The record-setting heatwave has made the move here challenging. Most days require 2 or 3 showers and shirt changes. You just need to stand and walk a few steps, and the sweat pours out of you. There is nothing good to write about it, and it seems that this heat and humidity will continue to just sit on top of Japan until i leave. Only one day has it been below 30C, when it rained as a weakening typhoon crossed over Honshu (the main island of Japan). Meanwhile, i glance at Vermont where the high temps are a good 18 degrees F or 10 degrees C cooler, and the leaves are already changing color in the mountains. Here, summer continues unabated.
Here are pictures from my daily run with a few surprises for you blog followers of my J-life:
next i have to cross over a really busy super wide road, that intersects another super wide road, Yamate Dori, and i have run across a bizarre X-shaped overpass. it is crowded. no one is happy to see the lanky white guy, soaked with sweat, stinky with sweat, lumbering past...people move to avoid me...
then after this, i run to another large intersection and veer left to Yoyogi.
Confession aside in my blog monologue: and, yes, i did play the part of the retarded American, and i knew better, but i decided to do it anyway: i tried to run in Meiji shrine area (it has the most beautiful paths, you could run under these awesome wooden gates, next to shrines, all shady, soak up Shinto and Buddhist spirituality), but i was immediately stopped by this guard who was so stressed out by me. i thought that he might arrest, as in cardiac arrest. he is half my height, in green uniform, red in the face, stammering, sweating, running towards me, making the sign of an "X" with both of his arms, which means Batsu or forbidden, and he was so nervous and he tried in his best japlish to contain me "No ru ni gu" (no running), so, as i feared potential gunfire (maybe Japanese allows for killing those who desecrate the Meiji shrine), i stopped, and i did much apologizing, added a wakarimashita, bowed a fair bit, you know, as i was far too aware of what i was doing.
next is another wooded area i love near the famous public park bathroom designed by famous Finnish architect, Saarinen, i think, but i should double check this.
next, i get to my one of my favorite hilly side trails, mostly soft dirt, gravel, and leaves, with the cacophonous serenade of cicada and crows. why crows? this is the part of the park that is most deeply wooded and shaded, and there are a shocking number of homeless people living in makeshift encampments. it is a case of "out of sight, out of mind" as most Japanese would be shocked to see this large number of homeless people camping out, unless you frequent the park, you would have no idea. it is not in the news or media. from a missionary person i met, i learned a few things. these homeless people are really tidy, use the public restrooms, get water for bathing needs from the fountains, and many work. they just cannot afford housing in Tokyo. there is, as in all japan, an orderly hierarchy even among the homeless campers. there is a leader or shogunate kind of guy, his immediate underlings who keep order, then the others allowed to have a piece of turf in their park, and where there are that many people with food, there are crows. dozens of crows, raucous noisy birds, and Tokyo crows scare me. they are huge, well-fed, and on steroids, i think. i avoid eye contact less they view me as a protein source. they are clever, these crows, and they will be here when we are gone. now, all throughout yoyogi, sadly, you will see homeless people camping out, but the outliers are not part of the "group" in the desirable part of the park to be homeless, and worse are those just sleeping on benches and wherever they find shade.
here is the first incline toward the homeless encampment in Yoyogi.
this is really quite beautiful. it so zen and balanced. there are hanging bamboo with plants growing in them, a walkway lined with perfectly placed pine cones or matsubokuri, and a wooden door, and immaculate. there is calligraphy. this person has talent. why is this person here? is it choice? it is hard for me to think that the guy living here could not be more successful in life or i wonder why did he end up here.
and with that, i do a few loops, head back over the highway, and head to home. pounds lighter, dangerously dehydrated. maybe i go to shibuya swim club where i hear you can swim for next to nothing...
Coming next: Chapter Six: Whales' Tale or If you are Japanese, skip this blog.