Walking around near Ontakesan Station on the Ikegami Line on April 21st, I wandered into the grounds of a shrine and began walking down the stone path leading to the wooden shrine building. As I was about mid-way down the path, I looked to my left and was greeted by a mesmerizing sight, so I stopped to take it in - standing there in a half-trance while an older woman prayed at the shrine down the path. The actual sight itself wasn't remarkable - just part of the roof of a traditional shrine building seen through some trees and with a backdrop of deep blue sky with white cotton clouds floating through the blue. The view was nice enough, but what was really mesmerizing was a powerful flashback I had to standing among the trees in the Rocky Mountains as a child way back in the late sixties.
I stood there transfixed by my old feelings and wondered how and why they could come back so strongly in Tokyo! I looked around quietly and figured it out though - April 21st was a dry day with a comfortably cool breeze blowing (and singing) threw the trees, clean air, deep blue sky with very white clouds, there was nothing in that wonderful view but wood, earth and sky - no concrete, no asphalt, no plastic, no glass, no exhaust fumes, no engine noises, no computer screens - and upwind to my right was a large old pine tree scenting the air with the pine smell I've always associated with the time I spent in the Rocky Mountains during a few childhood summer vacations. It was such a nice feeling, that I wanted to linger within it longer still, but the siren call of concrete, exhaust gases, florescent lighting and mind-numbing CRT computer monitors dragged me back to "reality" or - perhaps more accurately - dragged me away from reality and back into the nightmare. On the way back to the machines (and I - very ironically - like machines), I walked down the tree-lined shopping street leading to Ontakesan Station, taking in the warm spring feeling from the trees with their new green leaves, and pondering how much better any street is with trees than without them....
And then today (April 22nd), I go out for a walk around my apartment, and I discover that someone has cut down the exotic fruit tree (loquat) that was growing by my apartment building. Asking around, I discover that some imbecile on the first floor was afraid insects might be attracted to the tree, so they had it cut down. I can't begin to convey to you the rage I feel in contemplating this kind of thing. You've got a tree that produces fruit that tastes great (for those who are lucky enough to grab it in the few days it takes to pick the tree clean), and there was no insect problem at all, but the idiot is deathly afraid of any kind of life other than bipeds, and thinks the tree needs to be murdered in order to prevent the remote possibility of there being (gasp!) insects. This type of an idiot should move to the desert and starve - they could sit in sterile bliss while they drift over to the other side - presumably to a place with no insects or trees. It's bad enough to have such an imbecile living in the same building, but it's depressing that the rest of the tenants didn't stand up for the tree and tell the idiot to either shut up or move to the desert. well... maybe they're all in state of shock today like I am, but the building maintenance people apparently agreed and actually paid to have someone come out and kill the tree. It's just so... wrong!
Well... sorry for liking trees so much, but I really don't understand why so many people seem to prefer barren dirt to living, green, oxygen-producing trees.
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon