It was a chilly but sunny day. Three hours before sunset, I was in no rush and planned to take a stroll back to the hotel. If the physical environment has a direct effect on one’s mental state, that moment I was indeed at total ease. Along the way, there were only cars and bikes running past us. We walked as if having embarked on a road trip by foot. Even the signboards seem to have turned into American fast food chains in black and white colors. When there is no wind, the winter sun in Japan has a soothing quality that can bring people smiles. As I was smiling, I noticed this Karuizawa Bookstore neatly sitting on the side of the street.
For a good while, I needed to fix my gaze on the bookstore to settle my excitement. Once after stepping into the warm indoors, I had the urge to take off my jacket and shoes just like I had come home. Did everyone just hide into the book shop, leaving the streets empty outside? Apparently, the combination of coffee and books is still the favorite pastime of many.
On the first wooden table in the shop, I came across a book as thick as a brick. The last book I owned which is of such volume has to be the Oxford English Dictionary. Only when I flipped open this book titled 10-Year-Journal (10年メモ) did I find a blank daily planner for the coming ten years starting from 2019. No wonder the thickness, I thought. By keeping this log, what happened on the same day the years before becomes easily traceable. This is in itself a superb idea. Even a diary-keeper like myself would not have thought about that. Despite the subtle difference between diary and journal, both provide a great incentive to keep writing continuously as resistance to forgetting. This way, our memory would not get so easily buried by daily chores.
On the way back, my companion kept nagging me for dragging a 30-minute journey to 2 hours. Next time, I would still go wherever I want — I would cycle at night in minus zero degree temperature while wiping my nose, I would drop by a mega supermarket to get a bottle of white wine that treats my exhausted body, I would make a sliding dash on the melting snow on a dark street as if I had obtained a power-up mushroom in Mario Kart. Even though I didn’t come across any falling snow, it was still a heartfelt moment to come across the bookstore.
I guess if I had this journal with me, I probably would write down about this very day.