Gifu Ramblings

Gifu Ramblings
Simon and I picking Sweet Potato (さつまいも) in Gifu

My time in japan was an odd one. My go-to response when people ask me about it is “the biggest highs followed by the biggest lows.” Which sums it up and allows me to skip my story.

Which is interesting in itself. Because, how can I go above calling myself a ‘writer’ and give myself the title of ‘storyteller’, when I can’t even find the words to tell you the stories that matter. The stories that change us, open hearts and minds, impart wisdom, the stories that challenge and educate us.

Unfortunately, tonight is not the night I find those words, but instead I’ll tell the story that inspired me to write all this in the first place.

(I didn’t feel the story I’m about to tell should be the first thing I share of my time Japan. If you barely keep up with me anyway, that’s even better because you haven’t missed a beat)

I haven’t gotten better at writing; that’s evident from above. I can’t justify editing it either because then I’d just be lying to myself. This is how I sound, this is my voice when I write, and if I try to write in any other way, then I don’t end up writing anything at all. So if you want something more digestible. This ain’t it.

Instead you get a diary; an extension of my thoughts.

Okay, now here is the actual point of this whole spiel (fucking love that word. Say it again for me please, but put a lot of emphasis of the ‘Sphhh’ sound).

During my time in Japan, I became good friends with three guys. Simon, Keito, and Edison. We were as close as we could be through the cultural and language barriers. Simon, was French; Keito, Japanese; Edison was from Taiwan, and me, Australian.

Keito one day invited us to his house in the Gifu Prefecture. As an Australian, I would describe Gifu as ‘country’ but Gifu has a population of 1.9million, compared to Tassie’s 540,000. What makes me wig though is that Tasmania is about 6.4 times larger in land area than Gifu.

Anyway, Keito took us to his home and due to my inability to speak any conversational Japanese, I couldn’t speak to anyone in Gifu. Not even Keito’s family! Despite that, I had an amazing time and it was so kind for Keito to show us where he grew up. I always look back on the photos from Gifu (the cover of this post is of Simon and I picking Japanese Sweet Potato!).

Now the point of this story!!!

As we were leaving Gifu, we stopped at a Starbucks where this song was playing:

It was Blasting over the speakers and it’s wild to me that they have this song playing without understanding the language. Listen to it and you’ll find it has real emotional depth (especially at 3:00). I instantly added it to my playlist as it was slapping. Later on, I studied it a bit and realised I resonated with the themes of change, aging, and looking back at one’s younger self in Sharon’s lyrics.

I believe those workers, or at least; whoever was connected to the speaker, feels the emotion through the song without needing to understand the language. I think that’s what’s so beautiful about stories. It made me think about the reason I went to Japan in the first place, I came to study stories and the power that emotion has in driving a story. Storytelling, done right, can push past barriers and connect with anyone. No can can reject this truth. Or am I just trying to justify why I write so terribly. Still, no matter how terrible I may be, it bursts out of me. I’m just along for the ride like you.

Here are some songs from this Japanese woman I just love. I don’t understand any of them but wow do they make me feel something. I think that's all the justification you need to like a piece of art, as long as it makes you feel a certain type of way.

Thank you for reading. If you listen to the songs, let me know