|The coral reef at Yonehara Beach|
|The mountains in the background at Yonehara|
This is not the Japan most people experience though. It's quite far away from the concrete cities, the high tech landscapes of Tokyo or Osaka or even the smaller, industrial cities that dot mainland Japan. Where I live is a special place (its a refuge for many people in Japan who have rejected the corporate, "salaryman/woman" lifestyle). It also lacks in some of the things I'd hoped I'd find in Japan. For all of the things I've been missing here (art museums, experimental performance/dance parties, avant-garde theater, coffee shops, music concerts), the benefits of a metropolis cannot contend with finding something within the solitude of nature. Well, I sound like Thoreau (but honestly, I live in the port city here and I have access to the Internet, grocery stores, karaoke and bars, so I'm hardly living on the outskirts of civilization). But I've been searching for a meaning to my life and I felt unhappy even though I was doing what I loved and what I'd long dreamed of doing in NYC. Things did not seem to fall into place easily anymore, everything seemed a bit out of balance. I found myself feeling angry and unhappy about the dumbest, pettiest things. There is something about having access to the solitude and to the amazing scenery here that helps me find refuge in simple experiences and the joy of living. All of this, including my job here, makes me consider what I have to offer to this world to make it a happier, more peaceful place. For all of the cynicism I've picked up in recent years, I guess I'm still an optimist after all. I hope all of this will reflect back into my art/writing and take me in the direction of a life full of gratitude and awe. To do this, I've resolved to spend much more time enjoying how rural and bucolic this island is and less time focusing on what is not here. I'm hoping the beauty and peacefulness of the environment will rub off.
I leave you with this fan video of a song by Washed Out. Enjoy!