Thursday, July 25, 2002


Well the fourth of July came and went, completely unremarked throughout Japan, by me too, just another day, until for some reason I looked to find what the date was and saw that it was THE FOURTH and at once up into the night sky of my past rose and burst the intrinsic fireworks that I guess all American expatriates no matter how long expatriated carry around in their psycholuggage, even if they've forgotten about certain of the contents, and suddenly as you're looking for your occamic razor or parfum d'etre or something, there it is, the strange paraphernalia of patriotism, that the deep expatriate sees is a modernistically shriveled vestige of long-lost tribalism.

In the momentary strangeness it felt almost as though the fourth was some sort of 'natural' metaholiday, and always had been for all races throughout written and unwritten history, but then of course history is as we make it. Still, there came that antique surge of whatever it was that used to surge back then, youth's native excitement at the prospect of the day I guess, acquired from all the festivals and picnics and clambakes and pigouts that had impended throughout my formative years, leaving a kind of tending in the inner grain of the creaking tree I've become.

And all these years down the line, having seen all I've seen and learned all I've learned about life and place, time and human nature, all the mellowing and crystallizing I've done, and all the realities that have impinged with their fragrance and thorns, here it was after all, at this moment up here in the mountains above Lake Biwa, just a regular old sunny day English speakers call Saturday and Japanese call doyobi, in what English speakers call July and the Japanese shichigatsu, in what most of the rest of the world calls 2002 and Japan calls Heisei 14.

Echo and I went swimming in the Lake, celebrating life, a much bigger topic. Freedom is not the gift of government. Conversely I don't remember ever getting excited at the emperor's birthday when I was a kid in New York; in fact I'm still not sure when it is, or what it means to be emperored; who needs nobles is not noble.

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