|Minoh Park, Japan|
I do not like this weather. I am a child of temperate zones but I suppose that it is a sign that I have acclimated since 30 degrees does not seem too bad to me now. When it climbs closer to 40 then I'll really start complaining.
The heat and the humidity sap my strength. Even reading takes effort though a good part of the day is still spent in my blue chair (and I always seem to have a blue chair wherever I live) with my e-reader under the air-co. I just started reading The Past is a Foreign Country-Revisited by Lowenthal but I haven't read far enough to pronounce judgment. That said, the author spent (wasted in my view) time enumerating his accomplishments which irritated me. Not only did this not add anything useful to his introduction of the work but it muddied the presentation of his argument.
Out of curiosity, and because I miss university, I am trying out Amazon's Audible, a service that offers audio books and lectures. I selected one that looked interesting Herodotus: The Father of History which is a lecture series taught by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, Professor of Latin and Classics at Whitman College in Washington state, USA. I am on lecture 3 or 4 and it's quite extraordinary. Vandiver is an excellent lecturer with good diction and a delivery that makes her subject come alive. Only someone so knowledgable about her subject could present it so clearly and cogently. This one I definitely recommend.
These are lazy days indeed when I have all the time in the world to read or listen to lectures. Not nearly as congenial as sitting inside next to a nice fire in my Godin listening to the rain on the roof but it is what it is.
I am, to be honest, eager to be home in my house in Versailles. I have spent the past year travelling in a triangle: Osaka, Versailles, Brussels. The garden is being ably maintained by our house sitter but yearn to be back to a place where I can work outside with my hands in the dirt. I've walked a lot of Japanese gardens and I have ideas for my own that I desperately want to realize. Japan is lovely but I have no desire to make it my home. I want to hear French, not Japanese (or Korean and Chinese) when I walk down the street. I want to enjoy a steak-frites at a bistro. I want some good strong coffee. I miss my neighbors and my friends, the farmer's market in Porchefontaine, and running along the Avenue de Paris. I am homesick, mes amis, and more than ready to return.
My neighbor, a Finnish woman who lived in the same building as I here in central Osaka, is already home in the UK. She recently posted this: 9 not so obvious things I miss about Japan. I am sure that I will have a similar list once I am home. (Though I think she is mad to include "high heels" in hers.)
Perhaps that is the lesson of return. It' hard to see a place or a people clearly when you are in it and surrounded by them. You have to leave for a time and live somewhere else to get clarity on what you experienced. And yet when you go back to a place, it's not the same. The time I spent in Osaka is a snapshot of the city at a particular point in time and if I return in 10 years it will be something different. But the person I was has been irrevocably changed by my time here and I won't be the same person when I walk through the door of my house in Porchefontaine, a community that has lived its own life as I've travelled about.
All this to say that Heraclitus was right: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” But I like to think that I've spent that time gadding about profitably. And we shall see what I make of "home" when I return with all the gifts God saw fit to bestow on me.