Friday, August 03, 2007

A dream in more ways than one

Nitta Yoshisada offering his sword to the Sun Goddess for her help in his attack on Kamakura, 1333. Woodblock print by Taiso Yoshitoshi.

During the night Wednesday, I dreamed that I was bidding my friends farewell. I was going to live once more in Japan. (I lived there from 1995-98.)

One of my friends from work responded with an incredulous "You're kidding!" before asking me if my health had improved to that extent.

I answered that it had.

And then I woke up, literally and figuratively.

The rest of my life probably will be spent near Manhattan.
I don't have a choice.
My doctors and surgeons are here.
I don't know of anyplace else where I can get this level of care for my medical situation.

And besides, the Japan that I love (and also hate) seems to exist anymore only in old Kurosawa films, antique woodblock prints and in the minds of dreaming fools like me.


Matt K. said...

The mere act of dreaming doesn't make one a fool. Dreams can make life more worth living, especially in times when dreams are all one has.

May you have many enjoyable visits to the Japan of your dreams.

ted said...

The Japan I love is one I've never lived in. But I also think that if it did exist, I wouldn't have lived here 13 years. I'd have long ago gotten complacent and moved on. But what keeps is here are those brief glimpses of "my" Japan , which occur once a month or so.
Ironically, it was this move to Kyoto, and finally living in the city of my dreams, that inspired my recent decision to leave the country.
I'm sated. Check please.

Anonymous said...

I love what Matt wrote and I definitely agree with him..and i quote an anonymous author.

"To those who can dream there is no such place as faraway."


mall said...

Hi Michael,
Could you not visit even for a few weeks? Or is it not medically possible (meaning you are tied to daily medical regimen)? Can you share what was unpleasant about your stay?

Thank you.

Michael said...

Hi Ted,
Yes, yes. It was those periodic true Japan moments -- the expectations for which I formed in my own mind -- that made staying so worthwhile. Truth is, I believe to an extent that the real Japan would never measure up to the Japan I built up in my imagination. This, of course, is my problem, and the disappointment is one I set myself up for.

I guess I want to be a latter-day Lafcadio Hearn, and this may not be possible anymore.

As for Kyoto, I was greatly disappointed when I first visited in 1995. Getting off the train at the old train station (and not the new monstrosity), I thought Kyoto looked like any other drab, ugly city. And then I learned where to look for the old Kyoto. I found it in Arashiyama and Sagano and in the northern part of the city.

Maybe I should be more like Alan Booth in my search for the lost Japan.

Hi Lisa,
Yes. And to quote my barber, "He who builds no castles in the air/ builds no castles anywhere."

Hi Mall,
I could probably visit for a month at a time. Then I would run out of my daily medication, which I wouldn't be able to obtain overseas.

As for what it was and is about Japan that I don't like, I could write a book -- and it would be as thick as the one I could write about what I do love about Japan.
I'm not blowing off your question, but it's 12:30 a.m. saturday and I'm beat. I will answer at length in a blog post hopefully this weekend.

mall said...

I think you've answered my question when you responded to Ted. The bottom line is, it was "expectations" and dealing with the ones that didn't quite make our ideals in a period of time we expected them to happen was the cause of the unpleasantness. Japan just happens to be the place where the expectations were not met.

I'm acquainted with this feeling. Up-side is, at least it wasn't a nightmare.