Sunday, October 23, 2005


This weekend I went to Chiiori, which is a 300-year-old thatched-roof farmhouse in Iya valley, bought and named by Alex Kerr, an American who is famous for writing the book "Lost Japan." (See Now the house is visited by tourists and kept up by volunteers, including wwoofers, or willing workers of organic farming. This valley, according to Lonely Planet, has been dubbed "the Tibet of Japan" because it is so isolated and mountainous.
So when we first got there, I was shocked with how beautiful it was, and was surprised to find waiting for us inside a handful of incredibly hip youngsters, including Annie, the head coordinator, with whom I immediately fell into love, her eyes as the key portal into that space, and I met Gailand, who, incredibly, is from overland park kansas, 103rd and nall, went to south, ku, and knows some of my friends. He is in the orange hat. I also met Megumi, in the purple shall, who spends most of her time working in Nepal and India, and Chunya, in the hat, who djed the event, sang, and drummed with me. I fell in love with them both immediately.
I also met Hans from Germany, and many other amazing people.

The floors and walls and rafters are burnished black wood. The whole house is remarkably spacious, with one large room for sleeping, one smaller room for sitting and eating, and a rather spacious kitchen. There are two sunken fire pits, the one you see us sitting around was really the center of all the party; that is where we ate, kept warm, talked…we grilled some tofu for dinner, as you can see. The thatched roof has ferns and moss growing all over it, making it look somewhat like a beautiful hill. And the smoke form the indoor fires help preserve the roof by killing any insects.
after dinner, we all went to the hot-springs which had stone pools outside, on the side of the mountian, and they were co-ed.
Here is what I wrote in my journal…
Moment I wake, an angel glides to my futon-side, whispers “breakfast and coffee is ready.” I step outside, look out at the distant mountains, cloud fairies dance ballet across the mountaintops and valley tops, clear raindrops drip rhythms off the thatched roof, pearl gray morning sunlight streams across the black floors,
I take pictures of chestnuts and a persimmon, eggs, bamboo and old boots,
The sun comes out, but it's still cold, the air from our mouths and the steam from coffee cups move and dance like the steam off the mountain tops, like the tops talk to the tops of out tiny coffee pots, I bow low to receive the cool breath of winter winds,
Tap tap tap, the rain drops, the soft murmur of the river unseen rolls below the crack crack crack of the fire pops, and the rain drops falling off the thatched roof, glistening ferns, some birds, some footsteps, some fresh baked bread, and behind it all, some reggae and rock steady swimming in the smoky air,
With the heavy light hanging and holding the shadows so well.

i still smell smoke, and see the angels.

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