It was warm. Beyond warm. The sky was clearing out, as if Hina from “Weathering with You” has just stretched her arm wishfully far into the blue above and beyond, with surrounding clouds gradually drifting away, revealing glimmering rays which warmth filled my core.

I remembered when I checked the day before, the forecast read cloudy. But who cares.

Sasuga desu…” they laughed, so impressed and surrendered. I couldn’t help but feel pleased, and let out a relieved sigh. The soft shore breeze tickles lightly wafting through my cardigan. There were sparkles of magic in the air, so light and soothing.

Sashimi bento was so delicious. The oysters were voluptuous and flavorful in its briny natural dashi of the Setonaikai. Nature’s intentions need no embellishment.

The Seto Inland Sea will always and forever, be my favorite ocean on this planet. I have these pieces of salt-seasoned memories, where I stand on a raised platform–a rock, a bridge, an observation deck. Unfolding before me is the vastness of the calmly flowing waters crowned by countless of faint islands sitting in collectedness like the monks in a zazen hall, so unfazed by the worldly happenings of what we call life.

I have seen the majesty of it from Shiudeyama. Shodoshima. Kankakei. Misen. Kojima. Naruto. Suo Oshima. Each so breathtaking in its quietude as if from a parallel world, but in actuality all are connected, like a piece of colossal cosmic puzzle. I took a deep breath as I try to grasp the grandeur of this universe of mine called Japan.

I love the Seto Inland Sea endlessly.

I have been living in Tokyo for 3 years now, coaxed by the megacity’s ubiquitous combini, speedy shinkansen and spotless toilet seats. I love my life here deeply, and never feel an aching lust for a so-called liberating ocean life like most city dwellers do.

But there’s something special about the Seto Inland Sea. There just is. The first time I saw just how impossibly dazzling it is was back in 2017 during my trip to Ehime. (The trip was also the reason why I picked up taiko drums. Well, that’s another story, I’ll save it for next time.) They don’t call it Japan’s sparkling inland sea for no reason. Upon witnessing it, your eyes glisten. Your heart gleams and your soul shimmers. The Seto Inland Sea is illuminating, in so many ways.

(Unsure where even Seto Inland Sea is? No worries, check my blog post for Japan beginners on the Setouchi Region.)

Shodoshima Island, Kagawa Prefecture

I walked on the sandbar which is yet submerged–what they call the “angel road”, which appears and disappears with the high and low tides–over to the ridge of queer rocks varnished in oyster shells, quiet, with only rhythmic swash of waves against them. Something inside of me swell up.

But what is this mysterious sensation so fleeting?

I remember always feeling restless and anxious about time that passed like the fickle clouds on a windy afternoon. I want to do so much more. See so much more. Achieve so much more. Love so much more… as if if I don’t clutch on to the ephemeral gossamer tighter I am going to disappear soon enough, gradually fading in opacity, like Hina the tenki no ko, vanishing into the winds altogether. It is a futile attempt anyway.

But this time I allowed what is. Instead of panicking about time running out, I told myself, remember these sensations. So that I can record it like a soundtrack, which I can then preciously safekeep and replay it in my mental secret room whenever I need it. So that I could recreate this metaverse in my own mind that is accessible through an inner dokodemo door, where I could instantly jump into and out of the rendered paradise of my choice. Delighted, I would just flip through countless of these taped sensations–each carefully wrapped in a mysterious jacket–wistfully pick out one that matches the mood, press play, and immerse.

Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture

The floaty feeling. The slight numbness of my fingers from the freezing air. The involuntary curve of the side of my lips. All the chemical reactions going on in my chest, little waves rivaling that of the tender cobalt blue splashes on the shore of Seto Inland Sea. My gaze softens, and then I closed my eyes.

Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture

Gently, it slowed down into a lull so still one would mistake a video recording to be a photograph. The peace in my heart is reflected in the calmness of the waters.

The theme is gentleness today. I allow these feelings to sink in gently, and gently allow myself to relish, to deepen. I look out gently, not forcing any emotion, any reaction, any words. I just liberally allow.

Suo Oshima Island, Yamaguchi Prefecture

The Seto Inland Sea I so adore is illuminating. There is so much uketamo in the unspoken of things. But the messages never attempt to get too intimate. Instead, they are so delicately distanced, like a well thought-out covid measure so annoying but probably for our own good. You never know the universe’s intention.

Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture

“Yokubarazu, suenagaku” 欲張らず 末長く

That was the message I received.  The everlasting exists when there’s no greed. 

Indeed. What is the rush in all these?

I allow myself to reply unreservedly in acceptance. All these glimpses of spirituality is like a knight in shining armor, so chivalrously whisking the damsel in distress away on his stallion into the unknown like Radwimp’s BGM of “Grand Escape” in Weathering with You, but not before disappearing altogether in the reverse cinderella manner.

It is hurtfully reassuring.

So much peculiar poignancy in the realization. How can hurt and reassurance co-exists? But when I thought about it, it does make perfect sense.

Hurt is temporary. Reassurance is eternal. The inner wisdom knows that. The clinging onto forms, is what hurts. Because there’s the knowing that one day none of that ultimately matters. That hurts. And that nothing ultimately matters so much that you can’t let go of. That hurts a bit more. But the fact that there’s the knowing is reassuring.

Mitoyo City, Kagawa Prefecture

The process of detachment itself, is therefore, hurtfully reassuring.

Let go. Like the pink petals that fall so gracefully on Mt Shiude, breathing their last breath before they rejoin earth again.



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