Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sketches of Shōnan

It's only six a.m., but the sun is surprisingly high in the sky.  Unable to sleep, I'd left my ryokan -- the one that Ozu and his screenwriter Noda often used when they wrote their scripts -- and walked the short distance to the beach.  The sun, surprisingly high in the sky, lit the actors as they moved about the sandy stage.  A small group of them were picking up the litter from the previous night, detritus from the town's annual festival. Some of the revelers were still in evidence, sitting or laying quietly on the cool sand.

A few fisherman stood gazing out at the water, the ends of their ridiculously long fishing poles stuck firmly into the sand.  The more serious fishermen glided out of the harbor in their boats, to take a position out on the watery horizon, bows turned in the same direction, the odd triangular shape of their sails resembling the tall rock that has become a local brand.  The way that they were arranged along the line of the horizon was like a still life.

A small fire sends slight puffs of smoke up above the low bluffs.  The scallop shell of Fuji hovers above us further inland, the green of the lower mountains huddling close.  The ridges in the sand attempt to mimic these mountains, shaped as they are by forgotten footprints.  Despite the absence of wind, these tiny ridges crumble and tumble down into their troughs.

Up the beach, a young girl walks incredibly, incredibly slowly, each step a deliberation as her long skirt flirts with her ankles.  She is a vision, her movements drawing my attention away from my book, as the allure of beauty and sex often does. 

The pace of her walk and the bucolic rhythm of the waves suits the pace of my own body and mind this morning, as I was pulled out of slumber yet again at an hour far too early.  The sea continues the theme of liquification of the previous day, which began with an unusual (for me) three-pint lunch, moving through coffee, until settling back on beer again.  As I lay in my futon earlier, I had pondered the elliptical shape that the interplay of time and drunkenness takes, awakening to the same feeling I get when I am midway through that second glass.  

Just as I am easing into the slowness here, a wake-boarder's violent dash into the shorebreak pulls me out.  It is a reminder of the day's natural acceleration, as the sound of traffic up on the road behind me thickens, and the vision of beauty in a long flowing skirt breaks into a run to her boyfriend's side, where together they look at what was captured by his video camera.

On the turntable:  Josh Rouse, "1972"
On the nighttable:  Donald Richie, "Private People, Public People"


Zacky Chan said...

Wow, great writing, dude. I really fell into this one, and the end is so ... painfully necessary.

blaine said...

Yeah that ending...

I echo what Zach said. Great post.