We Almost Cancelled a Holiday but are Glad We Didn't

A week before we went away, I almost cancelled our holiday. Thinking about Palestine, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Belarus, Somalia, Georgia, "oh-my-gosh-who-else-am-I-forgetting?" I could not in good conscience have a holiday in the woods by the sea, just because we live in a safe, beautiful place.

But then I thought about the three weeks we spent preparing for the trip. And the six months we counted down the days since we booked the trip. And how life has become rougher in those six months: my mom's deterioration and how my sister shoulders all contacts with the care facility and most decisions; our destroy-everything government targeting, among many, many other things, the Treaty of Waitangi, for goodness sake; the environment, which should be everybody's top priority but appears on everybody's back burner... I conceded we need a time out, away from the Internet, to regain a sense of... I'm not sure what I expected. 

Here's a weird thing: the last time we went to Golden Bay, I couldn't stop contrasting the lifestyle of Kiwis and Japanese, (I'm oversimplifying both, but bear with me,) the space and privacy we can now enjoy vs. the constant crowd and noise, even when we are away in the mountains, for example. For some reason, I kept seeing flashbacks of the gazillion hours of train commute I suffered, (45 minutes until age 13, 90 minutes until I went to the US, between 100 and 130 minutes to work, each way; Dad did 130 min for 40 odd years;) strangers' bodies pressed against each other for hours in shaking, vibrating carriages, where at times you couldn't even scratch your itchy nose. Gross, eh. Ben used a line famous for passengers cracking ribs in the overcrowding. I felt sad that we, urban Japanese, had/have to live like that, and that most of my friends and family will never experience the kind of serenity we now get to enjoy. 
The weeks leading up to our holiday this time around, I replayed walking from one end of Yokohama Station to the other, because my two lines had platforms at the opposite ends. When I was a kid, it was a job just to keep up with everybody's pace; even as an adult, I tried not to stop, trip or push. Yokohama Station is the fifth busiest station in Japan according to one website; about 2.1 million passengers go through it daily. Back then, the station had only one concourse connecting the East and West exists, and it was famous for crowding. Nothing "bad" happened; no crimes, no accidents, no concert-like injuries; it was just a way of life, not even unique to Yokohama Station. With a few new concourses, it's still pretty much the same.

I don't know why my brain kept replaying this 24/7; in the days I lived there, it annoyed me, but not to this degree; it was just inescapable. We were so right to move here when we could. And I'm glad we went on this holiday; we've never experienced decompression like this, and we hadn't realized how much we needed it. 
Take care, everybody. I hope you do what you need to keep sane, too, if/when you can, if you need it.

1 comment:

Meg said...

I slowed down on Ukraine news after Feb 2023 because the helplessness was becoming too much. I've read but not watched/looked at Palestine news because the words alone are so horrible. So if I've reached some kind of a threshold of bad news, I'm surprised it came now, not necessarily before.

Remember Bucha? Mariupol? Remember all the basements, subways and train stations?