I returned home from Japan on Monday. That was my longest trip in a while but it still went much too quickly. I think I’ll go back and make some comments on my picture posts so I don’t have to recount everything here.
Returning home has been strange. The primary reason is that my family is still in Japan with my in-laws since – unlike me – they do not need to return to work. I said goodbye to them at Sakado station and took the bus to Narita. There were only two – three other people on that bus and I remember looking at the north side of Tokyo orientating myself by its landmarks. The first thing I look for isn’t the Skytree because that is impossible to miss, but that white tower in Ikebukuro which I’ve just learned is the Toshima Incineration Plant. “My neighborhood” in Tokyo is from Ikebukuro to Takadanobaba – I used to live in Mejiro – and so that tower lets me know where my neighborhood is whenever I look out over Tokyo.
I arrived at the airport but instead of going directly through security after checking-in I went to the shopping area as I thought they would have many more restaurants and I was right. I never eat McDonalds but if memory serves, the Japanese version tastes much better since the employees actually take pride in their work. Unfortunately there was a very limited menu which wasn’t what I wanted so I went to the kaitenzushi.
On the flight I sat next to two lovely middle-aged Japanese ladies. At first, we didn’t speak to each other but after a nice dose of turbulence I blurted out a few things in Japanese and we started chatting to soothe our nerves from a very bouncy half an hour. They weren’t stopping in San Francisco but going on to Las Vegas, not to gamble, but instead see the Grand Canyon and Sedona then on to Los Angeles. They complimented my Japanese and I was again reminded of just how much fuller and interesting life becomes when a linguistic boundary is overcome and a hidden and mysterious new world is able to be explored. I remain convinced that learning new languages is the best thing I could have studied in university. In our capitalistic society it is unfortunate that the mark of success and main driver to do anything is in the pursuit of financial rewards; by doing so the true beauty of life is washed out in the belief it can later be bought at a store. But that is a topic for another post.
I arrived home after a grueling “day” which kept me awake for well over 24 hours and did all the usual things one does after an extended absence. I first fed my fish who had devoured all the vacation feeders I had left; I watered my tired looking plants both inside and out since California still hasn’t escaped its historic drought; I gathered up a pile of mail which actually had one valuable letter from a friend among the piles of junk that saturates the postal service; and most importantly I took a shower to wash the plane from my body.
It was good to return home but again felt strange as I was and still am alone, in this house, without the constant activity and pull of my boys requesting my attention. I can do anything I want! Freeeedooooommm *Braveheart*!! But as much as I was looking forward to this break, the euphoric feeling I had expected still has not arrived. I feel melancholy which arises from missing them. I find myself looking at their pictures, video and wanting to give them big hugs right away. I’m sure once they return I’ll consider this moment a brief lapse into insanity when I should have been dancing with glee around the house at such rare and absolute freedom; but as I write these words, I feel nothing, a void inside a big, empty house.
I’m hoping that I’ll feel at least something soon and perhaps my current mood has been deadened by the cold that started on the bus ride to Narita and the jet-lag. I find it hard to fall asleep, even around 11:00pm when my normal bedtime is 8; then I actually have to set an alarm to wake up at 7 from very deep slumber when I normally awake without aid at 5am. I dislike this pattern and hope to get back to my old routine soon.
The other thing I’d like to write about in this post is the state of nature in my backyard. The sunset will soon no longer be visible as it passes behind the mountains until it returns next spring. The ravens also are no longer the lords of the skies in my neighborhoods as the Red-Tailed Hawks are now consistently hovering above for the past few months. I’m assuming this change in pattern is due to the drought; I used to see the two local ravens flying overhead all day long, drinking from my birdbath or perching nearby. Now, I rarely catch a glimpse of them. I also used to have a number of birds at the feeder and birdbath – both of which emptied during the Japan trip – and even though I refilled both on Monday have yet to see any activity at all – except for the hawks flying perilously overhead.
To end this post I’ll write about my projects while I’m alone. I continue to scan in all my old pictures so they can be passed down through the generations and preserved for eternity. I’ll clean the refrigerator and bathroom – maybe replace the caulking. I need to fix my little boy’s computer as the graphics card is causing trouble. I’m wondering if I can patch together a good system from the parts I have currently. I need to re-coat the wooden glider as the old coat has been peeling off. And I need to get over this cold so I can get back on my bike, go to the gym, see a sunrise and sunset from the top of the mountain; I need to escape this melancholy and enjoy this rare opportunity I have to do whatever it is I would like!!! Finish books, finish my Lapham’s Quarterly, watch all of Game of Thrones.
As I write this final paragraph a scene from A Christmas Story comes into my head.
Wake up, stupid, wake up!!