oh kyoto

domo arigato! shinkansen! karimizudara! i love this language, all i know how to really say beyond pleasantries is ‘i will not wait’: machimasen!

i should wait and post reponsibly, instead of in this exhausted magical haze. but..machimasen!

my mother and i just got off the shinkansen from kyoto, the bullet train, fastest train in the world they say. my next post, if i can figure it out, will all be photos. i took pictures of temples, flowers, a grasshopper that weathered my curiousity and camera, shrines, buddhas; i took a picture with the woman who befriended me on the train from hiroshima by getting me to sing her amazing grace. how she knew that was my first song ever, i’ll never know. i took photos of the atomic dome in hiroshima and – some really jarring shots there that i may not post, that place struck deep into me, i’m not sure how to write about it.

here, though, are some thoughts that came to me throughout the trip in random order:

- i could live in kyoto, easily.

- i’m riding through the green mountains of the japanese countryside listening to peyote songs sharoncita burned for me with my new wrap from bali around my head and shoulders, listening for words that fall in a different rhythm to hear our destination. tokyo, hiroshima, kyoto, tokyo, fussa.

- i am seduced by the use of space in this country – driving through tokyo (kyo-to-to-kyo) i can see tiny cars parked on roofs of apartment buildings, the cemetaries are tight, cremated remains where depth indicates when one was buried. i could write an entire love-post on my feelings about japanese bathrooms, both the daily hole-in-the-floor which i have mastered use of, and the high-end super-bidet heated seat toilets…mmm, so nice. laundry is dried on balconies, i have seen the wardrobe of most of western japan now.

- i keep listening to love songs, juxtaposing the need and sacrifice of the songs with places of prayer. one of the lessons i keep contemplating here is the adoration that went into the design of these holy places we’re visiting. what it means to love and worship…i don’t know that you can ever truly win a battle against someone who fights for love. perhaps that’s our best weapon after all. i know i am full of it, love.

- love hotels! there are hotels here where, because families live three to a home sometimes, you can rent a room for a few hours with proof of marriage, and have a love hotel afternoon. mmm. ahem.

- i once accused, i think by ricardo, of idealizing japan. but i’m an idealist, duh, sooooo what i do with every day of my life. and being here again i am just as enthralled, the secret villages, hidden streets you turn down and suddenly there’s geisha running to work, secret streams running between the palaces of the emperor and his favorite woman. this place is really magical, even the modern is superior to our modern.

- an hour outside of hiroshima i begin to wonder how far the blast could be heard, felt; how far was safe, what it looked like in this mountain crevice of a town.

- americans are so loud. i could live in kyoto if i could get over the feeling of general lack of style and ability to speak discreetly. the girls here all wear tiny heels, or tall ones, the street style is off the chains inspirational. americans stand out all thumbs, and loud. i overhear a conversation between retired art teachers, snide, promising each other ‘juicy’ stories…they look like school marms. the last i hear, they say: ‘she’s so self-absorbed, how could she love?’ ooh, lessons everywhere…

- hiroshima teaches me that america has learned nothing. the photos from before and after, and the feeling there in the heart of the city, making a peaceful space in the center of the destruction…and we are still shock and awe, we are still obliterating civilian populations and supporting others to attack innocent people. no evolution has occured between our gorgeous hallowed borders, hiroshima fills me with shame, not so much for what happened then before i came, but for the america of today.

- on the train home there was a shiver through the train and everyone looked left and suddenly, there she was – fuji! fuji-san, she inspired two poems of questionable quality, here you go:

1.

when you see her/she is a giant holy whisper/a love song surrounded by the islands she is a part of but so much greater than/leaning back against the sun/laughing as she disappears

2.

she doesn’t play with the other mountains/she doesn’t gather, rolling in the distance/she doesn’t care to be seen every day/in the hot summer she drops her eyes, wrapping her hair in gauze, another holy woman/you might see through when the sun cuts her a shameless silhouette/but she blows and billows and is gone again/for she doesn’t want all your wanting

- i love fuji, she makes me understand sacred places in a different way

- i have a list of cities i want to return to when i fall in love, to take my lover with me to see these places where i better understood love, devotion, perfection in space. kyoto is now on that list. there are rumored to be 2000 temples and/or shrines. i want to go back and ask for blessings at each one.

that is all for now. i thought a lot about this blog, my fear of letting it go, plus the overwhelming responses that i shouldn’t end it so selfishly. i still feel i should, but am thinking of ways to keep something, maybe monthly or something, to edit down to some core. or not. not to tease, just – this is exactly the problem, how can i keep things from you?

my muscles ache from climbing mountains for blessings – i drank holy water! it is time to sleep now. photos tomorrow, i promise!

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