My personal space, the thickness of a cotton shirt and a suit jacket, compressed by a mass of humanity on a commuter rapid; my air recycled from a hundred pairs of lungs in my crammed carriage, not the mile or two of empty roads and wooded slopes surrounding me now.
On any other Friday, early morning mists would not clear to reveal mountain peaks and the green beginnings of Spring in the company lobby, nor the scatter of bluebells by my desk. And the dank indolent city canal threading it’s way through the office district would be no match for the the foaming violent river I rode past now, waters icy cold with the winter melt.
On any other Friday, I might walk a few flights of stairs for a view across the Yamanote line; there would not be two prodigious mountain passes to climb, and no reward of the expansive Kofu basin laid out before me, almost a mile below. I would not be stopped dead in my tracks by a deer searching for berries in the corridor, and the rustle of papers in my drawer would hardly likely throw up a snake, slithering quickly out the way. And no “Beware of the Bears” signs to alert me to aggressive animals… but make no mistake, these you must watch out for every single day of the week.
Things would be comfortable on any other Friday; controlled interior temperature, clean bathrooms free of flying spiders, and a chair that doesn’t corner at 50kph and hit 70kph on downhills. No remnants of snow in the shade, no single digit temperatures while Tokyo reached T-shirt & shorts conditions. And my arms wouldn’t ache and my legs wouldn’t scream and my heart wouldn’t thump a hole through my chest.
Any other Friday. You can keep it.