What makes a journey so special? It is moments you expect to experience and which you do, and on other realm is moments which just take you by surprise and form a deep impression giving a layered texture to the whole trip. Doesn’t it happen during all travels and isn’t it the inevitable promise of that moment which makes travel all the more alluring?And so, am sitting here reflecting on such moments from Japan…moments which I could have experienced absolutely anywhere else but which happened to occur along that dimension of geography.
I was sitting at my hotel breakfast table facing a road flanked by high rises on both sides. The middle of the road was flooded by early morning sunlight. There was no movement whatsoever and the road was as silent as a still tree. Just then a Japanese man dressed in a suit and carrying a suitcase crossed the road…his long figure forming a silhouette against the backdrop of the morning sunlight. It seemed like a perfect still shot, the one still etched in my mind when I think of Osaka.
What else shall I remember? Ahh…on the way I had a connecting flight from Tokyo. After waiting for about 30 minutes for the flight to take-off, the suddenly an announcement was made that all passengers should vacate the plane due to some mechanical problem. All of us huddled together in a corner near the boarding gate, everyone trying to speak to the flight attendant all at once. He informed that he shall make announcements regarding the progress every ten minutes or so. After ten minutes, he clapped his hands to gain our attention. As we waited with bated breath he first announced something in Japanese which none of us could figure out. After that he proceeded to say it in English and fumbled at the second word itself and stopped. Everyone of us including the most hyper-agitated person in the crowd burst out laughing.
From his previous trip to Japan, Man of Aquarius had gotten me persimmons. I had never tasted one before and fell in love with the taste when I had it. As we walked the streets of Narita, I came across a house with persimmon tree in the courtyard. I shouted out to him that it was persimmon tree. “It is!! How did you know?” he said excitedly. I felt like a child then who had solved a puzzle.
The sublime realization that beauty can hide pain. It was Osaka castle while reading one of the plaques I realized that the beautiful exterior hid such a turbulent history behind it. It made me scrutinize the place even more closely so for sometime.
And that moment when I was eavesdropping on conversation of a teenage couple at a coffeeshop. They were conversing in Korean..a language I am currently teaching myself. I was thrilled to hear it and kept on trying to guess the words but could only make out few of them.
Also, the dinner where we were sitting adjacent to a Japanese couple who got into a conversation with another tourist couple beside them. They were speaking in English and the Japanese couple kept on talking about how much they loved Dubai. I was half drunk with wine and kept on telling on telling an of Aquarius that we should take a flight to Dubai from Osaka.
The moments keep on growing in number as I think of them…as if a parallel trip happened alongside the one I intended to take. They feeling like tiny candies that am rolling on my tongue and savoring with great pleasure, till I only a mild taste lingers.