August 10, 2005

Day Five

About halfway through with my visit. Had a real American (i.e. Berkeleyan) breakfast today with homefries, toast, eggs, sausage, even sour scream on the side. One of the many pleasures of home that I will never find in Japan--a place that serves good, hearty breakfast. Next it was time to raid the bookstores--I found myself pillaging both Moe's and Cody's on Telegraph Ave. (for non-Berkeleyans to whom this means nothing, these are probably the two best bookstores in Berkeley), then out for an excursion on the UC campus. So many beautiful women go to this school, and I suddenly got tearfully nostalgic about the yesteryore of my collegiate glory (ok, it wasn't all that glorious considering I spent most of my days in an immobile position at a cafe reading books of poetry and literary criticism and not getting to know the aformentioned thousands of thousands of intelligent and beautiful girls at UC Berkeley). Bought a pair of shoes that fit me with no problem on my size.

I am thinking about what I can bring back, not materially, but psychologically and/or spiritually. Every time I come back to Berkeley, I want to leave right away after the first three days, then the rhythm of life here slowly sinks in and I feel again a pull to my home more deeply than my strong but indistinct attraction to life in Japan. Maybe I am still learning about why I like Japan (I cannot yet give a complete, clear answer to those here who ask me the ridiculous question of "Which place do you like more?"). In the case of Berkeley, I know why I love it, but that reason has lost a solid grounding with the present situation. Things, places, and people have changed and will change, and for this I must rediscover, or reinvent, my connection to home. I do not by any means mean the house where my parents live--for that, I have come to know very acutely, is no longer my home. I mean this area, some people call it the "Bay Area" (being by a Bay), which calls to me from a voice in the deepest parts of me. I cannot hear what it is saying or why it is saying it, but although I am sure as hell looking forward to going back to Japan for another year, I know that I will be unhappy in the long run if I stay there forevermore.

This has been a BIG ramble, I know. I will now cut this posting off, as there is still sun outside on this crisp, beautiful, tranquil Berkeley evening. Time for drinks with a friend from UC, which means talk about poetry, existentialism, psychoanalysis, and of course the less abstract things that we all take part in on a daily basis. Enough already, I set out into the current. Whoosh!!...


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