On Saturday and Sunday, I was in Shinjo village to attend a symposium. Shinjo is such a hidden treasure. There is a street with cherry trees on both sides. Hazy mountains surround the cozily small plain on which the human habitation finds itself. The houses stand in a quiet harmony. Shinjo is one of these best kept secrets.
Apart from a single Minshuku, there aren't any hotels or ryokans in Shinjo. Therefore the participants of the symposium stayed at private houses. I was staying with Mr. Katsuthoshi Shishido. Before going to bed, (or rather, futon), I strolled along the cherry street. It was an incredible night. There were several drinking parties going on, with people from the symposium gathering here and there.
I enjoyed chatting with people over beer and sake as well as finding solace in the solitude as I ventured into the night air from time to time.
Strolling the stretch among houses dimly lit by candles, I pondered why precious things are hard to give explicit expressions for. The practical and vulgar things get easily distributed. While the gentle and poignant suffer. People hardly gave a thought, for example, to the destruction of nature for a long, long time. Or the deterioration of conscience.
No wonder self-consciousness suffers in modern times. Each one us is bleeding internally from the effects of civilization. But then the fact that I am I have always suffered, the brutal forces of nature and society trespassing and degrading its sovereignty, while the comfort comes occasionally, like a surprise visit of sunbeam through a thick black cloud.