They are all staying in a Temple downtown, waking at 5:00am to meditate, perform soji (temple cleaning), and eat their breakfast, before taking classes in Japanese language and Buddhist theory. For many it is their first trip to Japan, so J is the go-to guy for all inqueries. It also means he has his hands full during the week, running countless errands and preparing for trips and in general being an assistant.
I'm staying with my friend K and her husband, in the North-Eastern corner of Kyoto. They live sandwiched between Takaragaike Park and Mt. Hiezan, along the Takano River. It's gorgeous up here, but quite a hike from Shichijo where J is staying. He gets Saturday evenings and Sundays to be with me.
Consequently, weekends are a whirlwind of visits with friends not seen in ages, to dole out omiyage and catch up; while the days during the week stretch out unfettered, and unaccompanied by husband. It's a difficult transition to make, coming as we did from spending nearly every day together, but it's not entirely foreign: we spent years being long distance, he in San Diego and I in San Francisco, writing letters and only seeing each other once a month.
Still. This is Japan. And I'm pregnant.
I find myself caught up in an effort to prove myself, similar to the last time we were here, except this time I really am doing things by myself. I'm not sure yet if this independence is good, for my recouperating artistic self esteem, or bad, for my needing lots of attention. I want to tell J about my days so he can marvel at how adventurous and brave I'm being.
I took a long bike ride yesterday in an attempt to explore the western side of Kyoto, which I haven't done much of. It was excruciatingly hot and humid, and the temple I was searching for remained stubbornly evasive at the foot of Mt. Funayama, a valley away from the labyrinth of streets I got stuck in. I huffed and puffed and finally gave up and made my way home.
If I were with J, we could have found it, I chastised myself.
But, I thought, I'm alone. And this can be okay. This time around I'm not going to judge things as Good or Bad, I'm going to pay attention instead to all the nuances in between. This is the right place for nuance.
So after lunch I set about inking the cool Geisha hair-do's (from last week) on brown paper, surrounding them with billowy pillows of gesso. A great effect, though I don't know yet what I'll do with them.
We'll see what happens when I'm left to my own devices. At first I'm fantasically lazy, but eventually the work comes out. What do you do when no one is telling you what to do? Sounds simple enough to fill a day with activity, but I swear it becomes existential very quickly.
And it's only week two!
I just finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel -- at least I'm not a shipwreck castaway in a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger.