Yesterday, I fell. It was a rather spectacular, a**-over-teakettle style fall onto small-stone concrete that managed to scrape the skin off the heels of my hands, one elbow and one foot; leave both knees dripping blood; and leave me with one splinted leg, from ankle to thigh.
Apparently it is time for me to slow down.
The thing is, I have never fallen like this before. Having had this experience, I am actually amazed at all the mountain hiking, rock scrabbling, temple summiting, and subway station stair climbing I’ve managed to get away with in my lifetime. Not to mention years on the dance floor and in gymnastics training (as a tween).
And it was an embarrassing fall: broad daylight, busy street, the promenade along a packed beach full of joyous families. And there go I, trying my damnedest to be nonchalant about the fact that I am clearly doing an unintentional cartwheel, bleeding, and my knee feels like it is no longer part of my leg.
So today they mercifully gave me the day off work to visit the hospital. And after my grim (but not nearly as grim as it could have been) diagnosis, I found my sweetheart and I, for the first time, walking through our newfound neighborhood.
And what did we find? First off, a shrine to my most favorite of all Japanese goddesses (and I say this with nothing but respect for her sisters and aunties in the varied pantheons that make up the cosmovision of this part of the world): Benzaiten. Benzaiten’s shrines can always be found at a natural water source, as she represents all that flows: language, abundance, love. We walked the grounds, prayed at the spring and shrine, lingered, quietly moved on.
One of apparently three shrines to Benzaiten in our ward (borough): this is the first we have discovered. The rice-sheath rope is designed to look like the water snake that is one of the Goddess of All That Flow’s familiars.
A natural water source can always be found on the grounds of Benzaiten’s shrines.
A block later, we found a sweet café that offered just what the doctor ordered (the perfect antidote to a morning spent at the hospital):
It’s funny…at home, I’m not much of a pancake eater. But here, I constantly crave them. Comfort food? Oh, and Tomo would like it on record that the coffee was “magnificent.”
And here’s a second shot, just for good measure. Because seriously: a three-berry pancake waffle with banana whipped cream?? Even though we shared it, we both felt like we’d had a full meal.
Sitting at our streetside table, watching the world go by, I realized how often, of late, I have been forgetting to just breathe. And be.
And from there I am sorry to say that I stopped taking pictures altogether, entirely forgetting my duties of faithfully recording for posterity: this was one part because I was learning to navigate the busy sidewalks of Tokyo with the help of my new crutch, and the other (larger) part because we were having too much fun…
- smelling the rosemary in small, open nurseries with expertly arranged flowers and fragrant plants,
- marveling at the neighborhood pastime of dressing up and walking your fanciest (or funkiest) furry, four-legged friends,
- taking in the sight of entire families enjoying National Elder Day, from newborns to elders-in-wheelchairs (who looked back at me, the hobbling young gaijin, with barely-concealed curiosity),
- delighting in the discovery of an open-air pedestrian mall along the canal that leads, eventually to our apartment (which I can only dream of riding my bike down one day…soon, hopefully, when I can bend my knee again).
That’s all for now. I am thankful for the opportunity to be reminded of how agile I am used to being, to gain some insight into those who struggle with mobility, and to see the world at a slower pace. ❤ to you all.