One month in Kurahashi-Chō and I have learned so much already. They say the island I live on has around 6,500 inhabitants. In a country where the elderly significantly outnumbers the young, it is no surprise that the average age on my island is 65. For me this as might as well be paradise. I share an island with walking cultural libraries. Everything that interests me about Japan is old anyways so it works out to my benefit. I’ve already attended a Miyazawa Kenji poetry lecture and learned a lot about Yamada Yoji’s filmography. My Japanese is nowhere near where it needs to be but I make it work. I continue to be lucky and thankful for it.
It is quiet on this island. My commutes on the bus act as tour guides and I watch history pass me by through the window. My legs jammed between the small space between my seat and the seat in front of me. One full month of riding the bus and the window has shown me the remnants of a once bustling island. The old fishing boats anchored on the shore, numerous of them appear abandoned, but they’re not. Decaying buildings shuttered up and abandoned as the population continues to decrease. This town, from an economical and industrial perspective, may been left behind after the zenith of its industrial revolution, but the everyday people here seem to enjoy this life.
The days are slow and long. I do not think of slow as negative, but positive. On this island I have nothing but time, time to prepare, diligently work and supreme focus.
Imagine if everyday felt like a week.
Imagine the things you could get accomplished.
What would you do?
A conversation in a full serve gas station involved the discussion of having only one supermarket in the area. The response from the native resident, he scoffs “One is enough”.
I sat silently and grinned. He is right, one is enough.