Friday, September 4, 2009


It suddenly feels like fall. I realized soon it'll be dark by the time I get home and I'll ride through the lights in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro (Ikepukero!) every evening. That's nuts. I don't feel like I'm in NIPPON PARADISE or anything but once in awhile, elsewhere as well, I catch myself accidentally living out small forgotten childhood dreams. It's a pretty good thing to say about your life. That's why you should do what you want all the time.

I moved to Japan almost a year ago. I spent all last autumn like this, poring over a giant map, charting epic walks down the backroads and up the mountains in Yamagata. I was all alone up there. I couldn't make any friends so I just walked all the time. One night I went to the top of this mountain and wound up in the darkest, spookiest place ever.

At the time there were persimmons growing everywhere in Yamagata. I picked one and ate two bites. It wasn't that tasty, I guess there's a bitter kind and a sweet kind. I'd never had a persimmon before Yamagata so I didn't know. After the two bites I abandoned the persimmon and then got worried the mountain would think I was being rude. You can call me a hippie but look what it was like up there!

The persimmon was all I'd eaten that day because I was truly broke, and I walked a lot of miles. When my stomach started to hurt on the way back down I quickly concluded I'd eaten a fatally poisonous fruit by mistake. I was in the middle of nowhere.

I really thought I was going to die under a tree in rural Japan from eating a poisonous fruit I'd picked at the top of a moonlit mountain and it was going to be so melodramatic and ridiculous and I rued every poetic fantasy I'd ever had. I was so anxious and grim.

My death throes went on for about thirty minutes and then I guess must have gotten distracted by something, because I forgot all about it until the next afternoon when I was like LOL WTF. This story reveals my dramatic idiocy/idiotic dramatics, should I delete it or can I blame the mountains again? If the story of Yamagata had a ring structure the corresponding section to this would be the traumatic nightmare I had about a real-life Mister Donut before I moved to Tokyo. Let's not.


Kira Petersson-Martin said...

I have totally had moments like that, and I don't think it's anything to be embarrassed about. Well, maybe it is, but that's a waste of time!

Besides, if you weren't like that you'd probably be as boring as everybody else, right?

Beth said...

i used to get like that a lot up there. that was i the fall but when i got really infected with the deepest part of winter i'd get these disassociative fits, it could get so silent and deserted i'd step out onto the UNBLEMISHED snowy street at night and start thinking i'd gone into some empty parallel universe by myself and i'd never see another human being again and i'd be in tears by the end of my frantic walk to the 24 hr grocery store where there were some people. i gather i am vaguely nuts but you're right, i dig my brain way too much to wish any of it was different, even when it is ridiculous. i'm glad you relate!!