Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Japan After 2 Years

My mother and brother left me at the airport. Going back after a gap of two years. The excitement of my first visit was well behind me now and I am much older and apprehensive of my future, even having thoughts of old age from time to time. What does life have in store for me? Oh! The eternal pandoras box called life! The stop over at Singapore was brief and this time there was no time to go outside. My drowsy friend called sleep caught up with me like an old lover hesitantly taking my hands. When I opened my eyes, we had almost reached the Southernmost tip of the islands of Japan. I always try catching the first glimpse of land of the territory called Japan. I was to touch down at the Kansai international airport after 10 years! Boy, no other word can describe my feelings at that point of time as the untranslatable Japanese lexicon Natsukashii...!

An ocean of emotions welled up in my small heart as the descent began to land at the airport floating 4 kilometres away from land on the Pacific ocean. As was the case ten years ago, the aircraft circled around like a gigantic seagull, the wings looking all the more broader against the backdrop of the ocean, and then got closer and closer to the water before landing softly on the runway tarmac at the last moment.

It took a while to collect my luggage and head out of the airport where, Ms. Shinto, my homestay mother was waiting for me. As we met and talked with her over breakfast, fleeting snapshots of my first visit to her home whizzed past my inner eye like a slideshow on fast forward mode. Although we talked for more than an hour and a half, it was soon time to go...

The bullet train ride was thrilling. Few things excite me as much as the sheer speed and elegance of a Nozomi Shinkansen. (Can still remember vividly my first glimpse of a bullet train when I leaned over the safety line to take snaps angering the station attendant who tried to pull me away but was not successful till I managed to take a number of photographs, angering him even further. I got the stern rebuke I fully deserved! Nothing of that sort happened this time...)

I reached my destination in the evening. The weather was good. As I waited at the station to be picked up, a lone politician with his helper was trying to attract an audience with a rhetorical speech but no one was interested. What a contrast with India where crowds throng the places when politicians speak!

This place is wonderful as I found out the next day. The weather continued to be good although it was and is very cold. The blue sea nearby with hills all around seems to be a cut out of a scene straight from the animation Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea. This is the first time that I am at a place without a convenient store, a supermarket, and a post office nearby. But despite all that, I must admit that this place is beautiful!

(I have always been on the east side of the land of the rising sun and near the sea till date, this time being no exception. Am I getting superstitious?)

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