Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 39: Doing Nothing

35°29’13.3908″N, 139°44’35.4582″E

There are two kittens in the bushes. Both are striped, though the smaller one is half-covered with splotches of white fur, as if it had been interrupted partway through repainting. They’re skeptical but not unfriendly, and warm to you the moment food is offered.

Just beyond the shrubs runs a long fence. On the other side of the fence is the bay.

Fishing rods hang out over the water, some of them attended and some of them not. There are few women, but mostly men, and most everyone is over sixty. It’s clear that, for most of them, fishing is only a pretext to come here and enjoy this warm summer evening.

There is not much to do besides watch the water and make small talk. The nearest people are a man and a woman, seemingly old friends. Sitting on upturned buckets, they are drinking 9% canned cocktails and smoking cheap cigarettes.

The man breaks off a bit of his rice ball and tosses it towards the bush. The kittens emerge and briefly vie for it before the larger one runs off with the food in his mouth.

At this, the friends laugh easily, in the way one only can when doing nothing. That is, specifically doing nothing, which differs from not doing anything. The former is a deliberate act, the latter is incidental.

This is a good place to come and do nothing, with or without the cover story of fishing. It is a place to go and a place to stay, if only for a little while. Later this evening, everyone presently lingering will have gone home, and the cats will have it all to themselves.


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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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