Wednesday, 23 March 2016


There is a hole inside
It yawns and burns
And for countless years on end, nothing has filled it.

None of the beautiful things in the world could fill it.

The gales that sweep the marshes of Kenashitai roar in a thousand colours
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The autumn leaves of high Aizu dance in a sea of flames
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The namahage of Oga shuffle and wave their cleavers and bellow incomprehensible words
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

Date Masamune of Sendai tells it a hundred stories about his own brilliance
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The red and orange dragonflies of Furano fly to my side, an escort up the ridge
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The fuzzy monkeys of Jigokudani come up to it with curious faces and poke it
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The twin summits of Tsukuba stand with the female peak satisfyingly higher than the male peak
But they do not fill it, and everything hurts.

The gorgeous mountains of Chichibu, Tama, Tanzawa, Hakone and Kōshu disrobe before me, lead me into their realms, bid me walk and slide upon their slopes and their curves, to lose myself amidst their valleys and dark places.
They are such beautiful mountains.
But alas, they are earth and stone, while I am flesh
So they do not fill the hole, and everything hurts.

Everything hurts; I can only weep
I have wept on the peaks and peninsulas of Aomori
I have wept in the secluded ravines of Fukushima
I have wept in the endless ricefields of Akita
I have wept amidst the steaming springs of Miyagi
I have wept on the lush plains of Hokkaido
I have wept in the freezing snows of Nagano
I have even wept on the roads of Ibaraki which stretch across the horizons
And I have wept on each of the slopes and curves, the valleys and dark places around the Kantō plain
Where only the mountains hear
And only the mountains care.

But nothing fills the hole.
For how can even the most beautiful things in the world fill the hole
When there is no hug
No warmth?

And how can there be warmth
In a world of otoko ga, onna ni
Or otoko ga, onna o?*
In a world where it is expected
That women are rescued by men
But where for men to be rescued by women is thought ridiculous?

Not by the mountains, mind you.
The mountains are vast
They are kind
They are strong
They do not care that you are smaller than them, or weaker
For they enjoy your company, they listen and talk and it is not small talk.
They teach you and learn from you
Want to be friends with you even if you are sad
And will soak your tears in their soil, their snow, no matter how loud, no matter how long
While on the other hand, those who come in arrogance and gallantry are crushed.
In either case, you are left in no doubt that it is yama ga, anata ni
Or yama ga, anata o**
And they like it that way
The mountains like to play
They do not wait to be acted upon, but reach out to touch you, to take you, to draw you into their world, and to hug, because they like it.
Their wind sweeps upon you, and hugs
Their shuffling branches descend upon you, and hug
Their mud slides underfoot and brings you to the ground, and hugs
Their spider webs stick in your face, and hug
And their fuzzy bears come out from the woods and go rawr rawr, and hug.
The mountains love.
They hold you in the power of their rippling ridges, the fragrance of their woods, the songs of their birds and winds that whisper peace into your soul.
And they do not see love as something you want and they have,
no: not a thing to be won, or bought, or competed for,
nor made conditional on scoring happy-points with them.
No – the love of the mountains is love, real love, that reaches out and leaves nobody behind
For they are vast
They are kind
They are strong.

These human women
I wish at least some were more like those mountains
For in a world like this
There is no warmth

otoko = man
onna = woman
ga = (indicates subject)
o = (indicates object)
ni = (indicates target or recipient)

yama = mountain
anata = you

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