Venice Beach

W

hile I was in LA, I thought I’d take the family to somewhere they had never been. I know we went to LA for a funeral, but I needed to get out of the house and away from the reason why I was in town.

Anyway, I had previously taken M to Santa Monica, so this time we went to Venice Beach. We did the typical tourist things like buy t-shirts and stuff. We walked around to see some studs lifting weights and some locals playing basketball on the courts next to the beach. We also stood by the shore looking out to the west. I jokingly told my step-sons that if they squinted and stared real hard they’d be able to see Mount Fuji on the horizon. Of course, they didn’t believe me for a second. One said that they’d see Hawaii before they’d see Japan. I hate smart alecks…

But I sorta feel Japan over the Pacific. I gaze out over the ocean and sense my daughter on that distant island beyond the horizon. Perhaps not so strangely anymore, I recalled a verse by my father.

古里の思慕に触れてる浜の波

furusato no
shibo ni fureteru

hama no nami

Touching my yearnings
for my old homeland:
waves on the beach

The poem evokes a sense of nostalgia. Japan, that island nation, is beyond the sea, and as the waves touch the poet’s feet, it compels him to yearn for his homeland that is seemingly on the other side of this wave. I can sense my father’s sense of lonliness, of living in a land so far away from home.. Indeed, I remember my first extended stay in Japan. I would often go to a department store in Shinjuku and look through the albums in the music section. As I allowed my fingers to trip through the names of the groups and titles of songs I had listened to in the US, I was often overcome by a sense of nostalgia for home. It wasn’t necessarily sad, but it was melancholy… well, as melancholy as an 18-year old could get back then.

Songs titles arranged

in an unfamiliar script

distances me from home.

Venice Beach

W

hile I was in LA, I thought I’d take the family to somewhere they had never been. I know we went to LA for a funeral, but I needed to get out of the house and away from the reason why I was in town.

Anyway, I had previously taken M to Santa Monica, so this time we went to Venice Beach. We did the typical tourist things like buy t-shirts and stuff. We walked around to see some studs lifting weights and some locals playing basketball on the courts next to the beach. We also stood by the shore looking out to the west. I jokingly told my step-sons that if they squinted and stared real hard they’d be able to see Mount Fuji on the horizon. Of course, they didn’t believe me for a second. One said that they’d see Hawaii before they’d see Japan. I hate smart alecks…

But I sorta feel Japan over the Pacific. I gaze out over the ocean and sense my daughter on that distant island beyond the horizon. Perhaps not so strangely anymore, I recalled a verse by my father.

古里の思慕に触れてる浜の波

furusato no
shibo ni fureteru

hama no nami

Touching my yearnings
for my old homeland:
waves on the beach

The poem evokes a sense of nostalgia. Japan, that island nation, is beyond the sea, and as the waves touch the poet’s feet, it compels him to yearn for his homeland that is seemingly on the other side of this wave. I can sense my father’s sense of lonliness, of living in a land so far away from home.. Indeed, I remember my first extended stay in Japan. I would often go to a department store in Shinjuku and look through the albums in the music section. As I allowed my fingers to trip through the names of the groups and titles of songs I had listened to in the US, I was often overcome by a sense of nostalgia for home. It wasn’t necessarily sad, but it was melancholy… well, as melancholy as an 18-year old could get back then.

Songs titles arranged

in an unfamiliar script

distances me from home.