There is a bench that I think of as my bench, in a park that I think of as my park. If I am not at home, not at work, and not walking around, there’s a good chance I’m sitting on my bench.
I first visited the park nearly six years ago, on the day I moved to Japan. A friend brought there me to join an evening cherry-blossom party. Several years later, when I moved from Tokyo to Saitama, I realized happily that it was only a two-minute walk from my new home.
I go there nearly every day, whether to read, to write, or just sit and let the world do what it will as I watch. It does a lot, but what I most enjoy in the park is to see the different categories of people who cycle through the park as the day progresses.
Retirees do calisthenics in groups early every morning. Preschool classes and mothers with young children arrive in the mid-morning or early afternoon, playing cheerfully and sprinting across the open spaces with glee.
Dogs and their humans congregate in the early evening. In the late evening, couples and exhausted office workers alike steal a few quiet moments before heading home.
You’re apt to find me there at any time when I don’t have good reason to be anywhere else. Usually, I’ll have with me something to read, a notebook, and a pen, though sometimes they just sit by my side. The park is diversion enough on its own.