Learning the Land

imageI didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but I don’t regret doing so. I’m living life for small victories right now.

Today’s small victory was a test drive to the city office I have to visit tomorrow for work. My

reward, after reaching my threshold and returning home, was an adventure into Fukushima-city. Here, I assured myself, I would be able to get coffee in a cafe rather than from a vending machine and see real live humans that were not directly involved with the act of grocery shopping or driving

Of course, who only wants to go to a cafe? There was, in fact, radiant sun and a gentle breeze to enjoy. I walked through the city and gained some elevation in shinobuyama park. And once I was climbing shinobuyama, I began to understand that some cities have mountains that look after them. Shinobuyama is a sacred place that has become the resting place of many over the years, and it has sweeping views over the entire city of fukushima. As I climbed higher and higher the sound of sirens yielded to the call of crows and other birds. Power cables gave way to plum and early cherry blossoms. And all of this park was filled with the spirits of the ones who watch the city. I thought, those who grew up here truly are blessed with great luck. At one peak of the mountain, there is a temple bell devoted to prayer for world peace and eternal bliss.

I told myself, that when I could read the Japanese signs, that maybe then I could go and ring the bell if that’s really OK. Everywhere I go, I am scared of breaking unspoken rules. This is not something exclusive to my living in Japan.

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