On the Train, from Osaka to Wakayama

I like the houses I see in the patches of countryside, between concrete shopping center strips, convenience stores, stark plots of razed dirt, and jumbled, dingy Post-War housing developments. They are the old homes, compact and white, dotted along perfectly combed fields of rice, the rows parted like hair, with mushroom-capped bonsai out front, their trunks gnarled like an old man’s fingers, and swooping roof eaves studded with curved tiles in China reds, silver grays, and royal blues …

like the ruffled wings of some brightly colored bird

roosting, before taking flight.

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