Summer and all that entails

I’ve walked the Kamogawa so many times now that every little change there catches my attention. There are regular birds that I spot in their normal places, and new families (ducklings!) that I realize are new with delight. I witness the building of the dining balconies every year as restaurants prepare for hot summer nights… and their removal when everyone wants to withdraw from the cold. There are pet owners that I look forward to spotting, some with animals that made me do a double-take the first time I saw them.

The other day, for the first time, I saw a snake in the river.

Are there snakes in Kyoto? Sure, plenty! But here in the city it’s not exactly a normal occurrence. Perhaps I was just hyperaware of snakes this past week or two what with the Great Escape of the Yokohama Python (which was found! Yay!)

Whatever the case, there it was, next to but not exactly in the water, under the shade of one of the bridges on a warm, sunny day.

There was a couple sitting nearby as I stopped to stare at this creature. I wondered if they’d noticed it; it was pretty far down into the river, in any case, so it was a safe distance from the foot traffic by the river. I pulled out my phone–I mean my camera–I mean my phone, and snapped a couple of shots before moving on.

My world has gotten small in the past 15 months, and I’ve learned to take note of all of the tiny things that I would otherwise have passed by without comment.

Two or three years ago, I was having a drink with a good friend and he said to me, “We’ve forgotten how to take pictures and remark on all the things we love about Japan. Like the silly costumes on pets, or the unique flavors of potato chips.” I’m dwelling on that thought now as I write this.

I’m looking forward to big-picture experiences again. We have the vaccine in Japan, and some people have even gotten it! And I should be getting a voucher in the mail sometime this month, myself, although I can’t say that I’ll get my actual jab(s) anytime soon. (Deep sigh.)

But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the small things as much as I can.

Here are some small things that are going on:

-Did you see Kyoto Cryptids has a blog? It’s very simple, but please go give it some love over here! We’re working on a late summer/autumn edition and we’re looking for submissions!

-Been reading a light novel and have made a lot of progress in a relatively short amount of time. My Japanese skill has definitely gone down in the past year or so, but it’s nice to “practice” by indulging in a fun story.

-Learning to cook new recipes and be braver about experimenting! I’ve been doing more fish dishes and more Korean dishes especially. If you have any good recipes for someone trying to branch out, please let me know!

That’s about it from the kotatsu today. (Hm. Going to have to remove the kotatsu duvet soon- I’ve removed the bottom layer/unplugged it, of course, but mornings are still a little cool so I have the duvet there.)

What are you up to? What small things have you zoomed in on? Any good books? Any projects? What big picture experiences are you planning and looking forward to? I’m all ears!

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