Canada trip 2012
I felt really ambivalent about this trip right up until the moment it started. I knew that my two weeks in Canadawould be largely a ‘working’ holiday, with appointments and goals filling every day. This year was our twentieth wedding anniversary year and so my wife accompanied me to Canada for her first visit in eleven years. Why such a long time? Work and money. This year I had three doctors’ appointments, one medical lab visit; two nurse’s visits, and I had to buy a new suit and a new computer. I went sightseeing at Niagara Falls and the village of Niagara on the Lake, and sailing on Georgian Bay. I had to visit my bank and talk about money and interest rates with a manager there. I visited not just with family but with a dozen others who have not seen my wife, Junko, since our wedding, plus a few old high school mates for whom I felt a nostalgic loneliness having recently turned 50. I had shopping lists for used bookstores, the pharmacy, the supermarket and clothes: clothes for me and for my son. It’s ridiculous trying to buy clothes in Japanwhere their idea of adult men’s sizes are my idea of a junior high school boy’s size. I’m not a giant. I’m the smallest one in the Piper family and totally average. Average for a Caucasian, that is.
I had so many papers thrown at me - papers from the doctor, from the nurse, from the bank, from the condominium owners’ association - combined with Byzantine instructions about garbage separation that I accidentally threw away an important medical prescription which, by itself, was one of my primary holiday tasks. I hated when that happened. Came half way a round the world for that piece of paper and in a moment of carelessness and distraction I threw it away.
I accomplished everything I wanted. It annoys me how much pressure there is from others not to accomplish things. I have long said that in order to accomplish something you actually have to do it. Nothing gets done by itself. But it’s amazing how many in Canada counsel against accomplishment. Is it cultural laziness?
It rained every day during the entire first week. And it was cold, too. People reported that July was impossibly hot. That’s what they said, anyway. Just as happened in 2011 I arrived at the end of an awful heat wave. During my second week it stopped raining and the temperature rose very dramatically. However, when I returned to Tokyoat 8:00 p.m. on Friday, August 24 the air temperature was 32° C, warmer than Guelph was at mid-day on the day I departed.
Returning to Tokyo, to my apartment, my kitchen and bathroom, my bicycle and the convenience store I frequent felt weird. Three dimensionally weird: negotiating the different environment was a bit disorienting until I adjusted to it.
When visiting my Mom’s house I like to go to the local park and river to feed the ducks. Then I count and list the wildlife I see there and a round the neighborhood:
goldfinches ducks crows geese robins herons
squirrels hawks chipmunks snapping turtle rabbits pond turtle
grasshopper cardinals river otter groundhog
As I expected, when I got home to Tokyo I had to wash a sink full of dirty dishes, bag and remove to the street two large, full bags of garbage, take five shopping bags full of empty plastic bottles to the local convenience store for recycling, and not only wash my own laundry but my wife’s as well. She arrived home a week before me and she washed her laundry. But then she just left it lying around on the floor. So when I got home I scooped it up, re-washed it and promptly put it away. That’s the kind of clean, organized guy I am.