09 Sep The Beauty of Osaka In the Rain
AN EARLY AUTUMN RAIN falls upon Osaka, Japan. I lay in bed writing after a day of work.
I listen to the rain which pours outside my window. This is something I tell myself I have to do — write, dig, explore my changing thoughts, as if that’s why I’ve come here. And in a way it is.
But in reality, I’m here just to be. I’m here to listen to the sound of rain — that continuous sound of water falling upon city, concrete and earth.
I don’t know why, but this gives me a deep sense of meaning, knowing that wherever I go and whatever I do, I’ll be okay, because there’s more to this than I can possibly comprehend. The mystery far surpasses understanding, and we may find solace in that.
That tells me we’ll be okay.
I find inspiration from the stillness of the early morning and the thoughts that arise while going about the day.
I find energy and better know myself as I listen to the evening autumn rain which teems upon the narrow streets below.
The Osaka skyline, that which I view from my small balcony, glows with scattered, iridescent neon lights.
A haze of luminous fog envelops the high-rise buildings like a dragon which consumes a mountain’s peak. I left work today, smiling when I felt the rain fall upon my head.
I’ve wanted this for so long — rain; a consistent change of weather.
When I hear the sound of pattering rain upon the roofs of my Abeno neighborhood, it means I’m out here.
It means that no matter what I do or don’t achieve, irrespective of what peaks I reach myself, I have a natural feeling to return to and find myself again.
To hear that sound of water upon metal means I’m alive. Life is more than what we achieve by society’s standards.
That’s the pressure that I put on myself to become somebody, to create something, to be more than I am. Yet it’s not always our ambition which tells us we must do.
It’s an overwhelming force that pushes us forward from day to day, thing to thing, hour to hour. We’re told that if we do more, we are more.
If we progress, create, acquire and build upon yesterday, then we’re advancing in the world, as if reaching some destination will validate who we are.
Yet it’s not about what we do. It’s so hard to see that. So difficult to feel it when the world tells us otherwise.
Pursuing something meaningful is important; but what is it we’re pursuing? Is it our dream, or somebody else’s? Is it a feeling? Something intangible?
Maybe we’re searching for a feeling we once felt, a moment when perhaps, we lost track of ourselves. When we felt our heart flutter and our hands shake with passion, desire, love — for the work we were engaged with, the person we were near, the magic that we felt which flows, unending and continuously, throughout our world.
Through language, through culture, through what I know, I’m disconnected from the world here in Japan.
Yet I’ve never felt more in tune. I feel I have a purpose. Put simply, I’m here to live my life. I’m here because this is where my path has led, and all I must do is follow it.
My heart tells me to savor each experience, the challenging ones and the inspiring ones, those that make me want to cry and those that fill me with heartfelt laughter.
It’s the seemingly mundane that makes me feel the deepest.
I’m struck when on the train, surrounded by other human beings, headed to work each day.
Nobody speaks; we’re all in our little worlds, feeling the rumble of the wheels gliding against steel, taking us from station to station beneath the labyrinthian, dimly-lit streets of Osaka.
I’ll listen to music, for my spirit rides on the beats, the lyrics, the flow which carries me from day to day.
Music helps me see the magic. I hold on to the hanging ring and look down the train, watching as its spine slithers like a serpent.
I’ll open my book, Golden Son, by Pierce Brown, inspired by the story of adventure, the creativity of a radiant mind. My book’s the only one on the train which reads from left to right, and I feel a part of something greater than I know.
I watch others on their phones crushing candy, watching anime, lost in imagination. And that makes me smile. That makes me feel like a kid again.
The stations of the purple Tanimachi Line pass in a flash; I begin to learn them, the routes of the trains and the flow of the city.
It’s a brilliant feeling to notice your mind changing as you learn something new — a skill, a city, a craft, an art. You try and error and try again, this time a little more adept, a bit more able. It’s a brilliant thing being human, faults and all.
I bought a used bike a couple of days ago. As I was figuring out how to lock it outside of my apartment with sweat upon my brow, an elderly neighbor watched me struggling and smiled.
She spoke quickly in Japanese, which I couldn’t understand. Wakarimasen, I repeated, I don’t understand, grinning and chuckling. She laughed too.
I’ve seen her outside watering her plants, coming and going. I was leaving for work yesterday and she was outside, talking with another neighbor.
She said something to me which again, I couldn’t understand. The other neighbor, an old, chipper man, said some things too; they went back and forth and I stood there in my button down and slacks, the object of their fascination.
The man then said ah, nice, nodding and pointing at me, as if that was the word they were trying to find. Arigato, I said, thank you, smiling on my way to the station with a skip in my step.
The woman doesn’t exactly know me — the real me. Although, something tells me she understands.
She smiles upon my spirit, the bright, beaming smile of a grandmother; her eyes, like crescent moons, shine with the love of a starry night. She makes my neighborhood feel like my home, a place to return on a rainy evening and find solace. Not just the physical space, but who I am, what I am, what I can be.
I lay in bed as an early autumn rain falls upon Osaka, warm and soft.
In the distance, a light changes color from red to green, purple, blue and yellow. It softly beams through the falling rain. It brings color to an often grey world, although the color’s fictitious, unnatural, fake, bizarre in a way. Still, it brings beauty to the coming night, warmth to the storm.
That’s what life is — bizarre, strange, dark — yet then there’s a vibration of light which breaks through it all, a pulse of color, beating, beating, beating like the heart that in each moment feels something, connected to the sun and the rain, the highs and lows and perhaps most of all, those times on the train coming and going to and from work when life seems meaningless; that’s where the meaning resides. That to me is everything, the moment when we don’t expect it, a wave of life’s emanating love.