So much beauty. A cool breeze. A timeless pagota.— at Kawaguchiko, Fuji, Japan.
works of genious.
Toward the end of Harold Norse’s literary memoir, he writes, “Years later in Athens, I heard that a group of painters in Paris, calling themselves Cosmographers, had founded a school based on my method. I immediately christened it “Bidet Art.” After all, as an innovator I’d have been ungrateful to the part played in my art by this toilet appliance, which possessed the symbolic significance the urinal had for Marcel Duchamp; furthermore the bidet had produced had produced cosmic effects….”
Throughout our trip to Japan, I’ve felt those cosmic effects.
I told Caroline about Norse’s society.
“I agree wholeheartedly,” she agreed.
Another member of the society.
But Americans are brutes; our toilets can’t compare.
Even the train stations here have these porcelain goddesses.
It’s the little differences in Japan, my friend Zack told me before we left.
The trip is going well.
I’ve only compared Caroline to the Nazis once.
But we still have three weeks, she reminds me.
On our way to Mt Fuji we ran into a family traveling from Puerto Rico.
“We couldn’t find you,” he says.
They missed the meetup for the group.
“I guess they don’t get the souvenir fan,” notes the teenager.
But they have extras.
Their mind is on other things.
They are having a revolution Puerto Rico.
Activists in Hong Kong are rising and so are the police.
Fascism is spreading from the US to England.
“Can you snap a photo for us,” our friend asks after we’d hiked up past a pagoda,, 398 steps up.
“Trump sucks on three…”
We chat a few more minutes.
“What’s going on in Iran,” I asked after he tells me he is in the military in Hawaii.
“I don’t know. I think its going to be World War Three. The military is pushing for it.”
“Yes, big business.”
In Japan, they are acutely aware of the implications of these kinds of moments.
Much of Tokyo burned during WWII.
“Why can’t we live in harmony?” wonders our tour guide, reflecting on growing up in post-war Japan.
We love Japan.
The street style.
The people hanging out after work at restaurants.
Very few people in yoga pants.
Like New York, everyone is on their phones.
Lots and lots of people on their phones.
Even less people reading on the trains.
The only person I’ve seen reading was a homeless man, sitting on the street with newspaper for shoes.
Like the US, the baby boomers are dying off and there are less young people to support them.
The young people here are running around in Lolita gothic outfits and kimonos, business attire and manga fashion.
“Japan is made up of four islands,” notes our tour guide.
One tenth of the population of the 127 million live in Tokyo,
Where 4 million people move through the Shinjuku subway station a day.
In the 15-20 second crosswalk at Shibuya, 2000 people cross through the street.
In order of fear, Japanese worry about:
“We’re looking for harmony in the global era,” she explains, referring to the seven gods.
“The person who has not climbed Fuji is a fool. The person who has climbed it twice is an even bigger fool.”
Up we walk to look at Fuji from Arakurayama Sengen Park, with the Cheito Pagoda in the distance.
A breeze passes, trees, a little peace, a moment of calm, feeling like pilgrims again.
We spend the afternoon making our way around the mountain, walking, napping, reading.
The Saiko Lyashi no Sato Nenba is a settlement of thatched houses destroyed by mudslide in 1966 and rebuilt as it once was.
In the forest.
Its tree are works of art.
So is the glass work.
The thatched roofs.
On the way back to Tokyo, I read Norse thinking about friendships and creativity.
He writes about fifty years of friends, sex and explorations.
Often looking at Po Chu’s writings about friendship:
This is what friends do.
Its what we are doing.
“THE FRIENDSHIP OF YUAN CHEN AND PO CHU-I; A TELESCOPIC VIEW” Angela Jung Palandri writes: “Friendship has been throughout history a contributing factor to great literature and often has served as a stimulus to creative imagination. For people with imagination are stimulants to one another and they can help persons of lesser talent to achieve what would be impossible or difficult for them alone.”
Finishing our day, we find a pub serving gyoza and beer in Shinjuku.
“It was the best part of my day,” notes Caroline on the way home.
A cosmic feeling, a little peace for a moment.