Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things She Will Miss

She will miss dearly: Machiko, Steve, Deanna, Brenda, Mari, Kahori, Miwako, Kiriko, Yukie, Sasha-sensai, Julie Ann-sensai, Caroline, Emi, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Hiroshima, The Peace Memorial Park and Museum, The YMCA, Tanaka-san's, Buono Buono, SATY, Hijiyama Park, temples, stone buddhas, sushi, anago, unagi, miso soup, tempura, cold soba, udon, ferries, islands, a view of the hills and city, stray cats and kittens, rubbing history, being on the other side of the world, umesu, sake, being a foreigner, walking with a sun umbrella over bridges and down narrow streets, okonomiyaki, shiso leaves, shiso juice, seaweed, aloe vera yogurt, japanese snacks, the rooftop view, nice strangers, having popsicles - shaped and tasting like a slice of watermelon - or ice cream every day when she picks up the kids, taking the old trams, A-bombed trees that continue to grow, A-bombed buildings and ground that hold so much history and trauma, this blog, feeling an uncanny affinity for Hiroshima, Ishiuchi Miyako, the shinkansen (bullet train), Kyoto, Osaka, Miyajima......

She went right back to that basement (where a man survived) on Friday morning and shot 2 rolls of black and white film with her Mamiya - probably much better photographs than the ones she "lost". She was sweating down there with the hard hat on but only had to focus on the Mamiya and tripod and not the Nikon and huge rubbings, paper, etc. David looked at the x-rays and lo and behold, there is a lot more exposure than she had thought: spots, dots, cracks, fissures, registration of some sort of radiation. She is eager to print through them and to print through all the rubbings as paper negatives. Tomorrow she goes to Shukkein Garden to rub the A-bombed bridge with Deanna.

Deanna babysat for them Friday night so they could go out for a tempura feast: delicate prawn heads, prawns, fish, river eel, fanned eggplant, lotus root, okra - all dipped in curry salt or daikon sauce, some sashimi, lemon sherbet, whipped green tea. They drank cold Umesu, her favourite new drink that tastes like a cocktail - plum wine that is sometimes served with a plum that has been soaking in the liquor for quite some time. She served lots of Umesu last night at their rooftop party. Lots of people came- curators, activists, friends, guides - to watch the Ujina fireworks. She had never seen such spectacular fireworks before. There was a slight breeze and they all drank sake, umesu, beer, scotch and nibbled on dries squid and peas, edamame, nuts, chips, wasabi and shrimp crackers and big grapes that you squeeze into your mouth, leaving the skin off. It was fun. She felt honored when they all begged her to come back, bestowing on her the title of a "hiroshimian".

They are busy unpacking all the boxes she packed to ship, as it would cost a minor fortune. Luckily, they found 2 old but sturdy unclaimed suitcases downstairs, so they will check 6 big bags and her tube of rubbings. She is anxious about the trip home - taking 2 taxis to the trainstation to catch a shuttle bus to the airport, checking in for a flight to Tokyo and then one to Washington DC and then finally, to Raleigh-Durham. They leave and arrive on the same day due to the massive time difference. This seems impossible to her.

It is hotter than ever here, breaking all records for heat and humidity in Hiroshima. You cannot walk in the sun for more than 30 seconds without being drenched in sweat.

Things she looks forward to in North Carolina: being home, Emma dog, Bilou cat, Lucy, Pam and Henry, val and Laura, Luci and Nico, Kathy, Cafe Driade, neighbors, her kitchen, Mexican food, unpacking all their Japanese treasure, getting into the darkroom and digital lab to print, Cary, Carol, driving (but as little as possible with the gas prices - maybe getting a scooter like David), Amy, John and Sadie, her studio, sending books and gifts to friends in Japan, David going to France, Harper's 3rd birthday party, Guthrie starting kindergarten at Carrboro Elementary, Harper starting at at the Children's Center, Tim and Lisa, Cate and Guin, having fall off, listening to music, watching movies, having gin and tonics with val and Laura, walking the dog, going to the gym, having massages......
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