I’m riding a skateboard to Angkor Wat but I stop to say hi to people along the way.
He disappears somewhere and I can’t find him anywhere.
Angkor Wat is one of those places that, despite the constant crowds, has an air of real magic.
And it’s even better if you can have a quiet corner to yourself. A skateboard would be a pathetically inefficient mode of transportation though.
I’m picking flowers from trees and collecting petals to make flowers.
There’s always been something about the silky, thin blossom petals that makes me want to gather up armfuls of fallen petals, cram my pockets full, and carry them home with me.
Our next door neighbors growing up had two cherry trees in their front yard and one year we did just that; scooped them up from the front walk and stuffed the confetti-like petals into a bag. Of course within hours they were a sad, wilted mess, no longer the perfect silk bits they were strewn in drifts on the ground. The ephemerality, of course, being part of the magic, we accepted that our attempts were futile, and never tried to save them again. Still, every once in a while I can’t help but pick up a blossom that’s managed to fall still-whole and perfect and carry it around with me for a bit.
We’ve found it: the portal to another world.
As soon as I step inside the dream skips and halts, and I’m seeing it over and over, wondering where it leads,
going in but never coming out, like an endless void falling forever,
until my alarm jolts me back.
I searched far and wide and finally found that portal inside one of the few Tadao Ando buildings in Tokyo. Issey Miyake and Tadao Ando are one of my favorite duos, so 21_21 Design Sight holds a special place in my heart. It’s fun to keep an eye out for whacky and interesting exhibitions (there’s no permanent collection). My favorite so far was centered around that classic snack, Kinoko no yama. Still no word on where that portal leads, though.
Julien David top / Topshop dress / Haider Ackermann boots
I’m riding an empty train at dawn, watching the blue and misty world go by.
Scenes from the most beautiful train ride I’ve ever taken, watching dawn break from Toyama to Takayama.
It’s funny how suddenly you can find yourself accidentally reliving a dream. The sense of deja vu pushing at my consciousness brought this dream to the surface easily, and it made this silent and sleepy ride even better.
Of course you’ll have to trust me that the pictures don’t do it justice.
In my dream I’m hoarding pots of mosses and all kinds of plants aflame with autumn color.
Though I dislike crowds, I knew I had to risk it to see the fall colors in Kyoto. I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for my first autumn in Japan, and now that I’ve gotten a taste for it I’m hooked. You don’t have to smoke plants to get high off them, let me tell you. I could probably look at an infinite amount of beautiful fall-colored trees. I certainly understand, but don’t quite ascribe to, the intense obsession with cherry blossom season here, but the sight of one nice maple sends me into an excited frenzy. Combine fall leaves with a particularly cute patch of moss nearby, and I’m basically melting with happiness.
I probably always loved moss, but it was a 7th grade school trip to the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington that really cemented my obsession. With mosses, lichens, and liverworts everywhere you turned and a knowledgeable guide who was more than happy to teach me, I practically crawled my way through the forest learning about stairstep moss (Hylocomium splendens), sphagnum, liverworts, lettuce lichen (Lobaria oregana), and any other plant I could get the name of. Japan is, of course, a dream land for a bryophyte lover like me, with an abundance of colonies growing seemingly everywhere.
Even if you’re not specifically interested in mosses, I do recommend reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s poignant and informative book of personal essays about moss. Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses is one of those books that seemed to be written just for me, but anyone with an interest in nature, science, Native American history, or the environment will find this a quick but extremely satisfying read. And you may very well grow to love mosses as much as I do.
I’m framing my shot, which seems to be taking an eternity.
Fun fact: Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) vines wind counterclockwise, while Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) vines wind clockwise.
K comes into the house toting all kinds of cool stuff she picked up at some neighborhood garage sale.
I decide to go out and look, going around the back of the house to find the grassy trail that leads down the hill. Once I get there, though, the sale’s been totally picked over.
Recently it feels like my whole life revolves around shopping, and not in a good way. It turns out trying to build a new life in a new country while also acquiring as few things as possible is difficult! So I’m not surprised, if also not amused, by the wave of frustrated-shopping-experiences dreams these last few months. And if someone knows where I can find a really beautiful coffee table in Tokyo please let me know. Har.
I’m looking for a place to eat my piece of cake.
After setting off down the road, I eventually get a ride from Mr. Carson. Yes, the butler from Downton Abbey.
Finally I find the grounds of an abandoned house where I can eat in peace.