Once again, it's been a few months since I last wrote here. Family commitments and work, combined with the intense heat of the Japanese summer, kept me away. Venturing outside during those scorching days wasn't pleasant or healthy. However, with the weather now cooler, I've resumed my walks and bike rides. Hiking, especially with the vibrant autumn colours on full display, will now take centre stage.
The primary reason for my silence is a sombre one—I had to fly to the UK for my father's funeral. Despite knowing it was coming it was undeniably difficult. He battled a rare and cruel disease, a fight that no one should have to endure. Ultimately he lost, but that was an inevitable outcome. I can take solace in the fact that when he was diagnosed we'd just adopted our daughter but borders around the world were closed. During that crucial period, my sole purpose was for him to meet her before it was too late. It would have been a regret I'd carry for the rest of my life if I had failed. However, I'm grateful that he had the chance to meet her in both spring 2022 and spring 2023. I also took her with me last month to bring some cheer to family in the UK.
A few more months pass and life goes on. England have just beaten Senegal, Japan are taking the tournament by storm to the surprise of many, (but have just been knocked out by Croatia a few hours before I sent this) and the temperature has finally dropped so it’s cold outside. Cold while watching the World Cup? Who’d have thought…
Local wildlife has been a subject of curiosity recently for the simple pleasure of going out looking for animals. If you look closely, even in the city, they are everywhere. Highly recommended. I’ve been taking my daughter along but whenever I ask her to be quiet she uses it as a signal to scream at the top of her voice and scare away anything within a 10-kilometres radius. Goodbye woodpeckers, goodbye warbles… goodbye…well everything.
It’s been two months or so since I finished walking the Kiso-ji and I’m starting to get the urge to return because I’ve been going through photos and making edits for a personal book. Printing out photos to view as a physical format instead of staring at pixels on a screen makes it easier to determine what works and what doesn’t, and where the gaps in the ‘story’ are. There are so many gaps in what I currently have but I’m fine with that, it’s the filling of those gaps that has kindled the urge to start walking it again and much sooner than originally planned.
Hello. This is Restless, my monthly newsletter. Hopefully keeping things to the point, relevant to Japan and easy to read. Sent from the Shinano Express on my way to walk another section of the Nakasendō/Kiso-ji.