Saturday Morning in Kyoto

The house I’m in is new, not open yet to the public, and it is in a small compound that belongs to a late nineteenth century mansion within which are numerous artifacts and art from various sources, including Zen temples shut down during the Meiji Restoration.

The house faces an enormous private garden of deciduous and pine trees, lined on one side by a canal and a narrow street, on the other side there is a busy, four lane city street.

I’ve been in Japan nearly a week.  Lots of meetings concerning writing and projects, each evening with friends, mostly old friends though some new, and great people watching day and night.

Long walks through the downtown area and also the Eastern hills.  Kyoto is one of my three favorite cities: Manageable scale, extraordinary mix of architecture, people reserved but pleasant, a wide river lined on one side by an elevated bank and little cafes.

I’ve been enjoying udon and soba, yakitori and beef, beautiful apples and persimmons, delicious young ginger.

I’ve read two novels by Mishima in the past few days, and the morbid fascination with decay and self-loathing make clear why he appealed to me in junior high school when I seem to have shared some of his doubts with similar intensity.  Now I can still appreciate the ferocity of the writing, his commitment to what he is writing.  He is more like a sculptor than a painter.  But I’m lost when his fantasies turn from reality rather than observe what is around us.

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