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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Book IV ~ Prologue ~ Of Chains and Chances

We all live in interesting times.

For this year, I had planned to visit Japan again, go to corners there I had not yet been to, pay my respects at many new Inari Shrines, and eat tasty, tasty Kitsune-Udon at Hanamaru Udon and Nakau. But alas…

It was not only my plans that were cancelled. People all over the world had to adjust. Some even did. Others still went abroad and spread the Green Shnolz further. As for me, I took this restriction and turned it into an opportunity, for while by now I have been all around the world…

…and visited quite a few countries…

…I still haven't been around much of my own country. In fact, whereas my routes around New Zealand and Japan circumscribe most of the country, my routes and stays to date in (and around) Germany look more like a crack in a windshield, with Munich as its epicenter.

…and the list of regions I have already visited – while somehow more colorful – also looks like it could use some improvement.

Add to that the fact that this terrible year is already three quarters over, and I have yet four fifths of my vacation days remaining, as well as the fact that travelling abroad is heavily discouraged by the government in the face of the current crisis (not that some humans care), and a logical course of action manifests itself like rime on a window pane. Robert, with whom I had planned to travel to Japan in the spring when this crisis first struck, shares the same predicament, and as such, we start to make preparations for a journey of a different kind.

And different it should be! Whereas my earlier journeys were mostly solitary and lasted for months and years, this time around I should be accompanied by my best friend every step of the way, and whereas I spent weeks in one place in the past, working and exploring, this time around I only have three weeks' time for it all, and have to make every day count.

It should be a race with the wind, taking us to the corners and edges of our country, all around, and a little bit beyond. Three weeks should this journey last, and yet, with everything we should cram into that limited amount of time, it should end up feeling like three months or more, and thus worthy of a book of its own.

This is the story of the Tabikori (旅狐狸 "Travelling Fox and Tanuki") on their journey around the land of their birth.

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