A life in Kyoto…
I did witness the cherry blossoms in bloom on the trees.
What really surprised me was when the Sakura are in bloom – the way they fill the trees! The trees look more and more surreal and less like trees and more like florid pink clouds! It is truly uncanny. It looks like a hallucination because you just can’t believe a tree does this, and you think it couldn’t possibly get any more florid with blooms – and it does! And then it becomes almost too much to behold – but right then it’s over – and then it starts floating away, and you don’t realize it’s going away so fast – and is gone before you know it! And you sit wishing you could have seen it just a little bit more…
But the experience was truly a fantasy of pink snow filling the air. After the trees begin to shed their blossoms only days later, really just hours…..children danced under the showers of falling petals, and to my surprise koi swim to the surface of the lakes and ponds to eat the fallen petals!
And it’s all very beautiful and very dreamy – like the whole world is a snow globe in the hands of a curious and gentle child.
In the meantime, the neighborhood of Kyoto by the school and where my dorm is – is incredibly picturesque! It looks like it is straight from a storybook. An older gentleman told me how the buildings are original, over 100 years old. But what I really love is how particularly, in the mornings when the older ladies gather by their stone yards and quietly greet me with, “Ohayo Gozaimasu.”
WHERE THE SCHOOL RESIDES ON A FORESTED HILLTOP:
The school itself sits on a forest hilltop, and I bike to school or often walk along the forest path. If I take the forest path to walk – I go by mounting incredible volumes of steep stone steps. They say hidden in the greenery are monkeys, deer and even boar and snakes!
One day, for the first time – I actually came across a monkey in the neighborhood! The monkey was in one of the empty untended fields not with crops – but just where wild stuff was growing. It was an awakening experience! Completely unexpected, there was the monkey – with vivid pink skin and tawny brown, blonde hair and the most amazing eyes and as big as a small child!
I have since seen whole troops of monkeys.
SO MUCH LIFE ALL AROUND:
In the sky, there are big dark blue crows that sweep the morning away – while all kinds of amazing birds with delightful songs stay just hidden out of sight but very much heard. Lots of insects and the fattest bees and bright purple moths unlike any I have ever seen! The forest begins or ends with bamboo that are so striking; I have never seen anything quite like them – the bamboo so tall and thin, seem otherworldly! It’s hard to kreen your neck far enough back to look at their full height directly – they just go on and on up to the sky…
I love taking the train to the city – it costs a little more than the subway which is itself interesting and so incredibly clean, but the train is above ground, and I love to watch the mountains and neighborhoods go by..
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY
Overall I feel a profound appreciation for a saying my friend, mentor, and father Dale taught me about his philosophy in life – and was largely influenced by his own stay in Japan…
“Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” and I feel like being here in Kyoto is really crystallizing my thoughts and experience about what that can be – in a way I hadn’t been aware of or experienced so profoundly.
I AM IN JAPAN:
On the subway, I am thinking about it all and for a moment the train pauses at some station and the car is empty and just half a poster of a beautiful geisha is peeking through the train car window…
It’s the perfect, “I am in Japan” moment realization!
Later, when I get back to the last stop the Kokusaikan station – it is totally dark outside; but I know I can just walk up along the rivers way and where the river goes under the railroad tracks ~ I can just follow the train tracks, and I will be back at my dorm…
It’s still early, maybe only a little after 9. I thought I might work on my homework. But I’m really tired; I just want to sleep…