Falling Backwards into Love – Day 2

Falling Backwards into Love – Day 2

I fell back in love with Japan yesterday – on the 20 minute ride from Nagoya to Gifu, sitting backwards…

Perhaps it’s the same way that you fall in love again with a spouse or a child when you almost lose them or they are going through great challenges.  Their vulnerabilities seem more tender—their idiosyncrasies seem more dear.

On my last couple of trips to Japan I’d been feeling a little bit of the “I’ve seen this before” or “ok, it’s another temple”.   The delightful tile roof houses and the ubiquitous rice fields had lost their charm.  What was quintessentially Japanese was seeming less special now.   My love for the people and the arts remained strong, but the country itself has begun to seem mundane or unremarkable.

Then, this morning, en route to Takayama, I stopped typing up the “Day 1” blog (see above) and looked out the window…  and I fell in love with Japan again.  In the way that touches deep into the heard and reminds you that the outward symbols are really a reflection of the inner spirit.

As we pulled out of the city, each place I saw reflected an element of the inner spirit of Japan:

The carefully pruned trees (topiary, actually) around the manufacturing plant, adding a touch of beauty to the mundane in a way that the Japanese do.  There is no apology for the fact that it’s a large brewery with truck bays and loading docks.  Just a simple statement that “we’d like to make our environment as beautiful as possible because of who we are, as a people”.

The miniscule “farms” that abut so many of the homes – each patch with early spring shoots that make me wonder if it is only for the family, or do they sell the crop or is it partly to keep in touch with their farming roots, even in the developed areas around the city.   And the farming is so deeply rooted that the devastation to the north, in a farming area, cuts more deeply to each individual and into the soul of the country.

The beautiful blue tiled roofs – which I STILL have never found out if there is something special about the “meaning” of the blue tile or if it may be the owners just love the color blue that is so prevalent in the indigo of Japan.  They seemed so cheerful now, and so comforting in their ordinariness.

The train changing yard we pass through reminds me of the wonderfully efficient Japanese train system that is just a joy to ride and so relaxing for a visitor but which forms the arteries and lifeblood of the country through its connectedness.

I see a scaffolded building and reflect on how they TOTALLY cover the building under some sort of fabric, sometimes even decorated (here is a picture of the current scaffolding over Himeji Castle), like a great screen.  This gives me the impression of preparing for a celebration – that when the building is done there will be a great reveal – to see the finished product of grace and beauty, rather than watching it being constructed.   And how like the geisha – who, behind the screens create a thing of beauty before going out into the night – complete.

Riding backwards on the train gave me a chance to reflect on what I saw rather than what I was about to see.  It gave me a chance to touch in again to the heart of Japan and become more present in the experience here, instead of in the planning for the experience.   And, when the train got to Gifu and we changed to the track to our destination – I was facing forward again with new eyes and a renewed sense of wonder for the timelessness of Japan.

One Response to “Falling Backwards into Love – Day 2”

  1. Aradhana Banga says:

    Around 20 yrs back I had been to Kure in Japan; I still remember the beauty,gentle & loving people,a peaceful destination & helping nature of Japaneese could make me able to go to Hiroshma.I love to come along with my childern once again,though it is rather expensive,I dont know whether I can make it my dream successfull,even I wish.

    Aradhana Banga

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