I think in today's society we can look into the world and see ourselves as separate beings, but this is largely a fallacy I believe. More and more I see the connection we all have with one another. It might be the simple observation that everybody at the supermarket somehow randomly decides to check out at the same time, or it might be the awareness of how life is filled with constant coincidence. For whatever reason, more and more I'm noticing things as more of a whole rather than events happening as an individual.
As the summer grows late and the trees fill themselves with the last reserves of the deep green chlorophyll of summer, many will hike deep into the mountains of Colorado. They are in search of a hidden treasure that only comes with patience and a little luck. It is the season of mushroom hunting in the mountains.
Japan is either hot or cold with one comfortable day in between. That is what I've found in my experience of living in Japan so far. About a three-hour bullet train ride north of Tokyo sits the lovely mountain town of Yamagata City situated perfectly within Yamagata Prefecture. When July comes into season in Yamagata it is a time of vibrant activity within the town. July marks the season of the Sakuronbo Cherry and the Hanagasa Festival, which celebrates the harvest and the cherries. The cherries are ripe for the picking at this time and it's quite difficult to not eat them as they are exceedingly delicious. The region is famous for its rich abundance of fruits. The quaint town of Obanazawa lies just to the north and yields watermelons, which cannot be stored in any size refrigerator. Every town celebrates their signature fruits and this naturally creates weekly farmer's markets that celebrate cultural events rather than our American practice of simply providing a space for local vendors to sell their goods.
I couldn't believe that I was in India. Looking over to my left was an alarm clock blinking 10:30 am. At this time the TV was still on, its introductory screen slowly coming in and out of actual sound in the room and my consciousness as well. I had flown into the dark, bustling city at 3 am just hours previously. It seemed that Chennai didn't need sleep, but I definitely did. Hundreds had lined up outside the airport to take guests to places around the city. I had found my connection somehow and then there was a taxi ride on a dirt road surrounded by rush hour traffic. It was dark all the while, although something in the air sensed the early day was beckoning itself in. The flight previously had been equivalent to about two days of flying. The experience was possibly close to being flushed down a toilet and arriving in another world. "Was it possible to be water logged by time?" I felt that right then. Outside people were now working in the blazing daylight. I was in the cool interior of a room. India was packed tightly around me, but there was no judgement. Everybody lived together, weaved in together, made sense together. This was apparent and it was new and unique. I was there to attend "The Oneness Partners Course" with Oneness University. It was a process that I had started four years prior. A deep Chennai sun blossomed slowly over the sky lighting up the world for millions of people as they began another day in their life. I just happened to be present as well in that part of the world. My life was weaving in with India I realized right then.
It's 10 PM on a Wednesday night and I'm again walking the streets of Tokyo. A steady rain pours down on the road and the drops are light and more like a spray than a rain. As usual, I have my guitar in one hand and a pack on my back. It seems too much, but I feel like I'm missing something when I leave the house without the guitar and so it's there like an extension of myself. The train that was supposed to come never came and so I struck off on the road and now my feet feel the pavement and slowly I'm starting to regret the decision. Overhead a train passes over me, its pale yellow lights putting yellow sparkles onto a road, the pavement drenched in the spray that has been slowly accumulating. Even the streets somehow seem soaked to the bone. Then as if the passing train signals a transition in time, almost as though there was a check point to be passed, I see the sign for Heiwajima Train Station glow overhead. I had been looking for a hot spring in Tokyo City for some time and a place to stay that was cheap. There are the international hostels of Tokyo, which house the foreign night owl, but I wanted to find something more local and preferably something with hot water. When I had conducted the search online Heiwajima Onsen had popped up and so here I was answering the call at 10 PM at night. The station "Heiwajima" translates to "Peace Island" in English. I had walked across the sea of buildings and had arrived!
Upon returning from Japan in 2013 I wondered what I would do next. For four years I had lived in Japan and then I found myself walking down the same streets that I had grown up on. In many ways, it was a revisitation to the beginning. The local grocery store had an opening and so I dove in. I needed a way to make money and it was a way to find my feet once again.