Nishiogi Notes

NISHIOGI NOTES. As we have reported in previous issues, the Tokyo traffic pattern is one of constant rushing movement.  Since there are so many people and so little space,  if you do not keep moving, you are likely to cause a traffic jam.   But only sections of the city’s surface are involved in this fast-moving, straight-line pace.  You can always find an exit ramp along the way and leave the traffic pattern behind.   You then enter a space where time moves slowly, the route meanders, and the hectic rush is left behind.

One such space is the little river that wanders quietly through Suginami Ward:  the Zenpukuji.   It flows at a leisurely pace and winds between the houses that have been built up along its now concreted banks, an ever-present reminder of the possibility of a more contemplative, less stressful way of life.

Wild life, whose rhythms and traffic patterns tend to differ from those of urban humans (with the exception of slime molds, of course [see V. 3, n. 3]), gather here, too.  This egret wades deliberatively with dainty yellow steps along the river’s muddy edge, pausing, eyes alert, long curved neck held at the ready, then makes a sudden lunge at the water and pulls back with something in his beak.  Spotting me and my camera, he spreads his wide white wings and soars through the air to another hunting spot further downstream.

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