mjj (flemmings) wrote,

'Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still'

Our koaki (little autumn) ended on the weekend. Sun shone hotly and people went to t-shirts and shorts. Today it's back: cool grey damp, with the pleasing melancholy of mildly rainy days. Sprinkling rain turns to nostalgia as if they were Japanese pillow words: ah, days of '83 in Paris, wet pavement and the smell of Gauloises! ah, days of '86 in Amsterdam beside the dimpling canals! ah, days of '91 (and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5) in Tokyo, amid the soft omnipresent green! (Truly, the preponderance of my Tokyo days were like this, no matter the season-- greige skies, moisture about to condense from the air, jackets at need, do not forget umbrella or leave futons out on the balcony rail.)

Note that *dry* grey cool is something else entirely. That translates into autumn and energy. Still not immune to nostalgia. Last week's October ambushed me with the memory of a trip to Echizen in the summer of '92, also cool and grey after a fortnight of post-rainy season hot. My first year in Tokyo must have been unusual, or maybe it's just that I had AC at my inn. '92 was the classic experience of 'to bed in 16C grey one night, wake to 30C sun next morning.' The subsequent two weeks of summer heat with no fans and no daylight saving time (ie light at 4 with the loud dawn chorus of birds and genki oldsters) drove me to the extremes of sleep-deprived hysteria. Was very glad to welcome the cool and the odd designer colours of ura-Nippon: beige sand, cobalt sea, grey sky, in three bands outside the train window.

Mused, as I walked TO's wet streets after my morning latte, that the world's great (and longest) novels are all about nostalgia for a lost and better time. Genji, Red Chambers, Proust-- though the golden age in the first and last look less than that to us here (well, and to Proust then, I assume: he's the one presents his enviable aristos as balding plump little voyeurs, and everyone else as vulgar upstarts.)
Tags: japan, reading, rl_13

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