I hope you and your dear ones are feeling well as we open the door to a new year. I am so grateful to share this love letter from my favorite place in the world - Yakushima, Japan.
Here on the rural island of Japan, we wake up hearing the village bells and announcements at 6 am every morning while the outside is still pitch black, followed by 10 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm bells. They are loud enough to hear throughout the neighborhood but not too much to the point of annoyance. Much gentler than the lawnmowers and hedge trimmers I am used to hearing in Los Angeles. It is a custom established around a rural farm culture here. Then my dad told me that if we want fresh fish for dinner, we should swing by the local fish store around 3 pm but not anytime before because that is when the fisherman will display the catch of the day at the storefront. So we showed up at the market shortly after 3 pm, and sure enough, we were rewarded with the best sashimi we had in a while, all wrapped in thin wood veneer, just like a neatly presented gift. The evidence of daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms are everywhere.
In this place, I wonder what my grandfather's hopes and dreams were when he decided to uproot his life from the city some 40 years ago at the age of 55. If he saw my father (his son-in-law) also eventually relocating here, carrying forward his legacy. Did my grandfather see his first-born grandchild (me) with her daughters exploring the land? The land he worked so hard to open up to self-build his house (which was more like a shed)? Did he see that this place would give a sense of "home" in Japan to his great-grandchildren growing up abroad? A place they can return to in a consistent rhythm of time?
I hope you enjoy Trina and A.C's stories for this month. I wholeheartedly "soaked my eyeballs" with inspiration, as Trina mentioned in her interview with visual artist Rachel Mohler. I also hope you find encouragement to keep journaling, drawing, and writing to connect the dots of your inner world as A.C. shares their work-in-progress pages from their 5-year journal.
No one would know what my grandfather's intention was here on the island, but I like letting my imagination roam free and ponder how we are here today as a part of a story. When I am here, I feel small in both nature and the line of lineage. The beautiful kind of feeling "small," which only could come from an assurance of knowing that we are a part of something larger.
always a work in progress...
Yakushima, Japan // January 10th, 2023
p.s. Our family is leaving the island tomorrow to start traveling northbound in Japan. My heart aches so much to imagine leaving this place again. And I remind myself what a gift it is to have such a connection with a place that I can call home.
**This is from our BK Love Letter for January 2023. If you would like to see the entire love letter we sent to our community, you can browse it via this link.