Waking to news of some far off conflict I open the weather app on my iPhone. Sunday, February 27th, sunny from now until 18:00. A high of 17 degrees Celsius. I’m told the best time to catch a view of Fuji san are on days like these. Although in my experience Fuji san only makes itself seen when you’re not looking for it. I’ll take my chances, I thought.
Unfolding my bike, I feel the wind breathing in my ears, on my face and hands.
I set off while thinking about the times Fuji san has appeared to me while running along the Arakawa river in Eastern Tokyo. I point my bike in it’s direction and start pedaling. I know where I am going. The bike and I are one. If the bike goes fast, I go fast. Or is it just the wind at my back?
Before arriving at Little Yotsugi Bridge, my gateway to the Arakawa, I pass the hectic train station. There isn’t a bike left standing where their owners parked before rushing off to their next appointment. Next meeting. Next everything. Instead, just a neat row of horizontal mamachari.
I continue pedaling. This powerful wind is known as Haru Ichiban; the first winds of Spring. I pedal past elderly women waiting at the bus stop. ‘’Kazei wa tsuyoi desuyonei~~’’ The sound of their voice is blown away along with plastic liter that escaped from brightly colored recycling bins.
I arrive where I’ve seen Fuji san before. More immense, solid and heavy than you had ever expected. But today, as if veiled by a magicians illusion, it is vanished. In its place on the horizon are light, airy, vaporous clouds.
After some time, I turn around and pedal back, towards home. This time, pedaling against the wind along the banks of the Arakawa. It’s usual lazy flow has been transformed by the wind which is growing more intense with each rise and fall of my feet.
Stopping to rest my tired legs, I notice a pair of Ooban swimming in opposition to the now frantic, ever changing river. Every drop of water being pushed by spring winds southwards towards Tokyo Bay. The bird’s greyish-black feathers and pure white foreheads and beaks bobbing up and down as they struggle to swim north towards Akabane. What were they pedaling towards?
In an instant, a triumphant ‘cuy’ rang out and their wings were spread. The biggest of the two was lifted first, followed immediately by the other into the air. Higher an higher they soared to the place where wings are made for. Having re-remembered this natural state they smiled gently. Now, flying so closely to each other that the pair appeared as one, great colorless form. It dissolved into the sky.
The legs, having finally recovered, began pedaling home once more. Before crossing the Little Yotsugi Bridge, a sudden gust of cool, fresh Spring wind lifted the cap off my head. Turning around, the hat falling gracefully into the the water under me, my eyes falling up, seeing Fuji planted solidly, majestically where it had always been. Towering over the sky scraping buildings of Tokyo. It’s summit still covered in picturesque white snow.