There are so many myths about being 25. Hope shatters, dreams faded, feelings forgotten. All those miserable things that could happen to a man. Last October, I celebrated my birthday alone, in the land of strangers. This is a birthday present I bought for myself after a quarter of a decade standing on earth. I went to Hokane that day, exploring the city alone.
Hakone is a small city in south of Tokyo, not too far from Mt. Fuji. The city is quiet and peaceful, a perfect place to enjoy the fresh air or relaxing in the hot springs. I haven’t quite experienced it myself but some other times maybe.
It is quite windy that day, and I intentionally left my sweater back at the hostel for reasons I don’t understand it either. As the chill air greeted me, I went straight to ride the bus. The destination was Lake Ashi, an astonishing lake with a pirate ship ride and its beautiful surrounding views. I chose the Hakone-machi pier as my departure point because it is the farthest pier, allowed me to enjoy the cruise much longer.
The other pier—Moto-Hakone pier offers another interesting view, there is torii (a red gate) that build below water.
Along the ride, there was a guide that point what mountain or building we’re going to pass, complete with its historical background and purposes.
The next station took me to a ropeway, my first experience floating through a looking glass in midair. I shared the cable car with some Japanese family, all were in their late of age. I guess Japan senior citizen like to travel, since it is finally their free time after working so hard on their productive age. Things that I haven’t quite sure for myself, what would I do when I hit their age? Having a small theater and a library? Produce a dream machine?
There is a pit stop for the ropeway ride in Owakudani, the valley of hell. There is a famous food served here, a black boiled egg that said can prolong your life for 7 years. The black rock valley breathes smoke from its pores.
It became more breathtaking when the ride continued, the mountain and its beautiful forest blinded me from the rest of the world. Autumn came late that time, though it was already mid-October, the tree hadn’t changed its color to a perfect orange and gold. Though some part had become yellowish, the color that still silenced me for minutes.
As I look my feet and seeing how high I float that day. I know I might be hitting a bottom someday, or I might be floating higher at some place. I know there is so little that I already accomplish and seeing other’s achievement make me kind of small. I don’t deny that sometimes, I threw chances and didn’t do anything about it. I know that this year got me so far away from what I wanted to accomplish. There are too many moments that I kept between myself and the wall in my room. The one that ended up in midnight silence, between the sound of the ticking clock and Chris Martin’s voice. I really wanted to stop the feeling of being left behind, I want to start doing what I can do along with what I have to do, to catch up with the rest of the world. I want to write stories. I want to spend the rest of my life falling in love. With the earth, the sky, the ocean, the stars in the constellation, You, also you, all things that dance like fire, and the rest of the world. I wanted to float longer, but the ride stopped there.
I stepped on the ground again. Realizing, all those things that float must not stay there. I need to take all those back to the ground and walking with me, in every breaths.
I continued my journey through a cable car tram from Sounzan to Gora, through a beautiful forest and sloping route. I chose a seat right behind the machinist, watching closely to all instruments that he stringed along the way. Wondering that he could be a machine that acts like human, as if emotion was left behind at the station, as if routine had made the mind dull. A reality, an everyday routine. Doesn’t it happen to all of us?
I took another train from Gora Station, Hakone Tozan Railways brought me back to Odawara. Along the way, I met a group of elementary school children going on tour. They came in pairs, holding hands with each other, ready with their backpack and water bottle. The teachers taught them to hold on to their ticket and sit calmly. Seeing all the glittering eyes around me just reminded how new things could amuse you. When does my last time being like that? Passionate little things, trying to conquer the world without any anxiety.
The trip to Hakone ended with a strong realization of what I want to do next year and maybe another year ahead.
Hey, being 25 doesn’t always take you to a quarter life crisis, like all those sappy things that all magazines wrote. It is just the same year every other time, only it gets brighter ;) Somewhere there is time you’ll discover that this is too beautiful, to just spend all those times feeling bad over something. If something doesn’t work, your beautiful scenario ruined, let’s configure another timeline. Why wasted all the things just to fit in, just to please people you don’t want to. You are too beautiful. Isn’t it finally a time to focus on you, to let yourself shine?
We grow up and we over think all things, we’re afraid of thing we don’t know of. We just desperate to have a safe place to relax, but sometimes, maybe all you have to do is open the window, go to your backyard, see the sunlight, roll, kiss the air, burn the firework, and just dancing, maybe in the rain.
Then it happened, I want to spend the rest of my life falling in love :)
(Taken from my travel journal on October 16th, 2012)