The balcony door is open – I have screens. The front door is open – I’ve got a long Japanese blind (sudaré) in the doorway. The electric fans are on high (the air conditioner is an expensive last resort). A breeze is pretending to waft through my shotgun shack of an apartment (I might as well take down the wind chime). This, children, is August in Osaka.
I hear you echoing my mother’s plaintive cry of the entire 1970s: what are you doing stuck in the house on your summer vacation? Well, it’s hot out (37˚C, and the humidex is top secret in these parts, to prevent social unrest). And I have been doing things. Yesterday, and the day before, I carried out a massive sandblasting of my apartment. Papers and old videos (none of the ones lent to me by my Esteemed Colleague in Toronto, I hasten to add), bottles of herbs years past their sell-by dates, clothes I could no longer hope to get into even if they were ever in style again, all went into the (carefully separated) trash. The place actually looks bigger now (of course, a 43 sq.m apartment looks bigger when you pick up your socks), so I guess I’ve earned my day of sloth. I went out once today – to Namba , to get a haircut and buy some coffee beans. That just about did me in. So I’m not going out any more. If I were a real Osakan, I’d be eating eel tonight to build up my stamina. A glance in the fridge tells me that I’ll have to settle for a chicken sandwich.
It’s o-Bon, the time of the year when the Japanese traditionally go back to their hometowns and visit their ancestors’ graves. Some friends are still working this week, some have gone to their hometown or home country (like I usually do, but opted – wisely? – for Christmas instead), some are unironically spending more time with their families, and good for them. Yun, who lives down the street, is in Myanmar. Tomorrow morning, I take the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo. It’s the same distance as travelling from Toronto to Montreal, but in about half the time (albeit, according to the Via Rail website, about the same price). Being the economic centre, many people live in Tokyo, but far fewer are actually from there. The place started emptying out today, and the thundering herd will return next week. Getting a ticket to Tokyo is a breeze at this time of year.It will also be hot in Tokyo, but no matter: I’ll be meeting Kenta (and possibly others) at Hachiko’s statue in Shibuya at 10:30. And then my vacation really begins.
So to make a long story short, I’m posting this before I really have anything to talk about. But I’ve posted, finally, and that’s something.
Watch this space. それじゃ