Fuck it. I’m gonna go there today, I thought.
I had classes all day but I decided not to go to school today and focus on my thoughts. I kept thinking about what my mom said... “If you don’t want to lose something or someone, don’t hold onto it.” She also told me to think of trees as friends. After this deep talk, I remember she left my house to walk by the Tamagawa River alone. Today, I wanted to walk by a river too. I wanted to meet the trees and befriend them too.
I quickly walked my dogs and after the walk, I grabbed six film rolls from the shelf and shoved it into my bag. I also grabbed some money I saved into my wallet. I rushed out of the house because I simply couldn’t wait to get out of Tokyo. I got on the train around 9:15AM which was still too crowded for me. People were cramming onto the trains as if it’s the last train they’ll ever ride onto. I felt very uncomfortable with all the people being on their phones and breathing so close to me. I haven’t been on a morning rush train in a long time because I prefer to bike everywhere. After I got out of the central Tokyo area, it was much better and I was ready for the journey I was about to have today.
After two hours and a bit on the train, I got off at Koga station in Tochigi Prefecture. I started walking towards the river and as soon as I saw it, I sighed. A good relaxing sigh.
As I was walking by the river, I became friends with the river, the trees, the birds and even the garbage. Then I started to think about all the things I’ve experienced when I was younger. How I felt like I needed to grow up so quickly... Working night life jobs, being around lots of people, good and bad people, and rejecting the former kid I once used to be. I wanted more out of everything back then. I wanted the high, the love and the answer.
Then I started to ask myself, “How can I stop holding onto things and be more grateful of everyone and everything?”
After the second roll of films, my Mju gave me the answer. Mju showed me how to be appreciative. I didn’t want anything from the trees but them standing on this empty field and greeting me was more than what I could ask for. Taking photos of the trees, river, the birds and the garbage was enough for me. I thought, that’s the answer to my question.
It felt so good to know. I was thankful of this river and my Mju. I took the last photo on the roll and Mju usually rolls all the filmstrip back to the casing so that I can take it out and replace it with a new roll. But Mju wasn’t rolling the filmstrip back. It just stared at me like a dumb dog not knowing what he’s supposed to do. I pressed the reset button over and over again but it just stared at me. The battery level was still high so I knew the battery wasn’t the problem. I started freaking out and sat on the ground to examine this dumb dog. I didn’t realize that I sat on the wet side of the field so my butt was instantly wet. “Ah fucking hell!”
If my Mju really broke, that meant I cannot take out this filmstrip and have to take Mju straight to a camera shop because if I open it, the sunlight will mess up my photos. That also meant no more photos for today. I felt really frustrated with my Mju and was confused why it decided to break, right at this moment. I got up and started walking to ask the trees why my Mju had to break today. After a while, I realized that Mju really taught me a lesson today. If I didn’t want to lose it, I shouldn’t hold onto the idea of it breaking abruptly and just be glad that we have spent all this time together.
Losing Mju was not the end of the world and I was sure I’ll be able to find another Mju or a similar camera. What Mju wanted to see from me was if I really can be grateful.
As I’m walking alongside the river, I was grateful that this camera has been my friend for almost a year. This friend has taught me how to be a kid again, be grateful and be kind. I shed some tears as I walked...couldn’t stop the tears.
Right before I arrived at a random train station, I met a big black dog who was sleeping outside. As soon as our eyes met from distance, he got up and started wagging his tail. I slowly approached him and let him sniff my hand first. He then lowered his ears and got closer to me. I petted him and he wagged his tail some more. He was grateful that I approached him and I was grateful that he liked me.
Now I’m on my way back to Tokyo, to get these two rolls developed and look for another friend who will teach me lots more.
Quick update: The better half of the roll came out completely black. Now I’m left with 36 so-so photos. I really wanted to show you the better photos from the other roll. But I guess those photos will only remain as memories.