The osmanthus has bloomed twice. A darker orange. Softly perfumed; lovely. But this also gives me an eerie feeling, as though I am in some form of alternative reality: that even if the scent is mellowly resplendent, the rules have changed. All over the neighbourhood the flowers are in peak form, following the semi-typhoon we had last Friday that segued into the most beautiful Indian summer ; all of the finest specimens are now doing their finest apricot duty. This photo was taken a couple of minutes ago, just outside my house.
I have many posts in mind; have been in excellent spirits, and thoroughly enjoying life. Totally alive. Everything would be fine right now except for the disturbing fact that I heard on Sunday that my dad has come down with Covid-19 (double Pfizered, but back in January or February); a breakthrough infection caught at a family gathering that has become the expected flu-like symptoms. He is doing ok, but was already under the weather beforehand and not very well – so it has all come as a bit of a shock. I am worried, and will get back to writing on here about fragrance etc when all is well again.
It is clear, obviously, that the vaccines do work in keeping most people from having severe symptoms: a wondrous success on the part of the scientists. Covid is hardly rare: everyone by now knows someone, a few people, or possibly a large number of people who have been infected with the coronavirus, with varying severities of symptom ; I know that many of my cousins back home have come down with it and come through it; my parents’ friend who lives nearby has gone through the dreaded heavy fatigue and loss of taste and smell but is gradually getting it back.
Still, with all the Halloween festivities soon to be upon us, this knowledge has strongly reinforced my feeling that although things are much better generally, it is not safe enough to go crazy (Japan has been in a real cultural Halloween fever these last few years : it has caught on like wildfire; I experienced it once, in Roppongi, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I arrived at the station and saw oceans of zombies and witches and every other conceivable costume partying all night with the police and loudspeakers telling people to go home (almost riot-like behaviour in Shibuya, also, with cars being turned over etc, to the point that it was banned for a couple of years or at least suppressed with a strong law enforcement presence: last year, with the pandemic, it was off limits); but it was fun; wild, and after all the self restraint and lack of freedom over these last eighteen months it is easy to imagine people really going for it again and throwing caution to the wind, now that the state of emergency has officially been lifted here nationwide (we have been invited up to a costume party in the park at Yoyogi but I have told Duncan no; we are not going to Tokyo for the foreseeable future, and are still going to keep being careful). This latest news, bringing it all shockingly home, is a warning to me that we are not out of the woods, and that caution is key.
As they say in Japan, dad – get well soon –