Life in the Car Park (Post #50)

May 08,2013

The sun is shining today and it's merely jacket weather. If I could remember to dig out the digital camera I'd be able to prove it to the denizens of the interweb.

I've returned from a weekend trip to Osaka and must say I'm pleased with the peace and quiet Tottori offers. Now that I'm nearer to forty than thirty I have fewer people asking why I didn't choose to live in a prefecture with more to 'do', whatever that is supposed to mean, and it's fortunate because I never know what to tell them. Heaps of arugula and oregano are coming up from the garden already, and it doesn't even really feel like spring yet. Between that, dabbling in various musical instruments, and interacting with what I think is an interesting section of humanity on a daily basis, I find there's plenty to 'do'.

Osaka was crowded and confusing, though, I think, not so much as New York. We declined to wait in line for hours for okonomiyaki as recommended in the guide books and settled on those that were more out-of-the-way. There were plenty of places where the espresso was palatable and there was a place to sit down for a spell, but home cooking was sorely missed after a couple of days. I understand now when my father says he doesn't travel well. Unless you have absolutely everything you're used to having (including fresh vegetables at regular intervals) it's just not completely enjoyable.

On the other hand, it was good to browse through an unusually (for Japan) spacious and well-stocked gallery that featured Picasso and Andy Warhol without getting pushed and shoved, and it was refreshing that most people I had to interact with spared me the awkwardness of commenting on how 'sugoi' or 'jozu' I was, and simply communicated with me as if I were an ordinary human being. This was the first half of the trip; I started to think Japan must have changed a lot in a decade, but I was brought promptly back to earth before long when every time for ten shops in a row the clerks couldn't get two sentences out without feeling compelled to ask which country I belonged to. Though, that and being surprized I could write my own name was the worst of it; the 'haro, haro' nonsense was absent, and for this I was grateful.

I suppose that's the trade-off; as long as I remain here I'll have to put up with a portion of ridicule and alienation in exchange for (relatively) fresh air, clean water, and elbow room. It would probably be a similar experience for for my wife if she lived with me in Indianapolis or Peruggia.

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