Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sleeping in Takayama

This heater stands in the corner of a room in a former temple in Takayama, Japan. Four years ago we slept a few nights in that room. After a few hours the heater would go out and the next morning the room would be chilly. This was 2007. One year ago, we were so sure to visit Japan again this fall. We will go there again in the hopefully not too far future. Japan never felt further away, out of reach. I read that tourism collapsed down to 50% of what it used to be.

With Japan it's a mystery to me: all the people I met who went there fell in love with Japan. So there must be a lot of people like me, missing what used to be far away but still within reach, at least within 12 hours flight and a bit of saving in advance.

Japan and the japanese lifestyle has accompanied me ever since Mr Paula moved into my apartment. We share a mere 610sqm, a place, that used to be occupied by me alone for years, now belongs to 2. At my age women usually buy there first home, coming with impressive mortgage fees or they rent a place 3times the size of our apartment. Maybe it is my love for the japanese lifestyle, that I appreciate the limits this small space provides. And believe me: nothing enables the change towards a minimalist lifestyle more than limited space. Even though you might be surprised, how many hoarders do live in their tiny houses in Japan, boxes piled up to the ceiling, sometimes even blocking the windows.

Returning to the beginning of this late night posting: My former colleague at work who left one year ago and I used to play this somehow intimate game: Shortly after the onset of winter, when temperatures dropped by 20° within a week, we sat at home on our sofas in the evenings, covered with blankets, cold noses, no heating. Because we somehow wanted to prevail over the beginning of a long winter that lied ahead. In the morning we used to ask the other one if one had finally given in and switched on the heating. Reaching November was an easy challenge for the two of us. This year everything feels colder than it used to. I am not sure if I will make it til mid-October.

Have a good night and stay warm!

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