Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Otenki! お天気 (Weather)

FriSep 28

Scattered T-Storms
Scattered T-Storms
NNE at 15 mph

Tomorrow I pack for my three week journey.  The weather says 82 degrees in Tokyo. 76% Humidity. Scattered Thunderstorms.  The forecast remains the same for the entire four days of my stay in that wonderful city.  Will I think it's quite as wonderful as I did three springs ago with weather like this?  I hope so.

Why did I think that traveling to Japan in the fall was going to be lovely corduroy, light sweater and boots weather?  I know what that kind of humidity feels like, I've been in Lake County Illinois in the summer enough times to remember.  I particularly remember visiting Catholic cousins and aunts and uncles and joining them in the church, something my sisters and I were not used to doing.  And the part of Catholic churchgoing that requires the congregation to kneel at the pew many, many times we were certainly not prepared for in that hot, humid climate.  Between the three of us, two of us fainted.  Of course my oldest sister, Seana, held it together, I believe.  Our cousins may have thought that this was God's punishment for our being Californian Unitarians.

Anyway, I think I will be able to handle it...I won't be kneeling much.  At Japanese temples and shrines there is a ritual of washing your hands and mouth out with clean water to purify the body before you enter.  Some Shinto Shrines also have a bell with a large rope.  A gesture of ringing the bell, clapping twice, bowing one's head in prayer then clapping once or twice more and backing away silently is traditional.  No head-dizzying kneeling required!

And so I prepare for the trip ahead (りょうこのじゅんびをしてます)

Although I have been dreaming of this trip for many months, I am now faced with the inevitable dreamer's remorse.  "Why am I going on this trip?  What is the purpose of this fool hardiness?" "Did I really think I could just fly to Tokyo, get off the airplane and head north to my hotel (via a train called the Skyliner followed by a taxi to my hotel)? As if I were landing at LAX and easily heading home?

I remember the shock of landing at Narita last time, the oceans and oceans of people.  The confusion.  The jet lag.  I dread all of that, of course.  It's been quite a long time since I flew across an ocean in order to travel alone.  In fact, I've never really done that.  I did travel alone in Europe one summer when a friend and I headed there and then ended up parting ways.  What fun I had on that solo journey that took me instead of south to Italy and Greece as we had intended, North to Heidleberg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Malmo, Sweden.  But I was young and foolish then.  I wonder if I'm not just old and foolish now.



  1. Sorry I didn't comment here before you left, but you have no doubt now gotten through all the traveler's obstacles and are settling in to the program. I hope it's richly rewarding.

    Today a man came up to the cash register where I was working and seemed agitated. He turned out to be Japanese, and as you can imagine was greatly embarrassed that he was having a hard time speaking English and that what he had to explain was that he had left a bag by the back door because he didn't want to set off the security alarms. He started to explain that the bag had nothing valuable in it, but it did have a newspaper and a bottle of water. I walked over to the lost and found a zipped up bag and asked if it was his. He lit up and said it was. He insisted on showing me the one newspaper and the one bottle of water. I managed not to do that Graham thing and get all soppy about it, but I was truly delighted for him.

    1. Great story Seana. That sounds very much like the wonderful people here. They never want to impose, ever. I'm glad you found his bag. Little does he know that people from around the world are reading about it, and that the person who he interacted with felt so "soppy" and warm towards him and his very Japanese self.

      Thanks for sharing that.