It snowed in Tokyo last week- a rare occurrence in this city of 17 million now. The usual frantic rush each morning was dimmed by the reality that the roads today are slippery and every step potentially treacherous. The usual grumpy faces were now grumpy with fear and their own fragility, carefully stepping forward each step, slowed, cowed by a force they cannot control. People could not ride their bicycles; instead, leading them forwards carefully, gingerly,  missing the usual grip on reality that allows them for brief moments to feel some element of control as they rush to work, darting this way and that, regardless of those around them.

People turn inwards, forced into contemplative movements. Space pervades, each in a private struggle with balance- ah, if it were only so easy!

I have only ever seen Tokyo like this once before; last year, when the earthquake/tsunami hit, and the Tokyo train lines ground to a halt, forcing everyone to walk miles in pitch darkness. Today, the sun shines brightly, the snow storm over, leaving a brisk frosty freshness that forces everyone inwards, ever inwards….

If only every day awareness was like this… AP photo.


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