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Osaka Canal

Picture postcard from Osaka: A million feet and a shattered peace

5th July 2017

We spent an evening and a morning in Osaka before embarking on a pilgrimage. We collected stamps from waypoints, slept in guest houses. We read stories of the million feet that had preceded our own.

The forest left me so calm I thought I’d be forever immune to the pinpricks of city living. But no sooner had that impression settled than it was joined by a kind of dread as I realised I would probably never return here. All that peace dissipated into the exhaust fumes of the aeroplane. That week was a dream come true for all of us – but who or what paid the price for my ambitions?

The planet’s as sick as a dog, my dear,
the planet is as sick as a dog.
We used to have a doctor,
we used to call him God.

I’m beginning to suspect something saddening about all of these natural wonders that we dream of, half a world away: that the best and perhaps only way to preserve those treasures is to leave them well alone.

I found myself casting around for some sort of icon to seize on, an image, a souvenir, that would bring Osaka and the mountains home with me.

I remain with my memories, and a few picture postcards. Still, any time I taste processed seaweed, or when I’m under a hot summer sky hanging with muggy clouds, I think of Osaka.

The Fountain is out now.

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Sketch of Osaka

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