Backside of the Moon

One of the rare times I actually sit through movies would be on the air plane, I mean you don't really have a choice when you are literally strapped to the seat. It is not that I hate watching movies, but I do have an attention span as fleeting as the memory of grabbing eggs from a convenience store. Therefore, I see extensive flight hours as an opportunity for me to get reacquainted with civilization. One of the movies that I've caught was Silver Linings Playbook (forgive me, I know it is so 2012).

The movie resonated deeply – about people and their demons, how the weight of life can plunge you into total darkness and societal prejudice against 'people with problems'. At the end of the day, it is up to you to find your own silver lining. Sometimes it is tough, as much as you want to believe in yourself, it really matters that others believe in you too.

Interestingly, an artwork part of Setouchi Triennale in Naoshima, gave me a great insight on a similar scale. The project titled 'Backside of the Moon' was a collaboration between James Turrell and Tadao Ando in 1999. At the start of the tour, we were informed that it was going to be really dark inside the Minamidera artspace and we had to stick out our hands to feel the walls as we go. It was pitch dark when we entered, which led to me occasional bumping into the dude in front of me and the grazing of hands (totally unintentional of course ahem). We sat in the darkness for five minutes.

I opened and closed my eyes to feel the difference, and contemplated about whether it is better to have a faint glimpse of what is next before deciding that it is better to not know at all.  I soon got comfortable with the darkness surrounding me. So did the others around me as I began to hear people loosening their joints (and half expected someone to fart).  This could be the closest thing to being invisible and it was a real nice feeling.

Slowly, a white screen came to view and we were instructed to walk towards it and feel it, which I thought it was weird since I was in for a film screening. As everyone awkwardly ambled towards it, it was funny to see grown ups walking like toddlers. With hands outstretched, I touched a wall of cloud. It was such an amazing experience that no amount of exclamation marks I put to the end of this sentence would do it justice. If I was tall enough, I would have climbed over the wall and disappeared into oblivion.

It was then I realized, that the wall of light has always been there all along. The lighting has not been changed, but it was the eyes adjusting to the equilibrium of the light and darkness existing in the space. I understood with more clarity now – when you first step into the darkness from a very bright place, you are unable to see anything else but the darkness that surrounds you. But even in total darkness, there is always light – if you choose to see it. 

 

Traveling with a can of tuna

Because I literally did this morning. I'm never good when confronted with sign boards in the JR stations here in Japan because they never ever state the name of the station that I'm going to. This morning was no different even after I put on my enigmatic frown "どこですか?" to good use. When I boarded the train, I thought something was fishy. After leering around suspiciously I found a can of half eaten tuna on my right by the window. おもしろいです。 We then had a lengthy conversation exchanging nutrition facts along the way to Takamatsu.

I decided to visit Okayama for the Setouchi Triennale 2013, (which runs through three seasons - Spring, Summer and Autumn) after hearing about it from Alicia. Upon arrival, I was immediately impressed by how well developed Okayama is. I haven't had the time to explore the area around my hotel since I headed straight for the islands this afternoon. Also, very unfortunately due to a narcolepsy relapse this morning, I only had time for Ogijima (男木島) and Megijima (女木島) island.

The islands are really beautiful and well maintained. It was apparent that the people there live a simple and quiet life. I suppose the Triennale was very much driven by the purpose of introducing tourism to the seto inland islands but I am not sure if it is necessary as it could be disruptive to the residents' lives. I do hope that they benefit from it though. I mean, the cats on the island certainly did. I had to share my royal milk tea with 8 strays that came running towards me thinking that I have food for them when I just wanted to rest on the swing. At that moment, I thought fondly about my travel companion this morning. I guess it was not a meeting by coincidence.

The trip so far has not disappoint, I'm slowly finding what I started out to seek in traveling solo. I will always love traveling alone and having time to myself. But the down side of it is having to finish an entire Rikuro cheesecake and maki roll big enough for 6. Just kidding, I was really glad that I had them all to myself. But it would be really great if my friends were here to share these beautiful moments and swoon over kawaii Japanese things together (miss you guys!) For now, I'll just leave yall with some pictures taken on my phone today. This is the first time I'm posting from my iPad, here's hoping that it doesn't screw up.

おやすみなさい ♡

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