Up early to walk the dog in pitch blackness and end that walk in burgeoning light. Water on the boil, beans freshly ground, no appetite. Soon I’ll be heading to the airport for 17 hours in the air to reach an airport in Ishikawa prefecture and from there a car will fetch me for a dark, short ride to a remote mountain inn where I’ll be holed up for five nights writing and interviewing artisans.
I’ve got Kawabata’s, “The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa,” with me and a novel by Oe, and that ought to be OK. I hadn’t known the Kawabata was a modernist book, which means, according to the forward by Donald Ritchie, that it meanders thematically and hasn’t got much of a plot and is so hard to follow that people have given up trying. Uh oh. I’d better add another book. “Hard Times,” by Dickens, anyone?
While in Japan writing about the artisans of this remote area on the Sea of Japan, I’ll also start to research Meiji era hotels, which were the first to adopt Western styles of accommodation, dress, and service.
And sleep. Of course try to sleep in between the onsen or long, hot baths.