The streets are lined with snow piled higher than a 7-year-old’s vantage point as the lodgers rustle through another half-nights sleep in the guesthouse’s second floor rooms – one a mixed dorm, one female only. Someone drops a cell phone from the top bunk, the sound mimicking that of a crack of thunder amidst a calm evening’s sky. Thoughts of the holiday flood the enthusiastically exhausted tourists heads while they toss and turn through the night: ridiculously-sized snow sculptures, all-you-can-eat-crab and lamb, fast-food hotcakes, made-to-order drip coffee, futuristic chairlift rides, brewery visits, hand-holding.
I check my iPod. 3:03AM. Still have not slept. Maybe Mumford and Sons can lull me off to dreamland, a place elusive to me in said setting. They cannot, but it was worth a shot – the celtic/folk simplicity of their verse-chorus-verse progressions remain in tune with the thoughts in my head. I give up trying to sleep in this unfamiliar space and saunter down the stairs where a handful of early-rising fellow travelers are sorting out their morning routine:
Subway A → Rapid Express B → Local Bus C → Five Minute Walk D
A young gentleman with half-moon shaped glasses snoozes lightly in the rocking chair as his travel companion speaks surprisingly fluent Japanese to the kindhearted host. I am inspired to keep studying.
Another morning at TIME PEACE APARTMENT.
After a further failed attempt at catching a few winks on the voguish common-room sofa, I head for he door, where I lace up my well-worn green tennis shoes with plans to do nothing other than put one foot in front of the other and see where the morning stroll takes me. I opt to take a left rather than a right at the end of the guesthouse’s alley, which spills in to a moderately busy – mostly taxis — Sapporo side road. Left just seems to make more sense at this time, probably because we came from the right, and the exploration of new territory is what got us all where we are today. What if everyone just went back to where they started? Off topic, sorry.
My findings are of what most might consider mundane, run-of-the-mill, usual, non-confrontational, unworthy of photos. And when I tell you what I found, you will probably agree, but it quite simply does not matter what I discovered that early February morning on Japan’s most northerly island: it is what I felt. Some may say a feeling is a discovery in and of itself, an indescribable knock on the sixth sense that we all have lingering in the back of our heads: it’s in there somewhere, I do believe.
As I walk near whatever river it is that happens to split the city of Sapporo, I can not help but to close my eyes, taking in the sounds of some overly dramatic Icelandic art rock. I thank God for all the beauty in my life. I press the pause button on my music player, so I can hear the sounds as nature – and the city – intended. The intense amount of snow coupled with the direct rays of sunlight create an overpowering charm amidst the well-lived-in apartments and office buildings hatched from a young architect’s creative core circa 1972.
A digital revolving sign tells me it is 9:07 in the A.M. and a perfectly calm minus 2 degrees Celsius. The thought crosses my mind that I should probably get back to TIME PEACE APARTMENT to see what plans lay ahead for the day. After a welcomingly familiar cell phone conversation and the site of your unmistakable smile, I am back in the warmth of the guesthouse where plans are being created, cancelled, and resituated.
I have everything I could ever ask for.
Photos set to music tell the rest:
Main Photo Credit: Tiffany Yoshida
Video Photo Credit: Various People
Music: Bi-Pet by Lali Puna — from their Scary World Theory record.