Sound And The Messenger
Hello and welcome. Creativity shows itself in a myriad of different ways for me. I intend to get out of my comfort zone on this page, be vulnerable, share truth, seek truth and look to help the world through these facets.
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.
It's another hot day on the coast of Fukushima and it's late summer. I'm in a car and driving deep into a jungle that I thought I could not drive into. Mark has told me about a music festival that happens in the summer in the mountains of Fukushima. I don't know what to expect. An already skinny paved road gradually grows more thin threatening to disappear under the foliage and we turn left onto an old dusty dirt road that creeps its way further into the jungle. Mark and I have been meeting and rehearsing on and off for a couple months now and he has invited me and so I am there with him. He has been introducing me to the music scene in Japan and for that I feel very grateful. The dirt road winds up the mountainside and then curves around sharp turns for the next 45 minutes and then I hear music. I don't expect to hear music but I hear music. It seems to be coming from the leaves of the trees. In fact it could be doing so, but I know it's not. At that moment, I am reminded by my mothers story of how she had told me about a friend who had been hiking in the Swiss Alps. They had been in the middle of nowhere and had rounded a bend to see a green field with a helicopter landed and with the band "Yes" practicing in the middle of the field. I felt I was in a similar experience. Soon the trees opened up to a thousand people camped in the middle of a field with numerous stages set up in the background. There were artists selling their wares and different DJs lighting up dancing in different spots. Our car found a place among the bodies and undergrowth and we filed out of the van. Mark would be playing his own DJ set later that evening and I heard that I would be able to play some music as well.
Strawberries That Are Red
Often there's a wind up clock in my thoughts that re-lives the day that I moved from Fukushima. What would've happened if I had decided to go surfing after work that day?
Using Your Noodle to Surf
I remember the noodle houses in the train station at Abiko Station in Tokyo. I'd arrive when it got dark and the white bright lamps would be attracting moths that would dance around each light seeming to celebrate their own traditional Japanese affairs. It was humid and during that train ride I was usually packed in like a sardine with all the other passengers. Many would pile in at Ueno Station and the people on the outside would get pressed up against the glass. Arriving at Abiko station was perfect as the cool breeze complimented with the freedom of the outdoors and proved to be dual relief from the moments that had ticked by previously. It was on these occasions that steam rose up into the high ceilings of the train station platforms and gave off the smell of boiling noodles and breaded delicacies.
I've been spoiled my whole life when it comes to the availability of outdoor sports that have always been at my fingertips. Growing up in the mountains of Colorado let me experience everything from the rich mountain rivers to the high mountain peaks. In the summer it was kayaking and in the winter it was skiing. That being said I would say that there is a whole dimension added to skiing when partaking in the activity in Japan.
Before I arrived in Japan, I thought that I would not need a car in Japan. I was tough. Japan had trains as well. I felt I could bike everywhere. When I arrived in the town though after one week of living in the humidity and being caught in a giant rainstorm I realized that I was in someplace completely different. Again my ego had gotten the better of me and soon I was realizing that I needed a vehicle in Japan. It took me a month or so get a vehicle and during that time I made due with a bike, which proved to be a great way to get used to the intricacies of Japanese driving; for example, the fact that the lanes were opposite to that of the U.S. In the end being on a bike first was a good way to transition to Japanese motor life.