Two Months ー ni-kagetsu にか月

By: Rora

Nov 08 2010

Category: Japan

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Hit the 2 month mark of Japanese livin’ yesterday. I realized it as we drove past the Coco Curry house where I had my very first Japanese meal and it made me kind of emotional, even though it’s the equivalent of getting emotional at an Arby’s. The first month was long and slow, but the second month has flown thanks to my busy work schedule and new friends and crisp air. I feel, currently, very and sincerely full of love for Japan for the first time. I was in awe in the beginning, and then I became overwhelmed. Now I have turned a corner and am beginning to appreciate Japan in its complexity and its contradictions and simple ways of being beautiful. When I say beginning to, I mean it: there’s a lot still left to learn and most of it will never be learned.

The other day at work we took the kiddos to the park, like we always do… except along the way we made a surprise stop at a shrine (so close to my work and yet I had never previously known it existed, which is not unusual for Fukuoka) to see a sumo practice! We shuffled in one long line of blue caps and blue t-shirts through the leaves on the stone path, and came to a small building with its doors open enough so that we could peer inside to see two sumo wrestlers in the middle of a practice match. They were much more flexible than I had expected. Light, even. And quiet. Not the hulking, fatso stereotype we see in America. Everything around the wrestlers was still. A row of men in suits knelt along the side of the ring, watching in silence. We watched in silence, too.

Reading Natsume Soseki books is kind of like the experience of a surprise visit to a sumo practice in late fall in Japan. His books are quiet and breezy and slow but still manage to feel completely rich and interesting. I just finished “Sanshiro” and just started “I am a Cat.” 19th century Meiji era Japan was never so interesting. The books are slow but rich. I have a feeling I could only appreciate them living here but maybe you can appreciate them too, living wherever you are. I recommend him, at any rate.

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