A year ago we were locked in a surreal and I dare say paralyzing lockdown, for me it represented in itself a moment that I hope will remain unique, because by chance and for the strange games of life our family has split in two, depriving me not only outings, socializing and a thousand other things but also the daily company of my daughter and my husband .. but luckily let's say that meeting was wonderful. Today, reflecting on the surreality of this new life to which we are all accustomed, for good or bad, we decided with two friends to take a "trip", yes, a trip but improvised, a last minute very particular. From North Rome to South Rome, an hour and a little more by car to cross the Eternal City. And with extreme surprise we rediscovered ourselves as tourists, looking with amazement at the Colosseum (the real one, not the one in Nimes in the latest Rays gaffe), the Circus Maximus, Castel Sant'Angelo, S. Giovanni in Laterano, the Roman Walls and Aqueducts , in short, so much beauty in a single city, so much magnificence in a few kilometers, millennia of history behind a window, the desire to see only the beautiful and to travel to the city where you live. But the "journey" has in itself another "journey", Frederieke, me, Lou and Anna are headed to Japan, yes, we are heading towards the Rising Sun on the Tuscolana.
A few days ago "MINISO", the first shop in Italy, for those who have been to Japan, the chain I am telling you about is a "must". We find ourselves lining up in a light rain to enter one of the most incredible countries in the world. My love and curiosity for Japan is ancient, and last year at the very beginning of the pandemic, when that part of the world was the epicenter of the virus, I spent unforgettable days between Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, a trip in an ancient and at the same time ultramodern world, hyper-technological yet so tied to traditions. And so today, without a suitcase, boarding pass and passport, I found myself catapulted into that fairy tale archipelago, my teenage traveling companions are happy, their eyes shine despite the mask, my travel companion of the same age is proof that traveling the world enriches with inner and outer beauty. Through Fred (diminutive of Frederieke) my curiosity for the "land of cherry trees in bloom" has also materialized in Rome, Dutch of origin lived for most of his life in Japan, speaks many languages but Japanese is the language of emotions of youth, divinely cooks everything that comes from the East and represents my encyclopedia on the Rising Sun. All easy from "MINISO", too bad there is no sushi I love, all in masks, but it would have been the same in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka etc even if there hadn't been a pandemic. We immerse ourselves in the world of the essential but at the same time of the particular, of the objects that often represent the great sense of civilization of Japanese culture. Great care for the body, for make-up, for minimal objects that make life easier, more comfortable, and then notebooks, pens, gadgets of all kinds, too bad there are no origami that I have kept as precious treasures. Among the white shelves are the superheroes of Marvel: the Avengers, everywhere in all shapes and sizes, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and even Spider-Man, the heroes of that America that dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the heroes, perhaps they have no nationality, make us dream and serve to make us forget difficult moments like these, and each of us has his favorite not only as a child but also as an adult.
We go out happy, smiling, with some envelopes, useful things and useless things, souvenirs of a "trip", memories of a moment and a desire. We are still in Rome without jet lag, we return to the base on the other side of the city, but Google Maps takes us on another "unexpected journey", an unscheduled one, fearing to get lost we find ourselves skirting the ancient aqueducts. It is one of the streets of the Jubilee, I discover with surprise and admitting ignorance, a long stretch of the Felice aqueduct, leaning against the ancient arches of the aqueduct of the Emperor Claudius, between Via del Mandrione and Via Casilina Vecchia. A neighborhood defined as picturesque by the guides, loved by Moravia and Pasolini, for years in the past, a slum with precarious houses for poor families, today an evocative set of bars, restaurants, artisans, cultivated fields and railway lines that intersect in the arches of the aqueduct. I photograph everything, we feel like tourists and we are happy, happy to see new things, to travel, it is not our neighborhood, it is not the same perspective, it is not the same landscape, seeing new things is enough to give us joy.
Those famous little things, which since we wear masks and consume our hands with disinfectant, have become important, decisive, the engine of life. "The real voyage of discovery does not consist in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes" how to say wrong Marcel Proust, after a day like this!