No regrets in the forest

Lately, I am starting to think about going back to New York.

My plan of coming to Israel was pretty much a “no plan”.  And it worked great for the past six months. I’ve been doing some interesting stuff. 

I think New York became a real deal after my dad came to visit me and went back, leaving me here with the hole of his absence.

It was great having him here, we drove around and met people, laughed at old jokes, old memories. It was like we never left, never moved to another place.
We were listening to the radio, amused by the silly commercials, embarrassed by the boldness of Hebrew and Israelis. Everything has so much nerve in this place… everything is so dumb. I think it was always one of the best things about Israel: the joke that it is. 
My dad is really funny too. 
After ten days that seemed like two, he left.
It was one thing to be in Japan without my parents for a long while, but it is a whole different story to be in Israel without them.
My grandmother would say that now I’m all hers. She used to say this a lot. With a loving pride.
She was born here. Looking back from my current viewpoint, I see how rooted in this place she was.  I do wonder how it felt like: living in Israel/Palestine for 80 years. Without really being out of it.  80 years of colorful adventures in this crazy tiny place, speaking Hebrew and eating all familiar tastes for a very long time.
I never thought of it as something special that my grandmother was born here and spoke only Hebrew. But now I know that it is a little bit special.
She was so hurt when we left here, left her. I could see it in her eyes. I was her first granddaughter, the one who turned her into a grandmother, I don’t think she ever imagined me crossing the ocean like that, tearing away from her and this place.  
Being back here I feel like I am doing something to make her happy.  I am a bit late, but I am loving everything that reminds me of her.  I am here. And I am sorry.
I am sorry that I left. Yet,  at some point, I will be leaving again. Because this place is nerve-racking, this place is hectic, it wrenches people to tears and blood. 
And because part of me is not sorry at all: I gained so much from being away, I collected many good memories, I got over monstrous challenges and I met with wonderful people.

It’s nice being a foreigner in New York sometimes. It’s so trippy. 

Back here, I so very often read the news, hear something on the street, or crash into an awful conversation that make me want to leave. Immediately.

I cannot handle this.

I do not want to take part in this maniac piece of earth with this insane group people I share so much with. 

Then I go on a trip like I did this past weekend, and I sit there in the forest. It is a small forest, nothing like the massively heavy and rainy forests of north America.
There aren’t that many trees, and all of a sudden, I smell all those delicious aromas I remember so well.
The earth is different here. The sounds are so specific, unforgettable. I just want to eat it all up, to core myself into it. And if I close my eyes I am almost enjoying it too much. 
This essence, this very real rock I am sitting on. Everything here is so much more alive. I am feeling so alive.

Yes. This little forest, with the shy poppies sprouting around, is much better (to me) than the beautiful forest in New York.

Then I become alarmed by the sensation because maybe, just maybe, I am just as insane as everyone else around here. 

And I shouldn’t let this craze get me.

But it’s obviously too late.

Rokkosan and Arima

My four days at Kobe were packed with events.  My friend Ruby and I stayed together at an apartment up the mountain with three more guys: our host, a university student and a tourist. all very nice. it felt homie even though we had such a short stay. Probably more than my dorm room in Kyoto felt in four months.

Each day we explored a very different part of the area.  I will start with the last: a long long fun fun hiking day we took outside of the city, at mount Rokkosan. 

part of Kobe from above

Houses in the mountain(and mist)

beautiful branches

Ruby next to the Arima Toy Museum 

Arima is one long street in between the mountains. We went there looking for an onsen to soak in, and found this free feet hot(super hot) springs. great after the hike!

 This cute little boy sat very quietly close to us for a while. We tried to say hello and ask him for his name, in Japanese. Then his dad came by and told us that he doesn’t understand because they are Chinese.
the street

next: Kobe city!