Observations of a YÅ«rei

March 2, 2009
By Julia Rawnsley SILVER, Omaha, Nebraska
Julia Rawnsley SILVER, Omaha, Nebraska
9 articles 0 photos 0 comments

A 'yūrei', or Japanese spirit, has been monitoring a young woman who is residing in the middle-class Japanese home that the spirit haunts.

I understand you do not wish to be here any longer, but there must be some things here you find to your liking'other than the music. You enjoy the music and spend much of your free time listening to the small group of people who gather down the street in front of your neighbor's house to quietly converse and play their odd but beautiful instruments. You dislike the unfamiliar food and the unfamiliar weather and the unfamiliar language and the unfamiliar customs. But in the music you find solace.
Give up your attempts to westernize this foreign land in which you live. Your parents came to America; you are American. Your parents went back to Japan; you are Japanese. They brought back with them a gift for their homeland, hoping it would be a gift to you. Reluctant to leave, you were Japanese in America; now you are American in Japan.
Sorrow constantly fills your heart in this sorrowful land'But why?
They knew it would be best for you to leave. Leave behind the places and people that would for the rest of your life remind you of' him.
He is gone now. The others are not. You write to them and they write to you; curious of your exotic country while you continue to picture the life you no longer live through the people you no longer see.
He said goodbye to you, you said goodbye to his country - Your country - No longer your country. Your new country feasts on pickled vegetables and fish, oh so much fish, raw or cooked fish everyday. To import other food every day would cost too much. And the small shops that claim to prepare western foods are as unauthentic as the restaurants in America that offer a taste of a foreign land. The farther something travels, the more warped and different it becomes.
But you feel the same.
You are in the same body, you own the same possessions, and you have the same memories. It is your surroundings that have changed so drastically.
But at the same time, you are not the same. But no journey by train or ship could have produced the changes within you. From that afternoon you found out that he was'gone, you were changed. Every time he said goodbye to you for the last time, you wondered if it really was the last time. Would he do it, would he take his own life? Sometimes you felt it in your heart, that you would never look into his eyes again, that it was for real this time. Other times you knew it to be a lie, something that would not happen, not this night and not this morning.
But one time was all it took, one time for the goodbye to ring true to its speaker and for the light in his eyes to never shine again through yours.
They took you away from the remnants of your former self, and now you are here.
And so you listen to the music.

The author's comments:
This piece was inspired by the piece of artwork by Mary Cassatt titled "The Letter".

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