Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nishi no Hosomichi, or Go West, but Not Too Far



It’s just me, this old man, silence and the mountains. Just me, this old man (who doesn’t respond to my sumimasen), the silence, the mountains--and the heat, and the waiting, and the contrition and the dread. I can’t believe this is happening. I am sitting on a not-uncomfortable molded plastic seat on a near-deserted platform in the west Kantō backwater of Ogose. You’ve never heard of it? Well neither had I until twenty minutes ago, when I boarded the wrong train and ended up here. I can tell you zip about it, save for two things: I had to go through a forest to get here (which was a nice change of scenery from the bustle and ostentatiousness of Harajuku) and it’s about half an hour in the wrong direction from my job interview—and I’m already half an hour late.

Fuck me.

Should I even bother to show up for a job interview an hour late? I guess so. I mean, I have to pay fifteen bucks round-trip train fare either way. In the meantime, more people are straggling onto the platform. I think the train is coming soon, to bear me back east….Onward, to my mighty destiny!

* See Matsuo Bashō’s Oku no Hosomichi, the On the Road or Dharma Bums of 17th-century Japan.