Have you ever come across a piece of art, a book or a film or a song and felt it was made just for you?
This happened to me recently.
First was “When Marnie was There“, both the film itself, but even more intensely the final song “Fine on the Outside” Priscilla Ahn. I saw it alone in a cinema in Nagasaki during my final three week trip around Japan. The film’s themes of loneliness and isolation combined with the setting, a fictional village just down the coast from the place where I had spent three years and battling similar feelings, completely undid me. I saw the mists and the marshlands that were so familiar. I rode that exact train to my new home at the end of the world. I watched a young girl who was afraid to make connections with others. I saw myself at that age, afraid to speak at all. I saw myself at 26 too, taking walks on the trail into the wetlands, not quite dealing with all the things that had happened to me.
When that final song kicked in, I couldn’t keep it together any more. It was as if someone had written that song just for me. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t hear it when I was 12. It had enough impact fourteen years later. I cry at movies. I even cry at bad movies, but this was a good movie. I had thought I knew what catharsis felt like, but “When Marnie was There” was far more powerful. Although I cried my eyes out in the cinema and all the rest of the night, I felt refreshed and emptied.
I’m not the same girl I was when I was 12. People are often surprised when I tell them that I used to find it impossible to talk to others. I’ll talk to anyone these days. I have wonderful friends in the UK, Japan, Canada and many other countries around the world.
I don’t live in Nemuro anymore either. The mist doesn’t rise up from the sea around my house. I can’t see birds wheeling over the marshes from my window. But I’ve taken a part of Nemuro with me in the same way I still have that scared 12 year old me. And sometimes when I want to remember both of them so intensely it almost hurts, I’ll listen to “Fine on the Outside” on repeat.
If I can ever create anything that makes someone feel the way “When Marnie was There” and “Fine on the Outside” made me feel, I’d think I’d done something worthwhile.
My favourite pen has died. It ran out of ink, writing in a coffee shop on Thursday morning.
I have a bit of a thing for stationery, especially Japanese stationery. I spent more time and money than was probably necessary in Japanese stationery shops like Loft and Tokyu Hands. However, this pen was not bought in such a place.
I got this pen in Monbetsu, a town known for its persistent fish smell, giant crab claw, huge bears, and a seal sanctuary. The day I got this pen, I was kissed by a seal at the seal sanctuary. The gift shop at the Monbetsu Sea Ice Museum provided me with this wonderful pen. It wrote smoothly, wasn’t too heavy or bulky, nor too thin. An excellent pen.
Although I’m sad that my pen died, I always get a thrill when a pen runs out. It means that I’ve been writing!
Thank you for your service, oh excellent pen. I wonder if I can go back to Monbetsu to find another one.
And so this mad month draws to a close. Since my last post some things have changed. First, this post is coming to you from sunny Yorkshire (yes, it is sunny sometimes). Mr J-L and I have been helping my parents move, complete with plumbing emergencies and more boxes than should be allowed. The UK trip has also encompassed the Welcome to Nightvale live show, Henry V, Hecuba, my cousin’s wedding, and Passport to Pimlico in a van outside the studios where it was made. Why do one thing when you can do five? And what better time to do all that than when moving house? Truly, I wouldn’t expect anything less of my family.
I also managed to catch a wretched cold, as usual when I’m here in Britain.
Even though September is ending, the intensity isn’t letting up yet. I’ve got my final big dental surgery on Friday. Dental surgery isn’t something one usually looks forward to, but in this case it’s a pretty big milestone. I’m looking forward to not being constantly reminded of the bus accident by my own mouth. Hopefully this will spell the end of my teeth falling out at inopportune moments. All that will be left is to deal with the insurance company, an ordeal all of its own.
My next post should come to you from Canada once more, where I will be reunited with John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. I’m afraid I’ve developed a bad habit of pestering our friend, who is looking after him while we’re away, for pictures and updates on his antics. Let’s just say that he’s taken to butter and might not want to come home. I will try to update a bit more frequently and a lot more interestingly, (even if that just means more Monty pictures).