Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Smile to the autumn sun

Mike left for India on Sunday. He'll tour 5 cities, attending conferences and giving talks there for two weeks. Yesterday was my first day alone in Tokyo after he left. Massive typhoon travelled across Japan, and it was a holiday here, so pretty much everyone in Japan stayed in, watching news and typhoon updates on TV all day, or doing what not around the house. I spent my day working on the English translation of another poem by Tanikawa. I even took a nap and made dinner for myself. I didn't see or talk with anyone, but it was fine. It was a typhoon day, so for most of the people in Japan, it was a perfect day to be less sociable than usual without feeling guilty anyway (plus Japanese people aren't the most sociable or friendliest people in the world to begin with!).  

Today was different. When I woke up, I opened the window and saw an "old-fashioned" blue sky spreading out before me. The air was crisp and cicadas were gone. It was suddenly autumn outside. I made breakfast and took a shower. I called my hair salon back in Matsumoto to make an appointment but she didn't pick up the phone. My hair is getting *out of control*, unlike the situation in Fukushima. I desperately need a haircut. 

I packed my computer and dashed out of the apartment to go to a cafe. I walked thru Shinjuku Central Park. The cats were in the usual spots. The sun was out and shining but it wasn't the same sun from yesterday. The summer is over. I felt it on my skin. 

I went to Starbucks across the street from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office building. I like going there. There is a nice study desk where I can somehow concentrate well. The crowds there are usually decent kinds, businesspersons working, older people reading or studying, and I don't usually have to bear youngsters' nonsense chit-chats. I ordered a latte, emailed a couple of people and worked on a new translation. The AC air was blowing directly at me and I wrapped my polkadot scarf around my neck but I was getting too cold at the end, so I decided to leave. It was close to 5pm anyway.

On my way back, I looked for my favorite cat in the park, Non-chan. She was surrounded by young girls, lying on her back and letting them do whatever when I walked by earlier. This time, I found her situated in her favorite spot; right next to her master. She is owned by a homeless guy who lives in a little shack near the smoking area in the park. When I found her sitting next to her favorite person, and looking more content than ever, I decided to leave her alone and turn around, but the homeless guy saw me and waved and said, "Come, come! She is here!" I smiled shyly, thought about it for a moment and decided to greet with her and her owner. While I was petting her, the homeless guy said to me, "If you want her, you can take her home anytime." I smiled and said "Oh I wish I could..." He talked with me for a while, introduced me to his friend who was sitting next to him and said, "This young lady always comes to see my cat." He seemed a bit proud saying that, but maybe it was just my imagination. 

As I was walking back home, I realized that the homeless guy was the only person that I had a conversation with today, or even yesterday. Should I feel sad about it? I don't know, but it made me smile for some reason. I realized another thing. I hadn't smiled all day today until then. You never know who can put a smile on your face. Until today, I didn't know that typhoon could actually chase the summer away and bring autumn, either. I sure learn every day. I keep on swimming. 

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