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It was easier flying backwards in time - because the UK is a familiar place, and much as I loathe its weather at least it's a climate I understand. The UK has set things for me to do, places to go, people to see - a life and a niche, and some semblance of structure which I'm starting to find comforting.

And it has a time I am used to. Maths is my weak point and so is schedules and punctuality (time just flows away from me, like water escaping your cupped hands despite your best intentions) so I never really got used to Australian time. SUre, my body began to operate within its broad definitions but I never quite shook off the impression that all this time I was in a twilight zone of sorts, inhabiting a parallel universe. Where things happened before they happened in the world I was used to. Where people slept while I was awake (though this is by no means an unusual thing in itself).

I was also unable to forget how far I was from everywhere else, like floating in a pocket of space across the veil from the known world. A storybook place of undefined boundaries and unrecognizable stars. Cardak ni na nebu ni na zemlji. A castle in neither earth nor sky.

I went to bed early, 9pm UK time, under the impression that it was something like 4 in the morning in Japan and I ought to sleep and woke up, disgruntled to realise that it was 4 am UK time, and spent the next four hours very happily curled up reading books and snacking on some herring that had been left over in the fridge from before we went away (I've noticed a bit of a Russian Roulette attitude to food I have occasionally) trying to decide whether its strange taste was the sign of something toxic or just the vineagar it was pickled in and whether I'd get a particularly interesting case of food poisoning.

I am happy to report that I appear to be hale and intact, and that Kate Atkinson's new book, Case Histories is a thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read. Although I am also unsettled and vaguely distressed by how awake I feel, how energised and ready to do things (like clean, and go grocery shopping *shudder* *shudder* *shudder*) and it's not even 9 am yet. This state of affairs seems completely unnatural, and possibly immoral and plain wrong.

All sorts of things happened while I was away. To mention but a few, Birthdays were had by feath, twistedserious and my mother (who is thank the gods, not on LJ) and I hope happy days were had by all. Also mooism wrote an impressively long entry, and verlaine very excitingly witnessed a brawl and recounted this in a highly comic manner, causing me to laugh outloud when I read it and sedate Japanese people to look at me strangely.

Settling back in hasn't been too bad, and I think I'm much less jet-lagged than Lynne who is touchingly still running on Japanese and Australian time. Whereas, I having the advantage of feeling lost in any time zone have adjusted extremely well.

The flight was hellish though, long long long and now made much more bearable by the extra legroom we managed to plead for. Perhaps it was watching Taking Lives for the fifth time, or Troy that caused me to crack sent me into the state of mild wild-eyed delirium and convinced me that JAL economy class was really just a form of subtle, legal torture dreamed up by the Japanese to make up for no longer being able to stick bamboo slivers under peoples fingernails.

And gratifyingly, in the special hell in which you've watched the same in-flight entertainment on three different long-haul flights, I did manage to catch an excellent film I'd never seen before. Sazen: The Jar Worth One Million Ryo , about a ronin Samurai and improbable events which befall him, and it is very very very good. saucebook I think you would really like it.

About halfway through the flight my joints went into full-scale arthritis attack mode and set up a physical agony to match the one of my entrapped mind, and not even paracetamol washed down with wine would calm them. Everything hurt. Even joints which had previously co-operated with me quite peacefully had now decided to do themselves in, and my body trapped me in a cage even more constrictive than the tiny JAL seat. And by the time we had landed the pain had no eased although it had thoughtfully migrated to the right side of my body, throbbing in every joint from ankle to shoulder and co-alescing in the knee and hip causing me to lurch through the airport in the alluring manner of a stroke victim.

Yet, despite all these setbacks Lynne and I were united with all of our baggage (which reached us unharmed and un-lost) and managed to lug it, and myself and a didgeridoo nearly as tall as I am home in excellent time (all miracles I am grateful for).

Talking to friends on the phone last night, informed the ones who knew I was away that I was back and the ones who I'd forgotten to tell I was leaving that I hadn't died or been abducted, we ended up discussing the magic of time and a friend told me a rather magnificent thing.
How flying back from India she had flown into repeated sunsets, moving backwards in time, seeing the sun set repeatedly on a golden horizon.

It seemed a wonderful image. As though for an instant our vast world was transformed into something else entirely, like the planet from which The Little Prince came from in which he could watch the sun setting repeatedly simply by moving his chair forward.

Time, when it doesn't baffle me, beckons me. Like a veil of water you can almost reach through, almost touch. As though seen from a different perspective it might be a puzzle solved in which fractured pasts can be restored, wars undone and parents resurrected. In which borrowed time might be outrun and made to last, like a sunset stretching to infinity along the edge of earth and sky.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
birdie1986
Sep. 25th, 2004 02:00 am (UTC)
sounds like you're settling back in well, i'd love to see a continula sunset on a flight it must be magical. hope the digeridoo practice goes well - i want to hear you play it at some point i hope you know!!!!

*k*
rainsinger
Sep. 25th, 2004 02:47 am (UTC)
Well *play* might be a very generous term for the union of didge and I, but it certainly produces noise.
I can however confidently give you tips on poi tricks though. ;)
mooism
Sep. 25th, 2004 02:33 am (UTC)
Time is a fascinating magical thing.

You’ll be needing coffee this afternoon, then?
rainsinger
Sep. 25th, 2004 02:45 am (UTC)
Not this week I'm afraid :( as need rest and anti-inflammatories more.
mooism
Sep. 25th, 2004 03:52 am (UTC)
Aw, drat. Didn’t realise your joints were still hurting.

Hope to see you soon.
dubaiyan
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)
verlaine's brawl
Hee! When I read "I mentally resolved to withhold my tip" I literally LOL and scared my supervisor :(
dubaiyan
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:01 am (UTC)
repeated sunsets
*loves the image*

But what is this Little Prince you mention?
rainsinger
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:19 am (UTC)
What is Essential is invisible to the Eye
The Little Prince is a book by Antoine St. Exupery, posing as a children's story but really quite profound and well-observed.

It is one of my favourite books in the known Universe and I adore it so much I own no less than three copies, one of which I would only be too happy to send to you if you'd like one. :)
dubaiyan
Sep. 25th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
oo yes please!!
I heed your recs :D

*Gmails you*
saucebook
Sep. 28th, 2004 11:23 am (UTC)
you're right, that film sounds well up my street. only disappointing japanese film of recent months was Battle Royale II, which wasn't a patch on the original by Takeshi Kitano. The goodies with a japanese cast or inclination have included Zatoichi, Lost In Translation and Japanese Story (worth getting on vid if you missed it).
rainsinger
Sep. 29th, 2004 02:38 am (UTC)
I saw Japanese Story and loved it loved it loved it so much I covet it on DVD when it comes out.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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