Split personality

I have no idea where this is going to go today. Maybe my camera has lost it:s zoom function, but my brain and my emotions are zooming all over the place. And for you grammarians ... I:m using a Japanese keyboard to type this so, substitute : for an apostrophe, and * for quotation marks. I haven:t found them on this keyboard yet. There not wherever I learned they were went I learned touch typing a hundred years ago.

Yesterday I experienced such incredible kindness from strangers ... And this is not uncommon in Japan. It:s one of the reasons I love it here. It:s such a civilized society. People don:t settle arguments with guns. Some of them may elbow you out of the way on crowded trains but for that I forgive them because I:ve done it myself. It wasn:t just the hotel clerk running after me to the bus station to bring me something I:d forgotten, but the nice man at the bus stop who made sure I got on the right bus, the lady who made sure my backpack was zipped up tight so nothing fell out, and the security (!) people at the airport who helped me figure out how to check in, and the guy at the souvenir shop who helped me pick out a bottle of sake to bring home to okaasan, and the whole group of people in line for the elevator who waited for the man in the electric wheel chair (that he couldn:t drive very well) to get on and then we all waited for the next elevator. Nobody bitched. Nobody shoved ahead.

When I got home to Shoko:s I took advantage of one of Japan:s fabulous services. I packed up my big suitcases with everything i don:t need before leaving and for the mere price of about $38 sent them off to Narita. I:ll pick them up before the flight on Monday. The only distance I:ll have to deal with them is from the pick up place to the check in counter a few feet away. So civilized!

And then there are all the Japanese things I would like to pack in my suitcase but they wouldn:t fit ...

a Japanese toilet for one. Love that heated sit in the middle of the night.

A good yakitori restaurant. I know it:s not hard to stick little pieces of chicken on a skewer but it:s the atmosphere.

Of course, a Japanese onsen. My feet are only this soft when I:m here.

There are Shoko:s seven course breakfasts. I am really going to miss them --- eggs, salad, rice, fruit, miso, tofu ...

Really smart vending machines with a huge number of selections, the ability to take currency of any size, let you choose multiple items before giving you correct change.

Sumo wrestling ... such fun watching it with okaasan last evening. The champion, HakuHou, is 14-0 this tournament. Has Sumo:s winningest ever record. We are coming home early from today:s adventure so we can watch the final bout!

I won:t miss this bleeping Japanese keyboard. Not only is the punctuation scattered, the space bar is tiny, and when you miss it, which I do frequently, I find myself typing in characters and then have to figure out how to get out of that. I finally found the @ because I was sending email. Will insert keyboard picture later. ... done ... below ... notice the size of the spave bar ...

Here:s what I really struggle with ... I said to *home to Shoko:s* ... and I meant it. This is home. I have *family* here. I have many friends. But it isn:t my only home. There:s my home in Mt. Airy. My friends, community, cats. And on both sides of the ocean, people are dealing with *life* issues. Aging, illness, cancer, loss of a loved one. I want to be here. I want to be there. How do I balance this. How do I *zoom out* and get perspective on it?

I remembered this morning that one of my mother:s nicknames was *Zoomo*, a name she got one rainy morning when she was driving slowly and when encouraged to go faster said, *I:m* not going to go zooming around in this weather!* Maybe that:s the message ... I don:t need to go zooming around, or zoom out. I just need to be zoomed in on wherever I am. Be here in body wherever I am, and be there is spirit where I:m not. And find the means to travel back and forth more frequently. When are they going to invent that Star Trek mass transporter?

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