string of thoughts

today has been a great day, wonderful in its littlest and most profound ways. i took a bullet train and watched the sun set amongst the mountains from the bullet train. i watched as dense city grew sparser and nature grew more luxuriant as the train hurtled its way into the mountains. the last rays of the evening sun shone so bright it hurt my eyes; fields of crops were illuminated, shimmering and glowing in their magnificence; mountains and clouds blend and bleed into one another — these views were greatly comforting. i am a girl running from the city and nature has welcomed me with open arms.

these days are beautiful days. we went for a picnic yesterday to celebrate father’s day. the family and i ate konbini lunches, shared tea, and basked in the wind. akiko raced her children to a tree and back; yasunobu swung them around and they broke into laughter. we laughed when nat-chan ran in a straight line towards the tree but got lost on her way back. she weaves through the thick of families on picnic mats, stopping by at one, and then another. when she re-discovers us, she sprints towards us on her little legs, only to have mimi dash off again as nat-chan returns to our mat. in another game, nat-chan makes a crown of grass for her father, before she gets into the hobby of intensely plucking bunches of grass off the ground and flinging them at unsuspecting adults (her dad, her mom, me). mimi soon joins in the fun (or the horror, as yasunobu would probably think of it as) and before i knew it, i was chased by two squealing young girls across the park. it was fun times. these family moments are familiar and foreign all at once.

yet where i am surrounded by life and its effervescence, i too am surrounded by death. we all are. in the early hours of the morning, i counted at least five ambulances as they sped towards the nearby hospital. i am no stranger to hospitals but in a foreign land, their sirens leave me strangely wakeful. sometimes, in morbid fascination, i imagine them as cries of help of the individuals that lie in them.

someone jumped on the metro today. it was a “passenger incident”, the disembodied voice on the train reports, but we all know the truth. in japan, it takes twenty minutes to clean up a corpse on the tracks, but it takes even lesser time for us to forget that particular death. the human mind itself is, after all, the most efficient.

on the speeding train, i mistook some graves on a hill for a crowd of people. on second thought, maybe i wasn’t really wrong after all.

looking through my photographs at dinner today, i had a sudden pang of anxiety. what if this time of my life is really the most beautiful moment in my life? these days are too beautiful for me to bear; i don’t want them to end.

//written 20 June 2016

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