Well, soon after declaring myself "without doubt a chikyujin (earthling)" a few weeks ago, I discovered to my surprise (though it really is a rediscovery) that I couldn't get space out of my mind and I had become almost as solidly above the earth as I had only moments before been of the earth.

I have a photo taken by the Galileo spacecraft that I pulled out of my computer's folders a few days after I got back from my trip to Kitadake. It depicts Jupiter and his moons hovering in black space. I find that I fall into that picture, and, just as when I see Mt. Fuji or the three mountains of Ho'o, I am reminded both that I am infinitesimally small and valueless and that I am somehow a part of Jupiter, of his moons, of Fuji or Ho'o. I'm not getting all new-agey on you, nor can I claim to understand the "new physics" that explain that connection; I'm just repeating a feeling of beauty, mystery, and melancholy that has been somewhere at the center of art for as long as art has, well, been art.

All this came of my short visit with a man who said he was a spaceman. Language, for all its shortcomings (and the shortcomings of a person not using their own language), is powerful enough to take the thoughts of one man, compress them into a standard, and then uncompress them so that another man not only understands, but is inspired by those thoughts to a further level of awareness that will take him in directions that he likely would not have otherwise.

I am still a chikyujin

It is funny that just after I said something about seeing man-made changes to the moon...