Sumida River in Autumn / 3 September 2013
I have reacquainted myself with the river that runs through this part of Tokyo. Sumida dances powerful, slow and flirtatious beneath her silver skin and I smile to see her. I am on the other side, the side I have previously admired for its green appearance. This river walk is higher and there are trees full of the electric fizz of cicadas, the harsh yet juvenile squawks of something unseen that sounds like it should be in the parrot family and the bold 'qua' of unknown corvids.
It's pleasant to roll under heat-absorbing greenery, but there is also something nasty that bites or stings any exposed flesh. It is that time of year.
I have crossed the white suspension bridge and discovered statues and a garden walk with topiary trees and thoughtfully placed boulders. The garden walk is above the flood defences, I get no closer to Sumida on this side as the slope down to the riverside walk is too steep and a little uneven for my skinny-wheeled chair.
Leading away from the river, a tree lined avenue connects this area to the shops, dwellings, restaurants, office blocks mix that is so typical. Here a bicycle laden with 4 yappy poodles waits in a stand and two tiny removal vans are being loaded with furniture protected by stretchy, green quilted covers. It is strange to see office workers without jackets, but the heat and general power saving awareness has resulted in some relaxation of the dress code.
I buy supplies at the konbini (convenience store) and roll back to the river. Sumida shimmers and tiny waves rush from both concrete sides, to embrace like joyful lovers along her midline.
A steady barge with a cargo of something resembling coal or charcoal creates a frothy wake and I am reminded that although it is school holidays I have seen or heard no trace of tourist boats. The guide books say that this is not a good time of year to visit Japan. Traditionally its typhoon season, but like everywhere else on the planet, climate change is making the weather more unpredictable. People say autumn is getting hotter.
The sun, she said, sharp
hurts my skin. A sign
that autumn creeps
into the year, burns
pain into the pale,
of skin lacking its own
means of protection.
Contrast to the
in summer shorts
and western gear
and visible only