Seattle to Japan
Grocery Store of Life
Japan to Seattle
Sometimes you get in your car and you drive because you have plans to go to the grocery store and come back to your new home. You have put this intention out into the world. You say: World, I am going to purchase milk, bread, eggs and butter. Sometimes you drive farther than you need to because there is a particular grocery store or busy market you desperately want to go to. You see yourself getting there. You see yourself picking up the groceries and returning to your new home. You may even visualize yourself making a cake with these ingredients or a rich French something or rather.
This is exactly what my trip to Japan was to be about. I traveled far. I visualized that I would be a member of the Japan citizens club for three years. I visualized all the things I would see, do and feel. I embraced my Capricorn side and even made a list of all things Japan.
Here’s the thing: I made it to the store and didn’t buy eggs, milk, bread or butter at all. In fact, I picked up a different list of things and after arriving I decided my grocery store trip was over and that I wouldn't come back to my new home.
I finally understand the life lesson wise and beautiful people talk about when they stare at you super seriously and slowly say, “You know…it isn't about the destination it’s about the journey.”
If ever I was beginning that new chapter in my life I always talk about beginning but sort of get cold feet... it’s now. If ever a time to make new lists it’s now. If ever a time to sacredly dispose of old list it’s now. If ever a time to poet, plot, purge, Pablo Neruda, and plan—it’s now.
Thank you for your people. Thank you for their resilience. Thank you for Japanese children sneak-smiling at me. Thank you vendors and Ramen Shop owners for allowing me to be a feisty, American Woman of Color half-ass-ing her Japanese language skills to communicate "eat" and "pee" "onegaishimasu!"
Thank you for your temples and all the spiritual ways you worship. Thank you for allowing me to grieve my losses in public and only staring at me briefly--mouths closed. Thank for understanding I show my toes in the summertime, I am not Yakuza AND I have tattoos PLUS I still say bless you even when there are no demons to cast out.
Thank you for your vivid colors and endless vegetables. Thank you for your subway manners and for giving me the green light to slurp my soup like a two year old if I want to and I always wanted to. Thank you Japanese mothers for pretending not to notice I have an affinity for baby feet and baby cheeks. Thank you Japan for giving me two options to pee, one in the ground and one labeled “Western Style,” with sounds and lovely buttons to push.
Thank you new friends for understanding I am slow to warm. Thank you brilliant Japan for the perfect way you weave simplicity and complexity in the form of so many things. Thank you for your technology allowing me to stay connected to my family and friends in the United States from the future. Thank you for your fashion and passion for shoes and all things accessories. Thank you for the way you operate on American pop culture and create new pop species.
Thank you Japan for the generous living quarters you have given my family and I—despite the unpleasant history/herstory of them.
Thank you Japan for your holidays and secret streets. Thank you for your massively historical and branchy tree’s never hugging me but always letting me hug them. Thank you for your unexpected and expected beauty which sometimes doubles as grace. Thank you Japan for your life lessons, some of which I knew but didn't want to know, some of which I had no clue about until I reached your soil.
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
With all my heart