Friday, December 22

Going Home

Final three pages of a diary, kept by Nagai Kafû during his years in the United States and France, 1903–1908.

March 18. Feel a cold coming on, couldn’t focus on reading.
March 19. Made a plan for a novel describing the lives of Japanese living in the U.S.
March 20. Received another letter from father. It appears my fate has been sealed, and I’m to return to Japan once and for all. Though I have already come to terms with this, I nonetheless felt a sudden shock.
March 21 (Saturday). As dawn came, neither awake nor asleep I mulled over my future. There are two options before me: Shall I return to my country and become a writer in wretched poverty? Or shall I go back to New York where Edith awaits me, and resume a life of sin? I wracked my brain, but could not come to a decision.
March 23. Saw Professor Anesaki.
March 24. I’ve felt ill for several days, and find the preparations for my journey so tiresome I can’t bear it. In the afternoon I took to bed to recover.
March 25. No matter what I do, I still don’t feel like I’m actually leaving France. My bags are already packed, and yet I feel as though were going to remain forever in Paris, instead of merely passing through as a tourist.
March 26. Took a last walk through Lyon for old time’s sake. Still feel rotten. I’m worried that my fatigue is such I won’t even be able to make the journey.
March 27. Went to dinner with Mr. Nakasa, assistant manager at the bank. Walking home late I crossed the Pont Lafayette and for some reason on this night the sound of the Rhone was not wild and thrashing, but instead I found the lapping of waves against the ships along the shore indescribably peaceful. The night was clear, warm, and still. Thinking I would never see the Rhone again, I leaned against the railing and wept.
March 28 (Saturday). Clear all day today, like it was summer. I wanted to stay just one more day in Lyon, but finally made up my mind to board the train for Paris. The sun was just about to set as we passed out of Dijon, when I thought of what awaited me upon my return home and felt a bottomless melancholy. Will arrive in Paris at twelve o’clock. I plan to spend the night at an inn near the station and then move to the Latin Quarter tomorrow morning.
March 29 (Sunday). Walked around the city all day. Exhausted, I fell asleep and for some reason had a dream in which I saw my mother in the beauty of her youth. I was startled and awoke. It was three o’clock in the morning, and I could hear rain falling.
March 30. In the afternoon saw sculpture of Maupassant in Parc Monceau. Evening, went to opera.
March 31. Day, Musée du Luxembourg. Evening, Montmartre.
April 1. Day, Musée du Louvre. Evening, the Odéon.
April 2. Day, the boulevards. Evening, the Concert Rouge.
April 3. Day, Musée du Luxembourg. Evening, the Opéra-Comique.
April 4 (Saturday). Day, Boulevard, Stock Exchange, La Madeleine. Evening, .
April 5 (Sunday). Day, Père Lachaise Cemetery. Night, Concert Rouge.
April 6. Day, Montmartre Cemetery. Night, Casino Montmartre.
May 28. Left Paris. Arrived in London after dark.
May 29. Stayed in London.
May 30 (Saturday). Set sail at twelve o’clock.


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