My perfect place

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory.

Those are the words I received today for my second work in the Writing 101 course. Funny thing, I couldn’t determine where I wanted to be transported to — surprising for someone like me, who wants to visit many places around the world. I wonder what disturbed me: was it because of the numerous places I wanted to be in? Was it because of the vague instruction I received? Was it because of my imagination going wild? I don’t know. But in the end, I was finally able to define what would be my perfect place, the place to which I’d like to be transported if I could: a traditional Japanese house.

Imagine walking in the streets under the radiant sun, humming your favorite song or listening to your favorite song on your phone. You see a small path made of rocks, leading somewhere in the forest — sounds scary, doesn’t it? Uneasy but unable to ignore what could be hidden in the forest, you let your curiosity take the upper hand and decide to follow the path. The forest is vast — boulders, old tree trunks, ridiculously huge trees covering the area  — and it could make you think about all the bad scenarios that could happen to you, but the sunlight is illuminating the place and teases your skin softly, letting you enjoy a marvelous silence that many of us would give their fortune to have.

As you keep walking, you finally arrive at the end of the path and there you see something surprising: the trees disappeared to let place to a small plain like what you can see in those Disney movies you used to watch when you were younger. In front of you stands a house — a house made of woods, grass and mud (typical of a traditional Japanese house), and yet beautifully built. It’s too late to go back now, you decide to take a closer look.

As you take a step on the porch, you can hear the sweet sound of the wood cracking under you foot.  You take a look around you, but it seems no one is here. And so as any good movie character (when no one is home), you try to slide the door and notice that it’s left unlocked: without a second thought, you decide to explore the house.

The house is made like any other traditional house — elevated floor, open structure, tatami mats, rice paper doors, exposed woods and plastered walls — with the usual rooms such as the kitchen, the bathroom and the living room. However, what strikes you is not the way the house was made, but the feeling it gives you. The house gives a feeling of serenity, a peace that can’t be disturbed by the chaos of the cities — the noisy cars, the gossips of the “blah-blah people” (as I like to call them), the police cars chasing after an undying criminality.

You then hear something in the backyard, so you decide to take a look. Before your eyes stands a Japanese garden, with a small red bridge, standing over a small river where a group of Koi (a type of fish that you can find in Japanese gardens) are living according to the law of Nature that prevents them from living out of water to kick some butt. The sound of the river is enough to appease the soul and let you get lost in your thoughts.

While the house takes away the chaos of the cities, the garden lets you become “one with Nature”, as they say.

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9 comments

    1. Thanks!
      Well I wanted to use the first person perspective, but I was reluctant to let the reader with the simple status of “observer”, someone who is only watching from a distance. I wanted to let the reader live this experience by themselves. Thanks for the feedback though!

      And thanks again!

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      1. I guess it’s just a matter of taste. Your scene setting was already beautiful. First person perspective would have drawn me in completely, I suspect. Keep on writing!

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  1. I am longing to be in one of Japanese House even I have never been in one before. Your piece is very illustrative, I am lucky to get feedback from someone like you. Thanks..

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  2. Upon reading your story a second time I believe that the second person point-of-view works very well. I often read a paragraph or the entire piece a second time, as I find that the words do sort of involve me in this type of writing. You succeed in placing the reader in the flow. Yes, I agree also that first person would work well too, but it would change the effect of the writing. I don’t mean it would be better–just different effect.

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    1. Thank you. And I agree with you, a first-person narrative would change the effect given by the text. In my opinion, writing in a first-person narrative would have left the reader as a simple observer, such as someone who reads the description of a city in a book (that is to say someone who cannot feel the same as a person who visited the city). It is a question of “immersion”.

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