31
Mar

Forever One– Sakura and Me, a Never Ending Love Story

-by CJ Singh

     Tencolors invited me to write for them. Hmm… First thought I had in my mind was what to write about. I have been here in Japan for almost ten years. My long withstanding, love and hate relationship with Japan, the land of the rising sun, many questions come to my mind. Would it be about APU, our university?

     Would it be Beppu, where I started my life here ten years ago? Ah! Maybe Hanabi, since the season for Hanabi has almost begun. Colors, being the only thought in my head.

     Most of my time with Tyler was spent drinking Shochu and exploring the ancestry of Koreans. I call it, the Golden Days. We did both, (I guess!) finally agree, that Koreans, came from India, or was it? 

    Over the time spent here, I sometimes do think, if I hate Japan or love it. Then again, I'm longing every year to go back to India, my hometown, Delhi. Reaching there, I would just forget this island nation ever existed. Friends even ask me why I choose Japan. To be honest, till date, even I don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe I have figured out deep inside, it wasn’t a choice, but destiny. Meeting friends, relations. Finish all the pending paper work for everything I own there. First few days are just too busy even to think if I want to spend the rest of my life there.

     A few days down the line, when I am done and more relaxed, the voices in my head keep telling me “CJ you are done here, its time to go back home.” Home! This is my home, or is it? The confusion keeps me longing to fly back to Japan. No wonder, I call Japan, my second home, and Beppu, my hometown.

     Most of my friends might agree with me. Isn't it? A small town that is only known for its Onsens and isn't that big on the world map. What makes it so special? After all, this was the beginning of the love story. A never ending one to that! There is a saying in Japan, “If you visit Mount Fuji once, it will bring you back again.” Though I haven’t been to Fujisan more than once, I would admit, Beppu has time and again called me back. At least once a year, over the past ten. However, my story isn't about that hot spring town.

     I will put it this way, just finished my work, and was thinking about colors. Came out of the building and the first thing I see is Sakura. pale pink–in Otemachi, the IT business district of Tokyo, where the only thing you will ever notice are the skyscrapers. How come those Sakura trees stand in there? Lonely, waiting to be loved, and appreciated. People of all ages pass by. Some, hurrying back to work after meeting customers. Some, grabbing a quick coffee to get intoxicated all day, so they can perform more attentively at work. Some coming back from lunch. Walking past the beauty, and not even blinking an eye. Then there are others, who are taking a walk to the imperial palace, which is just a stone's throw away from Otemachi Station.  

     It's windy and chilly, though spring has started, and I'm not wearing much. My mind tells me to stop! Stop, thinking about the cold. Take notice. The cherry blossoms won't be there after two weeks. My body synchronizes with my mind. All the noises in my head have come to an abrupt halt. The only thing I have now is the glow in my eyes and the sound of Yngwie Malmsteen's “Forever One” playing on my iPhone. There might have been few taxis, at least 200 people around me, but so as it seemed, for me, the world around me, had ceased to exist. The only two living things that existed on this planet at that particular moment in time were me and those sakura trees. Work is not on my mind anymore. Neither is going back home. I might freeze to death in the chill of the day, but so what. Nothing else made sense anymore. Was I in love again! Was I dreaming? 

     Suddenly as if the surroundings around me have changed again, in a flash I feel cold once again. The chill is killing me. It’s noisy all around. Everything is back as it always has been. I see a young woman, probably in her early twenties, holding her camera to take her face photo, with Sakura backdrop. I asked her politely. "May I offer my help." She looked at me and smiled, and handed over her iPhone to me. After a few shots, she offered to take my picture, and I gladly accepted. Few minutes of talk. “Isn't it beautiful,” she said. My head nods in affirmation “Yes it sure is.” And then we bow down to each other, thanking, and both of us are on our way to continue with the daily hustle and bustle of the city life. 

     I quickly grab my phone and started writing my thoughts down. Walking back to station, I didn’t even notice anything unusual about what I just experienced. The memories of those few minutes have a deep imprint on my mind now. A moment in life which would always bring a smile to me, whenever I think of it. A feeling as if the time had stopped. Even if the duration was small. Not much words spoken, not much thought of–just me and those cherry blossoms.

    What is it about cherry blossoms, which last not more than three weeks yet are make them so.. imprinting? After all, isn't rose the flower we gift to our loved ones. Standing in the middle of those towers, freezing cold, and no one stopping by, to appreciate their beauty. 

     Next time, I'm giving cherry blossoms to my love. For me, they represent longing for love. Love for my home, love for my woman, love for my country. The one which would not show up until a year later, and I will miss it always. A never-ending love story where, lovers part, and make up again, to part again, until one day, one of them leaves, forever.

     But of course, in this case, I already know, it would finally be me–the one, who will eventually have to leave. Sakura will be back again, next year, next to next year, and year after year, forever. Standing in the middle of that busy street, waiting to be loved again, waiting to be appreciated again. The cycle of life and death continues.

      As Morrison, well puts it. “You live, you die, and death not ends it.”

      Hope they have them up there in the skies as well.

Finally, its time for dinner. Malmsteem, still playing on my headphones on repeat mode! Trying my best, to relive those moments. A lot of questions still in my head. The joy of falling in love, the pain of separation, to be back tomorrow, to meet my love once again, until the day she leaves. Until the final day of my life. Sakura and me, forever one!

Charanjot (CJ) Singh is a member of Ten Colors Japan +Alpha.  He is also an Indian born IT specialist and webmaster/founder of HereIsJapan.net. CJ grew up in Delhi and has been living and working in Japan for more than 10 years. He has an MBA from Ritsumeikan APU.  Follow CJ's efforts to provide information on the sites and sounds of Japan at http://www.hereisjapan.net.

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