Sakura in Tsuki Park the night I arrived in Japan

Dispatch № 27: 2,194 Days

Six years I’ve been in Japan. This last Wednesday was my sixth Japaniversary. Rather than reflect on the occasion in my usual way, though, I thought I’d expore that time through numbers.

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At the shore of Kasumigaura Bay

Dispatch № 26: Cultivated Disorder

A peaceful setting, but something feels strange. If I pay attention to ambient noises, what I hear most are the small sounds of the water, the wind rustling the tall grasses to my left, and a violent, gasoline-fuelled roar at a moderate distance.

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Yours truly a few years back, taking one of those iconic mens-room selfies

Dispatch № 25: An Aside

Indulge me, if you would, and let me have a bit of an aside for today’s entry. The last couple of weeks have been incredibly intense and have contained both some of the most trying and most amazing moments of my life.

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Mayumi and me enjoying a festival in my old neighborhood in Tokyo

Dispatch № 24: A Festival Built For Two

Last summer, they canceled all the local festivals because of the pestilence at large. Though vaccinations are happening now in Japan, it’s slow going, and I suspect summer festivals will fall victim to the plague for a second year.

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My bedroom wall and tatami floor

Dispatch № 23: The Thinness of Walls

On Tuesday at 4:56 AM, an earthquake woke us. Not especially strong, but it seemed to last a long time. I reached over, took Mayumi’s hand, and we laid there wondering how long the shaking would continue.

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A hanger on the laundry pole

Dispatch № 22: The Laundry Forecast

A long metal pole has invaded my living room on several occasions. Supported with a camera tripod on one end and a light stand on the other, it is always festooned with sodden garments that didn’t make it inside before the rain arrived.

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Vines and marks on retaining wall

Dispatch № 21: Windblown

Air is only visible to us through its interactions with the world. We all know the sound of the wind in the trees and the gentle swaying of branches. We see ripples on ponds and watch autumn leaves swirling on blustery days.

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Early plum blossoms at Chomeji Temple, Nerima Ward, Tokyo

Dispatch № 20: Ghosts and Moonlight

If ghosts exist, I am likely in their midst, sitting as I am between the main hall of a seventeenth-century Buddhist temple and the large cemetery just next to it. If they’re here, though, they’re not letting on.

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Looking across the water in Kawasaki

Dispatch № 19: Faster Shoes

I need faster shoes. Not shoes that make me faster at running or anything like that, but shoes that are faster to put on and (especially) to take off. Living in Japan, I often have to remove my shoes, and if you’re waiting for me, I feel bad for you.

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