Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Postcards, Gin, and Japanese People Taking Photos With Me: A regular night in Nasushiobara

Despite the lack of space, there is something completely satisfying about writing a post card. My laptop is broken, so it does not accept my iPhone camera (and hasn't for some time), but I rummaged through a free box on the farm tonight and found some choice items that I could not pass on sending to my friends and family in the States and other places across the Globe. And as it's an unexciting Tuesday night, and I spent the day building a greenhouse, I decided to leave the farm to come to one of the few bars in Nasushiobara that has free Wifi to take part in the lost art of letter writing. I even found a way to figure in writing here. The bar, Gorilla Lounge, is not all that relaxing. It has a projector that plays one video, a Dutch saxophonist playing a concert circa 2009 (?) in Germany. The best thing I can think of to say about her is that her debut album was called "Saxuality", but I can't remember her name.

The postcards I'm writing tonight aren't entirely from the Free Box. They range from 19th century depictions of Japanese settings, scenes from Hong Kong I picked up while visiting, to cartoons showing early 20th century Japan, but oddly reminiscent of Bill Waterson ("Calvin and Hobbes"). The setting of Gorilla Lounge includes me plugging my headphones into my computer and listening to Jim O'Rourke's "Eureka" and "The Visitor", which are fantastic albums, and he also is a gaijin living in Japan. Also, gin.

The point of writing here, however, is I was reminded that I have not been lonely, truly lonely since I arrived here. I'm 30 (old? starting my road to adulthood?), so maybe that has something to do with my lack of homesickness, but so many other things must be a part of it as well, right? Besides the couple of days when Klara left (won't post about her on here, but she meant (means?) a lot to me)--and even then, labor has its way of pushing personal thoughts away--I haven't really even thought about loneliness. So, work helps. I am also blessed to have good, often challenging conversation with many of the other people who work and live at ARI. I wish I could say that spirituality has helped, but the church here is terrible, so my chances at communion with God are pushed, maybe focused, to my relationships with the earth and friends. This is not a bad thing, it's a really good thing for how strong those relationships are/can be, though I do miss that particular Anglican/Episcopal way of church and prayer.

Completely unrelated, while writing my first set of postcards, two strangers came up to me and asked whether they could take their photograph with me. This is the second time this has happened, and I hope I enrich the FaceBook pages of people in the Nasu region. At least this time no one asked to touch my hair or questioned why my eyes are blue.

Bien à vous,


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