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.