Tuesday, 15 November 2011


A trip to Hokkaido marked a transition into a cooler, calmer chapter. Sapporo reminded me of Manchester, a city I still (perhaps misguidedly) call mine. It's a grey, wet sprawl where the people look as if they are cold for most of the year, and it felt somehow familiar to me. Unlike anywhere else I've been in Japan, in Sapporo I could sense the human unpredictability of the city around me. In short, it was kind of miserable, but in a way that felt not unlike home.

Since then I've entered a period of quiet reflection and slow growth. It's almost as if I was just simmering with the heat of summer, spurred on by the constant drill of the cicadas and the sun dancing in my eyes each morning. Since my trip north, autumn has crept down the country to Tokyo and beyond. My blood has begun to cool, and though at first I was terrified of slowing down I'm starting to see the merits of sitting still for a while.

I always hate winter, because for me it's something I have to physically battle against. I feel robbed of my energy by the cold, and the dark evenings press down on me. But to be so full of energy as I was in the summer is exhausting, and now I'm taking the time to sit back and take stock of my collection: people, places, pictures, thoughts. I just wish I could hibernate on it.

Something feels different about autumn this year. It does feel like the world is winding down, and I do feel the pang of loss for summer. But this year autumn feels very cyclical, like this, too, is the beginning of something. A few weeks ago I was brimming with positivity, skipping into every room and laughing out loud. Now I feel quiet, and tired, but every now and again I catch myself smiling at something without even trying and I feel...well, happy.