Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On The Beach

The heat hit. I tried the local remedy of watching spooky films in order to cool down with a good case of the shivers. Herzog's "Nosferatu" certainly inspired me and gave me the creeps, but when it was over, the pores opened up again. Beach trumps nap today.

It's July, so it's no good swimming on Kaike's east end. They've set up stalls selling franks and yakisoba and have roped off the area considered safe for bathing. I climbed along the tetrapods to check out if they'd put up shark nets, until some arubaito hollered at me through a megaphone about safety. About this Dylan would probably sing, "Don't Think Once, It's Alright." But I hate being treated like a child, even if Japan is far too dirty and dangerous to have any fun.

Tim and Zack and I ended up on the west end, which I call Ken-chan Beach. There's a shallow part just in front of the tetrapods, where the waves can't get through. The sun warms it all day until it's like a kiddy pool. Ken used to love swimming here. Zack and I wandered the 'pods, jumping off into the water. He swam out toward Russia, and I sat under the cloudy sky, watching the typhoon driven clouds farther out, beyond where the squid boats go. These clouds had been holding all this warm air over the city these past few days. I climbed back toward the shallow bit, and noticed a strange black stain. Drawing closer, I noticed that the stain was literally tens of thousands of tiny fish, each the size of a watch hand. The were keeping perfect distance from each other and from every object nearby, morphing to the exact shape of the 'pods they'd pass. When the wind stirred the water, these shapes would burst apart, then school together again to once again take the shape of the stones, or the shoreline. The three of us watched them awhile, completely in awe of the incredible numbers of them and the way'd they'd swarm and drift. Nature brings about the best satori. We eventually got in amongst them and stood very still. At first the fish avoided us, occasionally colliding with our legs or feet. Was it our heat they felt? How did every fish keep the exact same distance? Before long, they began to brush our legs or swim through them. I stood here stone still for a long, long time, feeling like the Colossus of Rhodes, mind completely unable to comprehend this precious gift, here on Ken-chan Beach, these fish doing a slow waltz with the spirit of my son.

On the turntable: Dadawa, "Sister Drum"
On the nighttable: John Stevens, "Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei"

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