The other day it was six degrees and sunny in Victoria. A brisk wind that begged for a wool coat blew up from the harbour. The next was five degrees and overcast. Though it’s early spring, these days together with views of the bare branches of plane trees against the power lines outside my window remind me of my winter days in Tokyo.

Thanks to central heating and proper insulation my Victoria apartment is a consistent and cozy 21 degrees. No noisy air conditioning unit blasts hot dry air into my face hour after hour. When I sit in front of the window there’s no icy draft akin to an open refrigerator door.  And yet, even with the challenges and frustrations inherent in the overall experience at various levels at every turn while there, the past weeks here have been laced with nostalgia for my Tokyo days.

I remember fondly the little neighbourhood landmarks I used to pass every day. The post office, the little spa where I enjoyed heavenly foot massages, the restaurants I frequented regularly, the dry cleaner in front of Gaienmae station, the inviting window displays of small boutiques.

I recall bird song in the grove beside my apartment, the chirping of traffic lights, the distinctive whine and snarl of Ferrari and Lamborghini engines along Aoyama-dori; a marked contrast to the gentle rustle and clacking of the bamboo grove leading to Baisoin Temple from which the scent of incense wafted on the air.

Often a glass of bubbles or a single malt accompanied night skyline or Fuji views from various locations. As I walked down the little slope leading to my apartment from Gaienmae Station, Tokyo Tower glowed in the distance, a tacit orange welcome against the blue velvet sky.  Sometimes the moon paid a call. More than eight light years away Sirius winked between the two apartment buildings across the street.

My friend Vivian writes to tell me that my spirit still inhabits Gaienmae, that she can feel my lingering presence when she pauses for coffee in the neighbourhood. I don’t disbelieve her.

Funny, after three months of living in a chilly apartment the size of my Victoria bedroom and enjoying more success than I’d hoped to achieve at the outset, I was quite ready and content to come home. Now, after a little more than two months back I can’t say I’ve adjusted with ease.

There, in spite of the often exhausting challenges, I was creatively jazzed and vibrantly alive, filled with a quiet radiance that could bring me near to bursting.  Here physical comforts fit like a beloved pair of slippers, but an uneasy void remains. In addition, various delays and disappointments on my return have landed me in a rut where the inner compass spins on its center.

Based on a lifetime’s experience with the sine waves of forward momentum, no doubt there’s a spiritual redirect–even something which might resemble a plan–inherent in the situation. Given time and the clear perspective of hindsight it might make sense; however, acquiescence would be easier if I could understand its purpose.

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