It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted anything. Life's been hectic...meetings, articles to submit, errands to run...the usual.
But also, it's autumn in Japan. The weather's been a little funky, but overall, it's been absolutely beautiful. We had a typhoon pass through yesterday, but today was probably the most gorgeous weather so far this year. And since it was a Sunday, there were lots of people out enjoying the perfect weather. Of course, Pasta (my golden retriever) isn't one to miss such a golden opportunity (pardon the pun).
After her usual morning walk, Pasta seemed a bit restless. I decided to write-off the long list of "to do" items on my ever-growing, seemingly unending list of tasks, and took Pasta out for another stroll, with a stopover for lunch. Dining alfresco isn't common in Japan, but there's a pizza place nearby I've been meaning to try for a while, which just happens to have two tables outside...tailor-made for a day like today.
The name of the place is Pizza Salvatore Cuomo, and the pizza is frickin' awesome. I kid you not. It's spectacular, so good that I ended up ordering a second pizza after wolfing down the first one plus an order of pasta.
We had a pizza Calabrese (eggplants, olives, anchovies) and a special pasta of the day, then added a pizza Marinara No.1 (four types of tomatoes). If you're ever in the Tokyo area and in the mood for pizza, this is the place. You will not regret it.
Anyway, one thing I discovered today is that Pasta prefers pizza over pasta, as is clear from the pictures below. Tired from all the walking, she wasn't the least bit interested when the pasta was served, but the moment the pizza arrived...bingo! She was wide awake and sniffing away. My dog has impeccable taste. The pasta was really good, but let me repeat...the pizza was frickin' out of this world.
After lunch we wandered around a bit, taking in the sights and sounds of autumn. I got to thinking about a conversation I had last week, while I was in town for a meeting with a person I know from Sea & Sea.
As we sat in the lobby of a big, shiny office building, I mentioned to him that I really love autumn. Being from outside Tokyo, he agreed, and we got to chatting about city people. Sitting in that enormous marble, steel and chrome lobby, we watched as hundreds of people shuffled back-and-forth in front of us, going to meetings, leaving meetings, entering elevators, heading into cubicles...as busy and driven as dedicated workers in an ant colony, and seemingly as oblivious of everything around them.
I commented on the fact that the leaves were turning colours, flowers and trees producing seeds and nuts, air getting crisp and clear...and he noted that most of the people in the building probably had no idea any of this was happening...at least not directly. Most people understand in principle what happens in autumn, but it's one thing to "know" something in a book-learning, theoretical kind of way, and quite another to experience it directly by feeling, tasting, touching, smelling and hearing it.
It's a bit sad, isn't it? There's so much going on around us, and most city folk don't have the time or interest to enjoy it.
In my mind, this is the main reason that the world's in so much trouble. Most urban dwellers are largely, if not completely, out of touch with the world. We live in air-conditioned/ heated houses, travel in cars/ trains/ buses/ planes to an air-conditioned/ heated office, exercise in air-conditioned/ heated clubs, eat in posh restaurants where you don't get your hands dirty preparing food (much less having to find/ hunt/ fish for it), etc., etc., etc.
There are so many times I've had conversations with people, both directly and virtually, when it's just obvious to me that they're not connected to the world. The thing I wonder about though, is how it is that many of these people, who live most or all of their lives in urban cocoons, feel so highly qualified to judge what needs to be done to fix nature.
If only the pitfalls of pontificating from afar were more obvious.
We went into our meeting, in a room with no windows, no contact with the outside world, no connection with nature...and then we left. The meeting went extremely well, but I must confess that I breathed a silent but significant sigh of relief when I was finally able to leave the building and go back to the real world.
A grasshopper showed up suddenly and stirred me from my daydreaming, bringing me back to here-and-now. I was just about to take Pasta back home, but reflecting on that conversation earlier in the week, I realised that the to-do list could wait, and my time today was much better spent watching Pasta watch the grasshopper watch me watch the seasons change.