died in the wool ______

To have no set purpose in one's life is the harlotry of the will -Stephen Mackenna-

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I'm at the age now where I'm starting to have nostalgia for things that aren't around anymore.

Memories are a safe haven from current reality. It's nice to wrap myself up in memories of the past. Some of the vivid memories from my childhood include, trains waking me up on our boat at lake pepin. The long fall shadows driving around lake pepin, picking up our fall pickings of apples and cheese along the way. Driving through the illinois tolls as we got closer to my grandmothers apartment in the chicago area.

I always loved breakfast at the kildahl's. I normally hate breakfast, and breakfast at the kildahl's wasn't particularly special. Orange juice, cereal of some kind. But it was more than the food obviously. The clock in the living room where my brother and I would sleep would start tolling the bells of westminster every fifteen minutes at about the time my grandmother would go into the kitchen in her robe and slippers. They would all start talking and I would eventually wake up, and my grandfather and I would go to get the chicago tribune that was placed in the elevator every morning. We would then distribute the papers to all the subscribers on the floor and then go back to the apartment. The building always had a smell of hardwoods for some reason, and I always loved being there.

It's easy to want to try and revisit those memories. Go to those places and see them again and want to reexperience them. I've learned to not try and do that.

Most of the time those memories are from that time, and seeing them in a different light will change the memory perhaps in a negative way, and it's not usually as fulfulling as you hoped it would be.

I remember my host family's house. Even though it was in the somewhat lower class Katsushika-ku, I always loved going home. I would walk from the station, unlock the door, and my host mother would greet me. My room was somewhat large for a japanese room. It had tatami with carpeting over it, with a bed, a drawer for clothes and a desk. The closet fusuma had a famous ink painting on it by sesshu, which I became aware of from studying it in my japanese art history class.

I had such good memories from that house (although some readers might be aware of some negative ones too. Such is the power of nostalgia). It even had the bells of westminster-tolling clock that my grandparents had. When I came back to japan my second time, I made an effort to go visit the house I once lived in. My mind still had the fairly complicated route to where the house from the station was memorized even several years later.

I arrived, and the house was gone. The family had moved and I don't know where to.

But that's for the best I believe. Those memories are from that time, and to try and live them again in the present is ineveitably an unfulfilling act. In fact, without a reality to drag down the memories I have from that time, it's much easier to float in the clouds of nostalgia.

The park near that house that I used to visit quite frequently is still there. I used to love visiting that park. It seemed so amazing and filled with so many great things at the time.

But I have experienced many other things and places in Japan, and while the park is still amazing, it's a different experience. It's actually quite far from the tokyo city center, etc. Yet the way I felt about that park still burns in my mind with such positivity.

It's nothing to lement. Loss is never loss if you've gained an experience from it. My mind, actually, is probably the only place that those places are great.


At 1:30 AM, Blogger McBrideFarm said...

From John: I like this post, what great writing! I agree with you too about nostalgia--its better left in the mind, and not relived.

How was your trip back to Japan?

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Travis said...

heh heh. thanks john. shucks.

This post was passively aimed at the person you met in Cambridge, and as you probably felt, That nostalgia is best left in the past. I would have had a lot more fun spending those five days with just you.

VERY glad to back in Tokyo.


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