An overwhelming wistfulness

Have you ever had a feeling come over you so suddenly that you had to stop what you were doing and just stare off into space so you could digest it?

My computer’s regional settings are on Japan, meaning that not only do I have the Input Method Editor (IME) sticking out over my system tray, but also the date displays in Japanese when I hover my mouse over the clock, like so:

If you can’t tell, that’s in the format 2004-year 10-month 23-date Saturday-day. Those year, month, date, and day things are “counters”…basically little suffixes that quantify what you’re talking about. I also have the time set to the 24 hour clock, because they use it in Japan a lot.

This has the effect of giving every day a Japanese connotation; when I hover over the system clock to check what day of the week it is, for example, I have to read it in kanji.

Today I was checking the date. I thought it was the 23rd, but I wanted to be sure so I could date a chat log appropriately. I hovered over and saw the 10月23日 and thought, “October in Japan.”

The thought totally stopped me. I lost track of what I was doing. My eyes roamed away from the monitor, unseeing, as I imagined a sea of tiny red maple leaves. How beautiful they must be. I’ve never seen them in person.

Then I was suddenly sad, because I can’t see them, I can’t go to Japan right now and look at the changing colors. I can’t go back to Miyajima and that exquisite ryokan, where the mama-san called Sean and me “handsome man” and “pretty girl” and wished us a “happy baby”, and walk the skinny road down the mountain to see how the lush, verdant forest looks in the fall.