Thursday, February 14, 2013


On the Sanyo shinkansen, making our way from Shimonoseki to Tokyo, we had cleverly escaped the wild typhoon.  Now the skies were calm - governed stoically by the late afternoon sun.  She was sound asleep, her head on my shoulder, her hand in mine. 

Outside the window, a casual parade – dark green valleys and rice fields swaying, cozy sea harbors and fishing boats bouncing, blue roof-tiled houses crawling reluctantly up hillsides to the lonely stone cemeteries perched comfortably, but resentfully, on top. 

We don’t choose the memories that stay with us; they choose us. The sunlight was fading and, as it always does, was reminding me that I am another step closer to death – another breath closer to oblivion.  And yet, I confess, no closer to knowing the world.

Outside the window was her land – her home.  In this place were created her youthful memories of gathering wood for her grandmother’s fire and of dancing round the yagura during the Obon festivals.  Of standing up to a school bully and of a secret puppy hidden in her room.  Of her fondness for natto and her fascination with elephants.  Of her rejection as an aspiring actress and of her father’s ire as she chose college over marriage.

Even knowing this how could I ever know the depth of her if I did not know her land?  How could I possibly ever touch the nostalgia of her heart?  The last light of day played across every contour of her hand.  I sat mesmerized, observing on it, every aging crease of her skin that she had wrongly concluded would repulse me and so shyly hid from me.  Would she ever know that it made no difference to me?  Would she ever really know her charm?  Would she ever understand her allure?

In the midst of my thoughts, briefly she awakened.  At first a bit confused, as though momentarily lost, her eyes at last found their focus on me.  Squeezing my hand she smiled and, reassured, sleepily lowered her head back onto my shoulder.  With soft breath she drifted off again to the gentle rhythm of the speeding train.  And having the words but not the wisdom, still I whispered into her dreaming ears, “Suki da yo, Suki da yo,” as the summer twilight finally covered us.

- Just a peasant

Photo by potiyama


Anonymous hellopoponta said...

No doubt she will have her own memory of that moment so cherished that it still sets her heart aglow.

Ayano xxx.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous just a peasant said...

Hi Ayano,

Perhaps she will. But still I wonder.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Hiva said...

When comes from a heart, touches another heart
That was very poetic JP ( Just a Peasant)

PS: I use people name when I am talking to them, without it I am a little lost. If you don't mind, I call you JP :)

1:53 PM  
Anonymous just a peasant said...

Thank you Hiva. - JP :)

4:14 PM  
Blogger radius said...

Dear Just Peasant, Your post reads like the beginning of an engrossing story. In particular I am fascinated by the imagination how slowly the relation between the two passengers develops, inside this superfast train. Maybe during this brief moment, between her waking up and "..drifting off again..", the Shinkansen train drove another 20km further. I have been to Japan twice, and was amazed by how the people unify very old traditions and rites on the one side and dedication to hyper-modernity on the other.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous just a peasant said...

Hello Radius,

Thank you for the comment. A very interesting observation as well. Also, I like that about Japan too. How the old and the new are often fused together sometimes almost seamlessly.

7:26 AM  

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