Crimson Remnants

A picture in 100 words:

Taken on 25 November 2011 somewhere that is quite impressive in autumn in Kyoto, Japan

Crumbling remnants of crimson autumn drifted damp and dispersed with moss on the creek’s bank. The passing season’s lingering wholeness was evident only by reflection; a maple stretched its limbs down deep into clearing skies.

‘If they keep piling up, they could block the flow,’ Jude noted, indicating where inlet streamed into river. Fallen leaves were abundant there, but even should every leaf above drop, the current would not be dammed.  I said so, distantly. Though the world was tranquil and seemed still, I was struck by how very old I felt.  Time just kept passing.

And winter was coming.

(Forgive me; couldn’t help it :))

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Kyoto Summers and Informative Alarm Clocks

Fail prediction in previous blog – actually got to be 40 (Celsius … again) degrees yesterday where I was. Good thing we were inside in air-conditioning through the worst of it. Keeping in mind it was still around 36, 37 degrees at quarter to five in the evening. Not the most pleasant thing in the world, but as the air was dry, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Usually, where I am, heat means humidity. Yesterday, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Not sure I could handle that much heat with added intense water thick in the lungs.

Generally, I prefer humidity over dryness. That’s not only because it’s awful trying to sing in dry air. Drove about two hours inland once for a choir concert, and my throat pretty much exploded by the end of it. Think I was making funny, unintelligible rasping noises in the final number. But no, humidity is not only preferable because it’s more soothing on the singing tools. It’s because that’s what I know (and I don’t like feeling as moisture is entirely sucked out of my lips, and as they start to chap, as I feel right now … licking at them is not helping).

I think that’s why Kyoto summers never worried me so much as they might have troubled a few English teachers from Britain and North America. It got quite hot – maybe not quite as hot as Queensland – but the humidity was at the I’m-somehow-breathing-a-lake-and-swimming-through-the-air level. Not usually quite that humid here. My lovely, very informative alarm clock tells me so.

Right now, a few days into summer, this lovely clock I bought for a little over 1000 yen from Konan – the equivalent of Big W or Kmart in Australia (maybe Walmart in the US?) – says humidity’s currently at 21 per-cent. Usually it’s fairly higher than that, but as I said, having a bit of a dry spell right now. During Kyoto summers, I don’t recall ever seeing it below 70 per-cent, and I’m sure it hit 100 numerous times.

I’ve talked about weather and temperature, but can only think of once when I’ve included the amount of water in the air in a story – my Kien novel, the one that’s done and currently being rejected left, right, and centre. Such fun. Currently attempting to divide it into volumes, but I’ve already sent it most of the agents I’ve researched in full form. I’m not sure they’d look at the first quarter of the same story again. Anyway, humidity: in the third chapter of the first volume – originally the first chapter, though was the second chapter for the longest time – it is a particularly hot spring day in the middle of Brisbane’s October, and it’s mentioned on the radio that humidity is already at 100% in the early morning and not looking to drop.

That’s something to consider, I suppose, in building the aura of a world. For trying to capture the feeling of far-off locations and bring them to life, particularly for fantasy worlds, which can only be brought to life in words, not in photographs as Cairo streets or Malaysian rainforests may be, unless said words are recreated in film or pictures. On reflection, I think I did mention the humidity in my tribal village and the surrounding grasslands – events occur there during the rainy season. Rarely is there ever rainfall less than a steady drizzle, and it’s always stiflingly warm. This gets to Kien a little, as he comes from a very cool, quite dry home – the humidity in his city, I imagine, is carefully controlled, kept at a pleasant, comfortable level.

Perhaps I should mention that, briefly, when he’s battling with his uncomfortable new surrounds. Split into four volumes, I can afford a few extra words on humidity to better sculpt these worlds.

One New Exchange

Back in Australia now and kind of tired, so this probably won’t be overly lengthy.  Spent most of today flying, napping and taking Pan notes in Cairns Airport, then settling back into home.  Spent most of yesterday (Monday) wandering around, and sitting and reading in Aeon Mall near Kyoto Station.  A while was spent staring at Ruroni Kenshin movie posters in the cinema.  Perhaps I should have done more, but I’m rather an anxious traveller, and wasn’t feeling well at all with the thought that I’d soon be boarding a plane.  And I’d already gotten a great deal of sun before the weekend, and on Sunday – I went to the shrine at Inari, one I hadn’t been to before.  May blog about that separately at one point; was very interesting but grew strangely creepier as I grew more sweaty and out of breath walking up the mountain – this shrine shall henceforth be known as the Land of a Million Red Tori Gates.

So yes, wanted to stay quiet in the aircon.  More, I found some stuff I’d rather not talk about in my lunch yesterday … that didn’t improve my general health.

Nearer to the time the taxi would be taking me to the airport, I began to wander back towards the hotel, but sat at a point just across from the station in a shaded area on a low stone wall to read a little more.  I had passed that point many times walking to various locations, but had never stopped there before.

And there, after lowering my book and mindlessly contemplating my surroundings for a few moments – the very wide city street going past the station and the rumbling of trains into motion and stillness within, the sound of bleeping acquiescence and pedestrian crossings thick with … pedestrians … and  splashes of green gardens planted within the barriers of the low stone walls – I realised there was something I had to add to my novel.  Something important, something so obvious I wanted to smack myself over the head then and there that it hadn’t been included from the beginning.

Just a short exchange to add to the end of a far lengthier conversation.  It would make sense, I think, that a truly spiritual and kind woman would say “I’ll pray for you” to a sick boy before they part ways.  Whoever he is.  Even a sick boy whose people are known to worship no Gods.  Considering him and his situation, I’m guessing there will be a short pause before he manages to thank her, nothing else he can really say.  He’s hardly about to start a religious debate, and that anyone’s thoughts are with him – whether he believes or not – I know would come as a welcome comfort to him at that point.

Well, may leave it there.  Just wanted to share.  Despite feeling like a true idiot for that obvious bit of dialogue not already being written, realising that it had to be, pretty much hearing her say it as I sat there, was a good moment.  Perhaps I needed a nudge, and the revelation had something to do with the shady, soon-to-be-left location.  Or the timing, the new direction I was/am about to take.  Whichever or neither, it doesn’t really matter.  Shall be adding that to the manuscript very soon.