Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mr. Mojo Raijin

Bizarre weather today.

It's July, I've got less than two months to go here in Kyoto. Lately, I've been peeling away my work and other obligations like sunburnt skin. Which frees up my Mondays. I decided to spend this one with JesusChris, meeting him for the first time since April. Hanging out with him is like hanging with Local Legend Tim, moving aimless through space as the day unravels toward night.

After an exuberant chat over a potent Vietnamese tea, we moved up to the compass atop Yoshida-yama. We cooled ourselves on the marble stone, talking and listening to a storm coming from the south. We moved over to the cemetery above Kurodani, watching high battleship-grey clouds mount their attack on Kyoto Station (as punishment for poor architectural accessorizing I suppose). The clouds began to flank our own position and the big fat drops began to fall, foreshadowing an imminent deluge. The skies opened just as we found shelter in front of a barracks-like apartment building. JesusChris immediately stripped off his shirt and shoes and bounded merrily into the rain, looking like he was starring in his own personal Bollywood musical. I stood dry under the tin roof and pouted. In most of my relationships with friends, I am the impetuous one, but here I stood, alternating mentally between excuses about why I wasn't out there and scolding myself for being so straight. And there I stayed, as my friend frolicked and danced and I merely hunched and stared stupidly at a security camera.

These squals rarely last long, and when the rain let up, we moved down toward Shinnyodo. But the storm regrouped and counterattacked, throwing large pyrotechnics our way. We huddled and had a Rashomon moment under a temple gate. Each time we'd step out, we'd get hit with another burst. Finally, as the skies showed blue and the grey had moved on, we started uphill. And one final, enormous, arm-hair raising flash hit the cemetery stones to our immediate right, the final thrash of the dragon's tail. I showed JesusChris Honen's purple cloud meditation stone, he in turn introduced me to Afro Jizo. Under the half-closed eyes of Oily Buddha, we parted ways.

The storm returned a couple more times before the sun set. In the fading light, the season's first cicada began to sing, like the tuning note of an solo instrument which serves as the seed of the symphony to come. After dark, the moon rose in our small valley, ducking and weaving through the clouds. The light from it's rays streaked the wet air, extending from all four cardinal points like a Zia. I knew that much later, in the middle of the night after the city went to sleep, my bedroom would take on that special glow of the full moon's light. I will miss that certain quality that the light takes during early these morning hours, and the feeling that I'm the only one in the world who is lucky enough to see it.

On the turntable: Skatalites, "Hi-Bop Ska"

On the nighttable: Diane Ackerman, "A Natural History of the Senses"

On the reel table: Pom Poko (Takahata, 1994)

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