A Travellerspoint blog


How often do you find the right person?

"Falling Slowly"

We have not told Adam and Shinobu about our... situation. Since we are the only couchsurfers this time around, we got the entire side room to ourselves. This means we had a sliding paper door that gave us complete privacy to sleep in separate pillow beds on their tatami mats. They had enough pillows and blankets for the Mochan Wish Bus, so there was no need for us to even share a blanket. Staying with Adam and Shinobu was the first time we actually had the choice not to sleep in the same bed... Joe seemed unaware of this fact when I placed my pillows apart from his the first night. Tonight, my distance was somehow more apparent. This setup being worlds different from our time we spent here last week, entangled with one another on the house's singular sofa, cuddling into the warmth of each others relaxed embrace, friends pilled in blissful bundles, scattered on the mats around us.

"When Your Mind's Made Up"

As the quiet comments progressed, he became callus, or so I imagined. As I lied on my stomach reading a book (1982 I believe), he made casual remarks to incited hell fire, but on the outside, I remained oblivious. When I returned the favor, my remarks became more and more spiteful with his continued attempts to calmly tell me to shut the fuck up. I found myself bringing up things that had no reason to be brought up just so I could get a rile out of him, get him to care, get in the last word.


We have been together too long for either of us to think these tactics would work. However, we have failed our relationship, so this blatant failure was probably to be expected. Somehow, we were caught off guard. Shocked, by the other's disinterest in caring, in trying, in holding on to what we had.


Sleep did not come easy if it came at all that night. I found myself watching the moonlight through the paper door, waiting for the sun to rise and release me from this place. I needed a change in scenery, I needed to stop pretending that everything was okay, I needed a friend to talk to. One of my best friends lay sleeping a few feet away from where I festered. Or at least that is where his body was located. The person I once thought the world of was no where to be seen, and hadn't been for quite some time. We have been just fooling ourselves.

"The Hill"

I only now realized what I had been talking about all these past months. I have been saying falsities against this person who was my passion, my joy, my love, my soul mate. He would always be those things. But the person sleeping in the room with me, he was none of them. He was a shadowy reflection of all the things I desire in love, and a staggering display of all the things I put up with because they paled in comparison. Our ties, our connections, were all been broken, severed... obliterated. He blames me for what he had become, and I blame myself as well, to some extent. But what could I do, other than continue to push away, and then grovel to be close again to this someone I don't recognize? I cannot fix him unless I fix myself first, I know this now; and unless he can pick up the slack in our ever disconnecting relationship... then time will simply pull us apart at the remaining seams.

What holds us together now is not a sliverwing, nor any pins or screws, but a remembrance of who we once were to one another, and a final quest not yet fulfilled...

One more week together in Japan.

"All The Way Down"

This will complete our quest, the Southwest Passage.

We will have crossed the continental USA on a Honda Silverwing along a treacherous path that zig zagged through the wondrous natural formations of the south west. Then, flying over ocean to discover the countries to the far east: China, where we studied martial arts; Taiwan, where we experienced a balanced east/ west civilization fusion; and Japan where culture, nature, technology, and dear friendships truly culminated the journey.

"If You Want Me"

So, with that, I cried myself to sleep, going over my internal montra... "Only one more week, just one more week, you can make it"

In the morning I woke up to the sound of rain tap dancing on the roof. I left the side room immediately for the living room to get on my computer. Tonight we would be arriving in Takayama, and I was going to make sure we not only got there in time, but we had a room waiting for us. The walls literally were paper thin, so Joe, being a light sleeper, woke up the moment I began typing. The kitchen was part of the same room, so we continued on with our individual business... and the silence couldn't have been just for Adam's benefit. It was reminiscent of every night previous to last night. What do we do, who are we, how do we interact, what has become of us? No answer... so we speak endless monologues to ourselves, leaving no room for normal human interactive conversation. The ball has been left, free falling, in the other's court... this must mean its in the middle, and the referee has tossed it into the air... but what does it mean when neither side jumps?

"Say It To Me Now"

A little while later Adam pounded down the stairs that cut diagonal above our room. "Ohio!" "Ohio.." I said to him with amused distain from the look he gave me about his little pun. (One of the things I would not miss about Japan... Telling people I am from Ohio, and having them say good morning to me... or maybe I would... naw, I probably will miss that. I'll miss everything about Japan, just not the events that took place for me while I was there. These times, I will not miss at all, and I cannot wait until they are finally over.)

As we packed our things up and got ready for Adam to take us one last time to Genbudo Park, Shinobu had enough with my shoes. "Take these!" She insisted handing me adorable black wedge heel sandals. "Ohhhhh, Shinobu must really like you!" Adam chided as he explained how Shinobu is obsessed with shoes and she can never get rid of old ones. He showed me an entire book shelf full of shoes, and then I really couldn't take them. It would be like taking a stamp to post a letter to someone from a stamp collector. I just couldn't. But Shinobu was also stubborn, so we finally came to a compromise, and she gave me her slightly more run down, not as cute, brown leather shoes that she hadn't warn in about 3 years (ps, I saw her wear the black sandals she was trying to give to me only last week.) And now it was finally time to say good bye to my sandals from the Sedona... I was having trouble parting with them. We actually found a pair exactly like these in Taipei, but they were $20 more expensive! (Imported from Arizona) I refused to pay more for shoes in Taiwan than I would in the states, especially because everything else was so much cheeper there... but now, looking at my shoes... I was maybe regretting my decision not to replace them. "Take a picture!" I told Joe. "I want to remember them!" Who, me? Sentimental? Naw.


Then Adam packed us in the car, and we drove down the road to Genbudo Park. It was raining still, so we took some time looking around the visitors center:

I still have my hawaii accent here, yah? Its also mixing with his heavy Canadian, "Ooouh, man"


Then, as with every good building in Japan, we borrowed the umbrellas that sat in a bin just outside the front door. Joe and Adam went off to the main area for Joe to show him some kung fu before I taped him doing the forms he has been planning for the past week. I went off and explored the rest of the formations for some alone time in the rain:


I feel soothed as the warm water washed over my body. I left the umbrella with Adam. This was my element.


I wish I could say I had some profound thoughts here, but I didn't. Emptiness filled my head with such wonderful bliss, I couldn't be bothered to think of anything. Because nothing was better than what my brain would eventually think of... and quite frankly, I was tired of that subject, as I am sure you are as well. But like I said before... only one more week.


It was about time to head back and get some filming done before Adam takes us to the train station. As I get there Adam shows me a sign that he noticed my presence... maybe Joe was just concentrating. Like a good girl, I waited patiently to be useful, we were on Joe's schedule... I understood this idea quite well. Then I decided to be on my own time. I walked off, not too far, and took more pictures. I did this to prove that I had my own life, outside of Joe's.


When Joe was finally ready for filming, he let me know, and noted that he could just keep practicing until I was ready.


This was new... or maybe now was simply the first time in a while I ever gave him the chance to let me go astray. Maybe if I had tried being independent of waiting for my life to start when he was ready... my brain shut off again. Empty vessel. I didn't want to finish that thought. Like a knock out punch, my brain saved myself from too much pain, and simply put itself to sleep.

Tams, 1-4:

Northern Sholin:

Improv Cain:

After this, Adam practically pissed himself as we took a quick hike around the place to see all the things I told Joe he missed. He and Joe went on and on about humor, the something brothers, 3 stooges, and a bunch of other comedic references I found myself just smiling and nodding. Heavy sigh, maybe Joe and I weren't a perfect fit... his sense of humor I never understood. (See that there? It was a joke. Funny right? Come on, its not in your face hilarious, but it has some basic truth added to an over simplified statement. Its giggle to yourself humor to lighten a tense mood. Or does that just make things more tense since we are still in the thick of the situation. Too soon? Too soon?)

Joe found a crab:


Then, for a proper goodbye farewell Adam took us to his favorite sushi place where we braved the rivers that were rapidly flowing through the parking lot ditch (there was a really big dip between the parking lot and the shops), forcing me to eat in the restaurant barefoot and wet. The place reminded me of a 1950's diner all done up in pink with soft lighting, and oh yeah, a sushi train that went all along the booths. Joe and Adam ate a pile of sushi plate, and I had my usual unagi and salmon with the random odd ball plate that I was recommended.

Then it was off to the train where we rather smoothly got dropped off right on time, and headed out on the shinkansen to Kyoto. This was traveling way to far east and a little too far south for our end destination, but in Japan you go where the bullet train will take you. So we said a fond good bye to Adam, and he made me promise to put the video of Joe doing the improv "cain" form on youtube so he could show his students.

We had a slight gap between our trains, so we wondered around the train station a bit as the rain continued to downpour.


Creepy advertisement:

Rocket Boy flying into Kyoto tower:

Me, standing next to the worlds only outdoor escalator (I'm just guessing, the worlds only, not the me part).
Yeah, I'm going to get electrocuted.

Notice the diagonal line of rain of the stairs... thats the line between the roof on the left, and the open sky to the right... yeah, the electric staircase is getting rained on.


Roof garden (yes, we took the escalator to get here, and survived!):

Then we caught the bullet train up north, and then switched to a local train that got us to Takayama just as night began to fall. Now, to get to the hostel located within a Shinto Shrine (I know, how cool is that?!?)

Okay, not very cool when you are in a tiny village filled with shrines. Nobody knew what I was talking about. And apparently this is a big tourist attraction for people who want to be pampered in Ryokan's. Joe and I were exhausted, wet, and not at all in the mood to go through this again. Well I wasn't at least, but Joe seemed perfectly keen to sleep straight up on a wooden bench outside a bunch of shops. His reasoning was that if they weren't going to make it possible for budget travelers to pay for a place to stay, then he was obligated to sleep on the street. Eventually we ended up inside a Ryokan just to take a break from the elements. Then the woman took us from the gorgeous lobby that was done up modestly, but you still knew that every slight decoration was deliberately and most likely expensively, placed there. She got us to sit down at the front desk, and she wrote down a number, and gave it to Joe. He nodded and handed it over to me. This went on about 4 times before I finally gave in to let her show me a room. It was lovely, absolutely perfect. Maids came in and showed us how they set up this gorgeous bed on the tatami mats with all sorts of beautifully fluffy decorated blankets. The place was lit up with the perfect ambient lighting to make you feel like you were vacationing in the most romantic city in all of Japan. Everything was Japanese, from the wooden table on the floor in the breakfast nook with delicate throw pillows as chairs, to the tall shiny wall screens with intricate natural scenes carved into them of mountains becoming lost in mist. There was even the sliding paper walls that separated the main lounge from the bedroom, and the private bathroom had the most intricately lovely bide. If Joe and I were still together, I would have bought it in an instant. But we weren't vacationing lovers. We were separated, and I just couldn't fork over the money for a love nest with all night and till mid morning pass to the hot spas decorated to appear as waterfalls in both men, women, and unisex areas. Joe and I never ended up going to an onsen where we could spend time together, nor did we ever get to go to one that was set up to look like it was in a little hide away in the forest. One came close, where they had some trees around some fake rocks that you could see the pipes poring water into the "waterfall" but that was it...

Leaving that place was hard. Even with Joe and I separated, I honestly walked back into that room 3 or 4 times mulling over the possibility of spending 1900 yen on one night. The hostel I "booked" was going to be about 500 yen, just to give an idea of what I was dealing with. Yes, I was poor enough to have to make this call... heaviest sigh.

There was a cluster of shrines at the far end of town that a taxi driver told us was in walking distance... yeah, why wouldn't he just let me fork over the 100 yen for a lift? Grrrr! It took us over 30 minutes in the dark, cold rain with all our luggage to make it to the other side of town where all the shrines are. You know what that means? No people! Finally I jumped in front of the only car on the road and preyed I pronounced the place Japanese enough. Hell Yeah! It was a teenager! "Can I help you guys?" He asked with a perfect American accent! Thank the lord! We are so fucking lost! He let me in his passenger seat, and Joe in the back while he turned his lights on and looked at my map with me. He marked where we currently were, and the rout which we came from to give us our bearings. Then he circled where we needed to go, not far at all, and showed us the street sign just behind the car of the road we needed to go on. Light, almost easy sigh. Thank you so much! "Domo Arigato Goziimasu!!!!!"

But, as with every new place you visit in the dark... when we got to the location it was supposed to be at, there was a big tree. The map, needless to say, was not all that accurate. We ended up finding another hotel, and the chef there walked us all the way back to the tree, then pointed up the road at a big cement looking shrine gate. As we walked there, I started to wonder, yes, that was probably the way to the "natural shrine" but where was the shrine building where mass was held? There was a light on in the building next to where we were walking... I went up and nocked. "Sumemasen, demo... yusu hosteru koko ni arimaska?" Excuse me, but does the youth hostel exist here? He nodded up and down, told me to wait a minute, then shut the door in my face. Ummm... a few moments later, he came out with 3 umbrellas. "Come, come!" he said as he handed Joe and me umbrellas, and then ran out his door past me, and across the street. We followed him around that big dumb tree, and along a small rock walking path up to the building literally next door to his. I guess he gets a lot of lost foreigners at his doorstep. He rang the priest, and a little old man eventually answered the door. It was 10pm, way after curfew, but the man who gave us the umbrella's explained that were were lost, otherwise we would have been here sooner, and while my Japanese was understandable, that I have trouble expressing myself. It was all very cute how he had invested so much into helping the two of us get on the priest's good side. When the priest had enough of hearing the man beg for us, he let us in, and the man with the umbrella almost wouldn't except his 2 back! I pointed to the barrel of umbrellas next to the door, and I said "over 20!" Then he nodded, and conceded to take his umbrellas back. I bowed to him several times, thanking him with such exasperation I think he teared up, that, or he got some rain on his face, which was possible.

The priest took my name and looked me up on his hand written message log, and there I was, to have arrived several hours ago... he gave me a disappointed look. "Sumimasen..." I said with a small pout of embarrassment. He nodded and waved me off to the shoe shelf. I slipped off Shinobu's wet sandals and then quickly made my way back to the priest who had my key in hand, and obviously a bit impatient to get back to sleep. He took us through the black shrine, winding around rooms that were set up with all sorts of statues and prayer drums, up the stairs to a place that looked more like quarters than a temple. "You," he pointed to the women's restroom, "HIm" he pointed to the men's restroom. "Anatagata" Meaning both of us, he pointed to the sign on the wall that gave a map of the room numbers and their locations in reference to the breakfast room we were in. "Wakarimaska?" Did I understand? "Hi! Wakarimasu! Arigato Goziimasu!" I said this with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, and then Joe and I made our way to our room. This was not a hostel, it was a hotel. When I slid the door open, I expected to have to tip toe around bunk beads, but the room was empty. I pulled the light switch. The room was empty except for a large flat screen television on a short coffee table, and a closet full of blankets and pillows! Our own bed room! I couldn't believe it! We even had 8 outlets all to ourselves! I have to admit, getting ready for bed was the most fun I had all day. So glad I didn't fork over the mony to sleep in guilt at that other place. I was literally sleeping above a temple in my own private room with everything I could ask for and more (wouldn't use the tv, the private room with the blankets, pillows, and outlets was enough to make me tear up myself)!

I was really tired, so after getting ready for bed I passed out, but Joe needed to explore the temple at night, so he left for some time, and attempted to take night shots.



Once, the movie
(On the above site, hit the skip button to go through all the songs.)
If you are so inclined, try reading through to the music...
and no, I didn't put them in album order ^_^*
Once, IMDB

Posted by - Rain 00:13

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i didn't get through the whole album, but i will. i disagree with the tagline of the film though.

by georgi r

You need to watch the movie to understand the title. The title and movie are perfect for what they are.

by - Rain

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