Ue Arata Cho
It’s the old neighborhood where I grew up, but it isn’t. It’s entirely gone, been wiped clean by…growth, change, progress…except for one small house and shop across the street from that deluxe gas station on the right. The station actually sits in what used to be my front yard.
This image is from Google earth, the ‘magic carpet’ I occasionally take when I want to swoop in and take little walks down the streets where I used to ride my bike, visit in the weavers quarters and play with my neighborhood friends. It has improved vastly since I sat looking at the same place on my brother’s laptop several years ago. This summer when visiting his home, he pulled me over and said “Susan, have you seen this?” I was astonished.
In retrospect, perhaps none of this is so remarkable, except that I simply have not made my way back to this spot since high school days. It’s present day Ue Arata in Kagoshima, Japan – my furusato (hometown), not my birthplace. Other aspects of my life were born here, though.
It’s a long and short story that can’t be told quickly or easily in words just now. It appears though, that my family & I will make at least a ‘virtual’ contact with this place in the very near future. Suffice it to say, emotions are running high at the moment and it’s difficult to focus. It’s what comes with the season though, thoughts of home, the heart home, furusato.