Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Quiet Aloneness in Japan

I think there is a loneliness that colors my life in Japan.  Where is life as usual, the people that I've known for years, the sounds they make in the other room, their assumed breathing?  Even a car ride away, such proximity still allows me to wake with them.  But when I'm here we sleep differently.  Our words only hear one another in certain times of the day, during the rising and setting of the sun when our waking hours briefly overlap, and otherwise they may as well be dreams.  In Japan I can hear people around me speaking, but even if I understand their words I don't really understand.  I was never born in Japan, nor did I attend school here, have a job or a family.  I never learned to be Japanese.  But coming back I feel a little bit closer.  I remember the language learned sometime in the past.  It comes back to me.  I know how to ride the train and the bus, I know how to bow, how to say "excuse me," in deference.  Japan is quiet for me.  Living here is a quiet and perhaps more lonely existence than my life with friends and family in States.  But perhaps that is the nature of being inherently detached from this culture that is not actually my own.  I watch it and listen to it.  I see appreciate it and enjoy it.  And in a quiet sort of way, I feel very happy to be here, again.

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