Monday, September 12, 2011

Japanese Train Stations Forever

“Oh, my God,” Grant said.

He stared at the raptors, ranged along the beach in a rigid formation, silently watching the boat. And he suddenly understood what he was looking at.

“Those animals,” Gennaro said, shaking his head, “they sure are desperate to escape from here.”

“No,” Grant said. “They don’t want to escape at all.”

“They don’t?”

“No,” Grant said. “They want to migrate.”

“Jurassic Park”
Michael Crichton

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, my story is probably no different than many others, but when I was younger, no doubt my family gave up a lot. My parents especially and my younger brothers probably and my older brother probably got dragged through the tennis clubs more often than not when they didn't necessarily want to. But I'm lucky that I had a really supportive family. They saw that I had this dream and drive and determination to be a tennis player, and, you know, obviously none of us knew if it was ever gonna pay off. Lucky for me, I had that support behind me. Playing all those small tournaments and, like you said, I've slept in train stations and stayed in dodgy hotels and done the hard yards through many places, and it all pays off in the end. I'd do it all over again if I had to.

Q: Which train stations did you sleep?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Fukuoka in Japan. If there was a safe train station, it was that one.

Fukuoka (the area of Kashii, Hakata, Sawara and Imazu) is said to be the oldest city in Japan, because it is the nearest city to China and Korea. The area around Fukuoka is among the oldest non-Jōmon settlements in Japan. Dazaifu was an administrative capital in 663 A.D., but a historian proposed that a prehistoric capital was in the area. Ancient texts, such as the Kojiki, and archaeology confirm this was a very critical place in the founding of Japan. Some scholars even go as far as to claim it was the first place outsiders and the Imperial Family set foot, but like many early Japan origin theories, it remains contested.

I wish I was walking past
the Harajuku station forever
and somebody was smiling
and somebody was laughing.

I spend a lot of time, too, watching boats.
And planes. I don’t see a lot of trains but
I often hear their horns in the distance
and the distant train noises sound plaintive
to me and not annoying. I’ve often
thought I’d like to “escape” without knowing
what I wanted to escape from or to.

But migration is a different thing.

Is migration an urge that people feel?

It’s not “escape,” then, going somewhere else,
although I guess nobody understands
why animals migrate just that they do
so I still wouldn’t know why I wanted
to leave where I’m at and go somewhere else
so the two words share some basic unknowns.

But migration sounds...cooler...than escape.

I’m puzzled by Japanese train stations.

Among all this other stuff I don’t know
I don’t know what Japanese train stations
are trying to tell me about themselves.

Japanese train stations sound like places
I’d like to go to and not embark from.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” is a song
by John Lennon remembering a place
he left then looked back on with affection.

I miss everyone I’ve ever met.

I don’t miss any place I’ve ever left.

I miss Japanese train stations although
I’ve never even visited Japan.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t a Beatle.

I can’t even migrate right, and my songs
never would have made the planet better
because I don’t miss any place I’ve left
so I couldn’t craft an engaging hymn
about Arcadia Lost to inspire
people to dream of building it anew.

I mean, I can see the conversation—
“Hey, Paul, my new song’s about migrating
to Japanese train stations forever”

and Paul and George would look at each other
and it would be a look I’d seen before.

It’s not a good look. In fact, it’s a look
you want to escape from when you see it
or migrate to someplace you won’t see it.

The noises trains make off in the distance
are the music part of a song about
a place people don’t look at each other
to try to think of nice ways to tell you
nobody here wants to read what you write.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Strawberry Fields Forever” at Wikipedia


A Lost World Where Distance Is God’s Anger