Adsense Top Bar

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Islands in the Stream

There was a unique alignment of the planets yesterday presenting me a rare treat, and an entirely free Saturday with no classes to teach at either Ichinoe or Taito Ward. I had known already that Riki-kun and his mother would be on holiday in Okinawa (沖縄), so when I received an early phonecall from Kobayashi-sensei informing me that the lessons at Kidea were also cancelled, I felt pretty pleased. I fell back into my futon, savoring the opportunity to sleep in. An hour or two later, Nonomura-san called too, to say that her students were unable to study. I jumped out of bed, eager to seize the day (What should I do? what should I do?) Hang out with Maniac High, or explore my new 'hood, which I am slowly beginning to appreciate, and accept. I opted to go for a walk, and return to the river which had enchanted me a few weeks' previous, on my last totally all day off. Maniac High could wait, I reasoned. I needed time off, to get in touch with some of my older habits.

Edo River (江戸川) is one of the most storied waterways of the city, and it passes within half a kilometer from my apartment on its voyage to Tokyo Bay. It is the river which gives my ward its name, and its banks are pocked with baseball fields, baseball being of course the most popular sport in Japan. As it was a Saturday many of those fields were in use, young kids swinging their bats or fooling around on their bicycles, or driving remote controlled cars. I tramped past them all, following the floodplain (江戸川病院前野球場) roughly north, before ducking under the tracks of the Chuo-Sobu Line, to cross the Ichikawa Bridge into Chiba Prefecture. 
It was a long walk, and it allowed to me to contemplate all my recent adventures, moving house and my detention with Maniac High, the girl I had kissed in the whirlpool at Yomiuri Land after my release, my porn debut. I estimated that (based on current data) if I continued consorting with Maniac at the present rate, I might spontaneously kiss 20 girls over the next 5 years. How many kisses does it take to advance to the next breakthrough? I wondered, fingering my keitai's calculator. One could liken it to climbing a steep hill, each step becoming progressively more difficult, from mindsex to rapport, and then all the way to penetration. Or perhaps, the journey that spermatzoa take in their battle to fertilize the ova; a million souls might join in the challenge, but only one will hit their target, and achieve incarnation...

Traversing the Edogawa Riverbed Green Space, I noticed the Wayo Womens' University (和洋女子大学) ascending to the north-west. On my previous expedition on the river I had mistaken it for a shopping mall, and I imagined that I might find social stimulation there. Now it looked more like a Tuscan basilica. Whatever the case, there were no bitches to be seen in the vicinity of the school. I guess they were on holiday.

The Womens' University dropping behind me, as I ventured north (Japan, 2007)

Beyond the university the river, which until now had been bearing north-east, bent back to the west. Perhaps it was my imagination, but the landscape seemed to grow more rural too, more idyllic and abandoned. Houses and factories were thinning, with fields beginning to appear, many of them overgrown with weeds. Looking west through the summer haze, I could barely make out the skyscrapers of Shinjuku.

The towers of Shinjuku, visible to the west (Japan, 2007)
While I was getting tired, this contact with nature energized me... it amazed me to realize that such pastoral beauty could be found in walking distance of my apartment. 

Fishing in the Edo... in this island of nature in the city (Japan, 2007)

I came upon fields sprouting spring onions and other vegetables. Chiba is supposed to be the number one prefecture in Japan when it comes to spring onions, and they are a mainstay of Japanese cuisine.

Vegetable lots, in Chiba Prefecture (Japan, 2007)

Entering Matsudo City (松戸市) I encountered 
some kind of waterworks, an immense water treatment plant in fact, appearing to block my way. I swerved right, navigating a narrow path to a quaint village called Kuriyama, a short distance from the bank. I call Kuriyama a village because that is it appeared to me -- a lost village in the middle of the megalopolis. An island in the stream you might consider it, a pocket of Old Harmony that had been spared Virilio's mad urban rush, and his dromological doom.  Near the top of the hill there was a rustic temple, which is named Honkyuji (本久寺).

Honkyuji, in Matsudo (Japan, 2007)

Sometime later, Manic High sent me an MMS, inviting me to go see the fireworks with his family out at Setagaya. Much as I would have liked to chill at Shinozaki, watching The OC and Colombo on TV, I knew I was too young to retire so early. I found a train station at Konodai (国府台), on a line which I never knew existed, and began the laborious trip crosstown. I could sit down at least, and rest my aching legs. On a whim, I decided to rename Maniac "Dennis the Menace". It is what Meth calls him, and it has a nice ring to it. There is another Maniac High out there, and one day I might meet him.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...