5 years from today. 2024. I'll be 45. A day in the life of me, imagined. A writing exercise in daydreaming about the future, as if I was writing it in the present.
We managed to rent a traditional wooden townhouse - a machiya - right in the old centre of Kyoto. It's lovely to live in such deep history that still survives today by grace (much of it was spared from bombing during WW2). Such houses are small in stature but big in giving a sense of space. My favourite part of the house? The Zen garden in the middle - designed to give light and air flow to the house, and great for a bit of meditation, a spot of tea and a sprinkling of calm.
Everything seems designed to give a sense of calm and quiet, even though the walls are paper thin. Stuff are tucked away when not in use, like mattresses for sleep, so that the space doesn't get cluttered with stuff. It's minimalism, but not austere. Somehow, the wood texture running through the house gives it a sense of warmth unlike the cold, concrete apartments I grew up in. The wood was comforting, homely and light on the eyes.
While the wood was light on the eyes, the tatami flooring was light on touch. Sleeping on the tatami mats everyday had been such a delicious pleasure. With the mattress, it's just the right degree of hardness. And it's cool to lie on too, due to the ventilative nature of tatami. And even has a earthy, grassy smell to it. Why would we ever want to sleep on Western-style beds again?!
As someone who loves being out and about, I never imagined I would enjoy living in a home this much.
Only in Kyoto. A home that's more homely than home.