Tomorrow I leave for Japan for five weeks. My bags are 90% packed and I am dithering only about what my electronic connectivity options should be but my outfits at least are decided on, and indeed that is the hardest part. I notice sometimes before I travel I buy cheap “practical” clothing that I don’t actually like and this is a very stupid thing. Cargo pants are light and comfortable, it is true, but they do NOTHING for me, and I shouldn’t buy them, even if they are mint green and have interesting zippers.
Here is my itinerary.
My plane arrives on Sunday evening, and my dear friend Atsushi, who with his lovely family lives near Narita, has kindly offered to pick me up. I will stay there Sunday night and Monday night as well.
Tuesday morning I will leave early for Okayama, where I will stay for one night at Sogenji, a beautiful old zen temple. There are several international people studying zen there. I am not sure whether I will take part in their meditation as I worry a bit about my sciatica, but I look forward to drinking in its peaceful atmosphere.
From there, I am going to take the train to Kyushu, where I have never before visited. Another old friend lives in Beppu, a hot spring town said to be “the Vegas of Japan.” I will stay two nights in a lovely hot spring inn and take day trips to the beautiful onsen towns of Yufuin and Kurokawa.
Then I will take a scenic train ride across Kyushu to Nagasaki. Nagasaki is unique for its international history even at a time when the rest of Japan was closed to most of the world. I will stay two nights in a hotel with “mediterranean” décor.
On my way back to Tokyo, I’ll stop again in Okayama and take a train and boat to the “art island” of Naoshima, and stay in a little pension near the ferry port.
Then, once back in Tokyo, I will be staying at the Reversible Destiny Lofts in Mitaka, performing some of the architectural procedures in which Madeline Gins herself has tutored me, and seeing what it feels like to inhabit such a revolutionary space. I will stay there for one month. Here is me in 2008 on a visit to the lofts.
It is a long time to be away, and I will miss my sweetheart, my cats, and my friends… but I am so hungry for Japan and its grace. I can’t wait to be there.