Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Expanding Maps (Sarah)

My first map.
Looking back at my first map, it looks so simple. My current mental map expands far beyond it’s edges and many of the white spaces, I could now fill in with finer details that I have discovered over time. During those first few days I remember clinging to the one path I knew that took me from the seminar house to the university and back again. At the time, mastering the twists and turns of only that on path was more than enough of a challenge with all the small side streets that looked practically identical and seemed to wind on forever in all directions.

Unknown areas marked as  masses of houses.
As the days went on I began mastering my little area, but as I became more comfortable with my navigation I noticed a separate subtly increasing discomfort. I could reach out my hand and touch a passing car, I could touch my neighbor’s house from my window, walls made clear boundaries between tightly nestled houses, what looked like one-way roads somehow fit cars going both ways, and the list goes on. I had heard the term ‘densely packed population’ before but I had never really understood what that meant for daily life, and subtly as time went on I began to feel frustrated without knowing why. But one day as I was walking around Hiriakata City and stumbled upon a park, I realized what I was missing, open space! Even the park itself was nestled inside the buildings of Hirakata City. It was just a concept of space I wasn’t used to.

Over time I got used to it, and felt more comfortable being contained and fitted into the limited space of my environment. The narrow streets made space for me and the crowded buses somehow managed accommodated my presence, and as I continued to explore the dense maze that made up my new home I learned to look at it all differently. The side streets that continued forever didn’t just wind of into oblivion, they went somewhere and if every once in a while, when I had a little time to get lost, I took a peek down one of them, more often than not I would stumble upon something interesting that would expand my map just a little bit more.

1 comment:

Jeremy Sullivan said...

I completely understand how you felt about it seeming like there is no space around you. It's very unnerving to think about, especially since there is so much space back in the US. But, I'm very glad to hear that you're becoming adjusted to it! :D