As I arrived at Kichijōji station, I couldn’t help but notice little gnomes, faceless ghosts and other “magical” creatures walking around. They all seemed busy and preoccupied.
And although I gave them the best of my smiles, they were not kind because they didn’t stop to help me when I asked them for directions. They just ignored me.
And neither the scarecrow that so kindly helped Sophie in the moving howl’s castle seemed to be carrying out good deeds this morning.
I knew the Ghibli museum was close to Kichijoji station, but all those “magical” creatures were taking the whole station for themselves. The volume of their voices was growing louder and louder. And they didn’t seem to be going anywhere but rather waiting.
But waiting for who, I wondered.
And just after few minutes, my question would be answered.
Because just before me, Mr. Miyazaki himself appeared at the ticket gate. And those magical creatures, his creatures, jumped to attention.
He was wearing a wool checked jacket along with a hat of the same print. He, all of him, was just as colorful, enchanted and fascinating as the characters he creates. And they all followed him on to the next train like obedient and lovingly children. And without him, the Kichijõchi station became gloomy and silent.
It was a lovely ride home, almost no one on the train, just a lady, wearing a “more than indiscrete” skirt sitting right in front of me, two college girls next to her. And next to them a very grumpy old man, and a lovely couple, one of those couples, which makes you hate them for being so lovely to each other.
As I had enough space for myself, I took out my iPad. And I was about to start reading my new e-book when I noticed my train-mates were raising their voices. I lifted my eyes, and a “more-cheeky-than-life” spider was making its way down from the roof and was landing-to everybody’s horror- on the lady with the “more-than-indiscreet” skirt, who was sleeping as peacefully as if she were in her own bed.
“What should we do?” everybody was asking.
Shall we wake her up? said the grumpy man with a grunt.
Nobody knew what to do
Then a brave young woman, one of the college girls, courageously took the spider threat and delicately took the spider from the unconscious woman and put the invader on safe ground.
Everbody was speechless. I was speechless. I had just witnessed a real hero in action.
But the invader was not happy, the little “more-cheeky-than-life” spider was coming towards me.
Straight to me. It wanted a victim, and it was going to be me.
It is not my time yet. I must kill it before it kills me, I thought. But then I couldn’t.
Then destiny intervened, and the spider made a wrong turn, and to everybody’s shock, the “more-cheeky-than-life” spider and the grumpy old man were facing each other now.
We all saw it coming.
The grumpy old man lifted his foot, and it was the end of the “more-cheeky-than-life” spider’s adventures 😭
I have heard so many times the world is ending that it is getting exhausting. Seriously..! Don’t you maniacs have anything better to do than scare us all?
And to make things worse, I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to freak out properly, you know?
That’s how busy I am.
In Japan, we have North Korea trying to nuke us, and then we have these “experts” in numerology and Bible that have finally cracked the exact date of the “end of the world”.
Let me put this out there
If the Maya didn’t get it right, neither will you, ok? So stop the nonsense.
So, pick up the pieces of your life, clean yourself and gather strength because we have to keep facing the same things we have to face everyday.
The world still spinning, we still here, we gotta give it our all with hope and courage.
Today I woke up and to be absolutely honest, I felt angry and miserable as if a dark shadow were dragging the life out of me. I do everything I could to escape this shadow that clings my soul from time to time.
Sometimes, I feel I’ve scared it for good, but it (the dark shadow) always comes back. And I want to hide, but if I hide, it stays because then I become the prey. And I see it (the dark shadow) growing bigger, stronger and scarier.
It (the dark shadow) becomes so big, I fear it might swallow me.
And it is in those moments that I have to fake strength to face it, so at least I manage to keep at a safe distance, so it doesn’t hurt me or others.
Sometimes, I feel like I live a lie. Pretending to be “normal”.
People around me do not realize for a moment my truth. They see a young, jovial man, who seems to have it all. If they only knew my dark secret, if they only knew how much energy it takes to get out of bed, push myself out of the flat, to get in the tube, to see people, and to talk to people.
If they only knew I am trapped.
If they only knew I am trapped and lonely.
As soon as you step into the garden, something changes in the atmosphere, I don’t know if it is the temperature, the cicadas that sing in unison with the wind. Or the voices of visitors that become a mere whisper in the distance. I have no idea, what it is, but something changes. Or maybe it is the Empress Shōken herself welcoming you to her garden.
I see the lights on in Empress Shōken’s tea house, and I can’t help but feel naughty, as if I were spying on someone. But I imagine that if Empress Shōken discovered me outside her tea house, instead of getting upset, she would invite me to drink tea with her. Because I think she was indeed a generous soul.
I just imagine her (Empress Shōken) sitting there in her tea house, looking at the little lake in front of it (the tea house), letting her maids entertain her, and ask them to leave as soon her husband arrives. Of course, nothing of this is written anywhere. I just like to imagine it.
A few shots of the empress’s lake little lake, where the water lilies imperceptibly move with the soft afternoon breeze.
A shot of the tea house from the little lake
I distractedly (without paying attention) walk through the garden and, as always, my feet take somewhere I didn’t mean to go and I arrive to Kiyomasa-Ido well, which is famous for the purity of its water.
But I am afraid it’s time to leave, because I am the only person in the garden now. Or maybe I’ll just stay a little bit longer so I can make Empress Shōken company, at least for a little bit longer.
NOTE: Although, Meiji jingū gyoen (Meiji jingū inner garden) existed before the construction of Meiji Shrine, according to the Meiji Jingū gyoen brochure, I always think of the garden, as Empress Shōken’s garden, because the tea house that adorns this secret garden was built especially for her.