The sole purpose of this post is to remember forever the night I cycled with Yurika through a country road. The uncontrollable green kept lashing my legs, seeking to slap my face, and the cars by our side were swerving, praying not to cause an accident. We slid downhill like drops of liquid pouring out of a bottle into the immensity of the rice paddies. If I were to remember only one thing about June, I thought while gazing at the charcoal-colored landscape around us, may it be this ride.

We ate at an almost empty restaurant where they asked us what language we were speaking in. “Many languages,” she said. Indeed, Spanish and Portuguese and Japanese and English were intermingling freely in our conversation.

When it was time to go back we took a different path, one I knew from my trips to the City Hall. It was extremely dark and quiet, but there was nothing to fear, just like in a dream. It was full of uncertain trees following us with their summery scent. During the day this road looks like those I saw in Vietnam. The exuberance of the vegetation defies all human advances, as the vines swiftly wrapped around wires would prove.

Sometimes Tsukuba overwhelms me with a beauty I could not fathom when I first set foot here. Perplexed and intoxicated, I ride on.

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

—Walt Whitman