseeing tourists from across Japan and, quite frequently, foreigners. On some of the homes the straw roofs were colored by rich moss or taller plant growth, and small streams fed through the smaller gardens and empied in larger streams or ponds. A friend and I parted the short cloth entryway and dined in for lunch at a very small establishment. At our right upon entry we were welcomed in and could see the chefs alongside the cashier/waitress. We ate at one large table alongside some older Japanese women with cushioned tree trucks for our seats. It was quaint, delicious, and beautiful. We could watch people outside and take everything in. We also made the older women and the cashier laugh at our misunderstanding of what we had ordered.
The second village was much smaller and gave off the impression of a much earlier time. The homes were tucked into the woods, each holding its own name and showing off different features of the lifestyle of another time. Small creeks gathered at the watermill and found their way into a large pond at the base of our entry. Some water traveled above ground by use of carved-out limbs in what must have been a timestaking process. People were more spaced out along the many paths and gave the village a quiet but lived in feeling. The sun was bright and the forests made it scatter, but you could look deeper into the pathless woods with great ease. In one home a man was making shingles in a fashion reminescent of splitting wood. He worked in a earthen pit depression within the house. Alongside him was a well-stoked fire, and the smell of a warm gathering in late fall and long naps by the fire filled me with great nostalgic peace. I left that place with the smell of fireplace smoke clinging to my green oversized hoodie and stepped into the evening glow of that smaller village, passing the gardens and fully wanting to jump in and start working before the sun passed and I would be called back for a home-cooked dinner. Have you ever felt so close to home on the opposite side of the world?
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