5:15pm, Special Rapid towards Tokyo.

The sun is setting and I’m in between Kokubunji and Mitaka. Dense concrete forms bake in the golden hour while in their wake, pockets of activity thrive in the dappled shadows. I spot two huge wolves, one white, the other black. The mundane; unkempt backyards with delicate sprouting weeds sprinkle the landscape with colour. But I also see the magnificent – mokuren, ume and (with breath withheld), sakura in bloom, wilting.

They line the foot paths and unassuming playgrounds, caressing each passing carriage. Branches full and weeping with blossoms – white, cream, fuchsia and the saddest of pinks. I flinch. The man beside me must’ve seen, but he remains as still as the evening.

Industrial. Suburban. I see an ‘S’ form out of the undulating roads of the local driving school. Hand painted signs. The visual vernacular is one that is pared down and weathered, but not inconspicuous.

The sun is setting and the train is full of tired commuters. I’m reaching Nakano and I can’t see so much from where I’m seated. I crane my neck back, but only catch flurried beige tones. The light has been shrouded behind the approaching clouds. Those who aren’t peering into their phones appear restless to get home.

I make a secret pledge to return and dance amongst the blooms, then I too shut my eyes.

“The next stop after Nakano will be Shinjuku” chimes a sweet voice.


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