This post was also published in my another blog https://sarakauppila.wordpress.com .

I love writing, fiction and non-fiction both. For a long time I have wanted to publish some of my stories on the Internet, now the time has come. This will be a series, I don´t know how long because I don´t yet know how the story will continue but we´ll see. I don´t even have a name for it yet.

The story is situated in feudal Japan, that´s because of my love and interest for Japanese culture. Words marked with * are explained in the end of the page. If you want I also highly recommend  listening to traditional Japanese music as you read. I hope that you will enjoy!

 

Part I - “There´s Beauty In Burning Paper”

 

I pull the cowl over my head and quietly walk through the warm night. In silence there is room for thoughts. My focus goes to the weight on my back, it´s my sword, looking almost invisible against my dark blue almost black clothing. I could end this all right now, with the sword or less painfully with the poisonous pills hidden under my sword in the scabbard. But why would I? There is no reason, I enjoy my life and I wouldn´t voluntarily end it. It´s just a random thought that comes into my mind. Although it doesn´t mean anything in my case it´s an interesting thought, reminds of all the possibilities that are physically very close but still in our minds usually far away.

 

I return back from the deeps of my mind to the world surrounding me. I hear a sound of locusts, it makes me feel good bringing back memory from years ago and throwing me back to the world of thoughts and memories, I´m sitting in my grandparents´ beautiful garden in the early hours of morning watching colorful kois* swim around in the small pond as the locusts chirp on the trees.    It´s all gone now but the memory won’t fade. This is new life, new times. Is it better or worse than the past? I don´t know, in the past I hadn´t seen all the things I have seen now, it felt better and safer but I think it was just a illusion. Gentle wind blows through leaves of trees making them to make a light sound and bringing me once again back to the present. I´m happy, this is a beautiful night.

 

I take a small piece of paper from my pocket to read the address written on it, I´m near. I keep walking until I see a house, it´s the only house around and it looks like the one described to me so I know that it´s the one. Lantern in front of the house creates warm light. In the light stands a young man wearing a yukata** colored with white and blue. “I anticipated that you would come soon Miss*** Hisakawa,” he says and bows deep with a kind smile on his face. “Mr. Shimizu,” I say smiling back kindly and bow deep like he did. Then I hand the piece of paper with the address to him, he nods and puts it in to the flame of the lantern. We watch the small flame burn the paper, first the parts that touch the flame start to burn, then they turn to glowing red as the flame goes further, from that to black and finally the ashes of the paper fade in to the wind. “There´s beauty in burning paper,” Mr. Shimizu says turning to me with his eyes filled with thoughts. “Indeed, there is a lot of beauty in it but also cruelty,” I answer. He nods acceptingly.

 

“Maybe we will go inside? I have some food and tea prepared, you have made a long journey. I have a room waiting for you. There is also an onsen**** very near, you can use it whenever you like,” Mr. Shimizu says happily looking to my eyes. “Oh yes, thank you so much. You are kind as they told me,” I answer. “Thank you Miss Hisakawa,” he answers and bows, he looks very happy as he keeps talking “Follow me.” He slides the shōji***** door open, it opens a view to a corridor bordered with shōjis that have paintings on them. The floor makes a light creaking sound as we walk on it. “It´s on purpose,” Mr. Shimizu turns his head to me smirking, “I guessed it, that`s smart,” I smirk back. We walk until the end of the corridor, then he slides shōji on our left open, “This is your room, I hope you like it. You can put on the yukata if you want to. Make yourself at home! I´ll be waiting for you to our late dinner but there is no hurry, take all the time you need.” “Thank you, I love the room!” I answer and bow, we smile to each other, then he walks away. I close the shōji behind me.

 

On the only wall that can´t be opened is a beautiful painting of a dragon, I look at it for a while admiring the talent of the painter. Then my sight meets the rest of the room, there is a futon****** set ready, on the corner of the wall and the door where I came in to the room there is a lantern creating similar warm light as the one outside and bringing also physical warmth to the room. There is also a vase ornamented with a painting of cherry tree on bloom, the vase is filled with branches of cherry tree, they are full of blossoms. Although I can see they have just been brought in some of the petals have fallen on the floor. The room is in the corner of the house, I slide two shōjis open and a view to a gorgeous garden opens up in front of me. There´s a small stream flowing through the garden filled with beautiful trees and plants. The stream ends to a small pond, I can see kois moving in the water, it reminds me of my           grandparents´garden.

 

- Sara Kauppila

* Koi is a one type of carp.

** Yukata is kinda like a casual version of kimono usually used at home.

*** I´m using Miss, Mr. and Mrs. as a substitute for -san (and other honourifics) used in Japanese language because I personally feel weird using them in a text that is not written in Japanese.

**** A hot spring.

***** Shōji is a traditional Japanese door/window/room divider made of translucent paper and a wooden frame.

****** Futon is a traditional Japanese mattress usually laid on the floor.

 

The featured image is not taken by me, it´s taken by another one of my parents.

Published by Sara Kauppila