Rainy Days in Hirakata

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Today is another beautiful, rainy day in Hirakata and I feel all at once melancholy and grateful. Melancholy, because there aren’t many more rainy days left for me at Kansai Gaidai, grateful because I am so happy to have lived them.

There is a little less than two weeks left in my program, so I’ve been arranging my departure. Most importantly, I’ve been going on walks around this little city to enjoy all the things that have grown dear and familiar. This morning, I went for a walk along my usual route toward the small bench area. It’s just a decline covered by tall grass and a few seats, but I’ll always remember how at peace I felt sitting there whenever classes were hectic or my brain felt overworked. The rain came in and I observed students hurriedly exchanging goodbyes and bicycles carving streams through the oncoming torrents.

I like to think that patterns can be good luck. Most of my favorite memories in Hirakata happened while it was raining. During spring break, I spent my time exploring the area by myself and it rained heavily. I took myself out to eat tteokbokki and encountered some of the prettiest yellow flowers. Another time, my close friend and I hurried towards the train station to get to Fukuoka, and I remember laughing at how every time we plan something, somehow, we always end up going out in the worst weather. Other times, I was just sitting at my desk window like now, watching the trees sway in the wind. Even if by most standards a rainy day might put a wrench in plans, for me rainy days are almost always when I feel the happiest.

I love the way the sky darkens, and tuffs of white clouds turn into charcoal and smear across the horizon line. I love the way mountains are blurred and lights stretch into reflections that ripple along the pavement. I am truly lucky that Hirakata had such a rainy season this spring; sunny days have their charms too, but the trees are never so green when up against the sun. Their leaves become transparent, and I can forget how vibrant they can be even with no spotlight. I love how stormy days turn dried moss and lichen into fuzzy splotches of almost neon on bark and stones. The way water slips between the cracks of roads and rocks and the environment’s acoustics entirely transform.

My time in Hirakata is full of cloudy, precious days like today and I hope this forecast has a few left yet.