I've had several days of very little schedule. Just me and the day. I was reflecting this morning on how rare this will likely be in the future, how rarely this happens in life. Usually we have agendas, and family with whom we live; things to structure the time and our attention. One the many things that I think I'm learning in Japan, is how to feel time in different ways. Even without these rare strings of days with nothing, time moves differently here. There is a difference in pace, in urgency, one that seems softer and less hurried. I think it allows me to have a slower internal oscillation, especially on these open days.
What is it that gives this feeling of time? Is it the constant deference to rules, to empty intersections with people who obey "Don't Walk" signs? Is it living in a place with lots of other people and accepting that there will always be someone in your way? Is it the awareness that another natural disaster is inevitable, only a matter of time; that nothing can be conquered? Is it fear of being different in such a closed society that encourages one to stay in one's comfort zone, rather than pushing for something new and potentially awkward?
Time has a different texture here. But it's so intangible. Something that cannot be captured on a camera or recorder. It is connected to the way people live, to their genes and culture, passed down for generations and generations. What would it take for me to become one with another culture's time? I feel I've come much closer, and the time of these days has been a good practice. For the future, when times feels differently than it does now, to remember these open days of sunlight and rain.