The events of September 11th gave me much to think about. I considered canceling or postponing my trip to Japan but concluded such a move would be the wrong thing to do. Always, one knows what is right; even if one is reluctant to bring oneself to the bridge that is sometimes hidden in the fog of destiny. Destiny: I will use that word, however old fashioned and ambiguous the meaning. It is what we must do, however dimly we understand it. It does not mean that it is publicly grand. It is what happens to us and how we react to what we are dealt. In times of deja vu, in times of coincidence and serendipity it sometimes feels determined, scriptedc But I am confused: I want that it should be life affirming, unequivocally creative, enlighteningcand yet what knowledge do I have beyond my own divining stick?
In flight, I wondered how it was that fortune was being so good to me and so cruel to others. It was a stream of thought that would color my whole experience of Japan. Even if life is a miraculous gift, it does not assure that history will be kind.
In flight from Detroit to Osaka I also pondered how it was that I, of all people, was going to Japan. I wondered whether I was in over my head. Writing a winning haiku does not confer, at least in my mind, a mantle of expertise. I worried about knowing so little, about not being the best of observers, the interior landscapes of my head/brain/soul always coloring the things I think I see. But how is that different from anyone else (?) I asked, and tried to sleep. Destiny. It is not a guarantee of success, happiness or anything else. Maybe it is simply the now of our destinationcMy brain is racing. I have got to settle down.
5:45 pm, Sept 17:
Landed at Kansai Airport in Osaka and followed the signs to where I thought I was supposed to be, which miraculously turned out to be correct.
Customs: a long line that moved quickly. Asked the purpose of my visit, I responded that I had won the Fifth Shiki Internet Haiku Contest, to which the customs agent/lady replied
which cannot have any other effect than to make one feel good.
6:15, Sept. 17
Waiting for my flight to Matsuyama I notice how the Japanese gather round the 6:00 news, obviously concerned and saddened by what has happened in America. In the course of my journey many people would inquire about my family, expressing sympathy and sadness at America's loss.
I began to regret I had not yet exchanged U.S. cash for yen, as I was thirsty (and too naive to know I could do so upstairs).
the foreigner wants
to convert his change