If no one in your community believed such a land as Japan existed, what if a traveller arrived to tell you she had been there? Its people, its culture, the geography of the land. Especially if such experiences of other lands were a rarity, would the community believe our traveller? If travel was something discouraged, maybe even thought of as dangerous or taboo. Imagine if you mustered the courage and decided to find this land yourself, you are beginning to feel claustrophobic staying at home. The traveller gives you a map and when you examine it you discover the route starts many miles from where you live, you have to find your own way to the starting point.
However, you are determined and you find your way to the beginning. You follow the map which you later see is quite ancient and many of the roads no longer exist or have been changed. So as you progress on the way, you keep notes and your very body remembers which paths took you further along the way and which didn’t. Occasionally you climb a mountain top and catch glimpses of what looks like Japan, sometimes you hear music when the winds blows your way. You begin to have a sense of certainty of its existence only to be full of doubts the next day when the road leads you through a deep valley and underground passage. Whats more, you bump into people that have found so many maps on route to Japan that they are lost in the maps, seated under trees or on rocks pouring over them. Then there are mad people, they have lost the map and can be seen climbing mountains with a wild expression in their eyes.
But the most dangerous are the ones that want to lead you there, often for a very high price. The price could be gold but there is a higher price: the loss of your orientation and sense of direction because once that goes you may lose your way for awhile and need to retrace your steps to the road again. Luckily there are the chance meetings though, they are the most rewarding. Sometimes the meeting takes the form of a person that describes the land around you, you know they have explored the mountains, valleys and forests from the way they speak. There are also non-human meetings that help you too. A bird, a wind blown tree, the earth below and the sky above. Especially the sky with its moon, stars and sun each tracing a familiar path. There is north, south, east and west they declare.
So in time you begin to enjoy the path and the energy of nature you are immersed in. You have your orientation from your experiences and observations and the journey has become familiar. This is no mindless undertaking you say to yourself, it requires intelligence and a keen awareness. One day you realise that your arms and shoulders are covered in cherry blossoms. Oh, you think to yourself, this must be Japan.
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