Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"It's a marvelous thing, the ocean. For some reason, when two people sit watching it together they stop worrying about whether they talk or stay silent."

--Banana Yoshimoto, "Goodbye Tsugumi" translated by Michael Emmerich

Everyday life contains beauty and is in itself beautiful when Banana Yoshimoto is telling her stories.

The ocean is beautiful, everyday. That we two are together once again looking at the ocean is beautiful.

When two people who are going to be important to each other connect in Yoshimoto stories, they often don't start by out and out meeting. They are part of each other's daily life, in some way, and they notice that having this other person be part of daily life feels good.

In "Lizard," the man telling the story swims twice a week at a health place and often sees the aerobics instructor with a lizard tatoo running her classes.

One day it occurs to him that if she weren't there and someone else took her place, he'd miss her.

That same day, he is around when a student in the aerobics class falls and twists her ankle.

Lizard, as he calls the instructor, is by the fallen student instantly, massaging the ankle. The student soon smiles and gets up.

The man telling the story asks her out to dinner, and they become lovers.

In "The Lake," two people in Tokyo have apartments at the same level in buildings catty corner from each other. They look at each other. She waves; he waves.

She figures that she can wave because she grew up in a town much smaller than Tokyo. She thinks that if she had grown up in Tokyo she wouldn't have waved.

But she did wave. And he waves. And it becomes a routine. They mouth simple questions and answers to each other. It feels good.

They meet physically, in the same space. That feels good too.

She notices that he is rather odd, and that vibrationally and from things he's said, it seems like really bad things happened to him when he was young.

She feels like maybe she isn't ready for being close to someone who was really hurt when young. She also notices that being around him feels good, and that's what she goes with.

In Banana Yoshimoto's world, it isn't unusual for people to have had really bad experiences as children.

In "Lizard," the first story I talked about, the aerobics instructor tells her lover that when she was five, she and her mom were at home, living the suburban life, when a crazy man broke in and stabbed her mother many times.

The five-year-old Lizard called her father, who called an ambulance. The five-year-old went to her mom to stop the bleeding. She stopped the bleeding by touching her mom and wanting the bleeding to stop.


That's how Lizard finds out she can heal people. Her mother lives. The doctor says it is amazing that she didn't bleed to death before the ambulance got there.

During the time of the story, Lizard stops being a aerobics instructor. She gets trained and practices acupuncture. She practices acupuncture in a bare room she rents and has no bedside manner. People who are medium sick and small sick don't like her much. People who are very sick and have tried many ways to get well love her because she heals them. People who are very sick her about this and come from all over.

Everyday life is amazing. It also includes people doing bad things to those utterly undeserving of them, like children. The bad things are balance in a way by things like healing and visions and wise clairvoyent advice that can really help.

Another thing that helps is people noticing each other in the flow of dailiness and noticing when noticing a particular person feels good. Reading Banana Yoshimoto describing the world and people like this feels good.

At the end of a Banana Yoshimoto story, she doesn't necessarilly tie up all loose ends and make every thing great. What often happens, as happens at the end of "The Lake" the story about the people who started out waving across the city canyon, is that the people in the story and the people reading the story have good reason to think and feel, "This might work out. This might work out really well."