mad in pursuit journal


site map

chronological index

about me


Monday, 1.17.05: Japanese postcard

I don't know how this panoramic postcard got into our house or into its particular storage box, but there it was -- an odd look, an odd size among a stack of squarish European views. It's a double postcard, probably a hundred years old. Maybe the idea was to appreciate its wide view, then tear it in half and send out two. Or maybe it's one of those tools of clandestine activity (I'll know it's you if you have the matching half of this postcard.)

It is stamped in gold: "Kamakura Kalhin-in Hotel - The Beauty Spot in Japan" Mount Fuji haunts the distance.

Jim and I studied it for awhile, staring through a magnifying glass, trying to decide if the color was printed or hand-painted. I finally decided to refer to it as "tinted" and offered it up for auction.

Seven days later I was happy to learn that a man in Kamakura was the high bidder. It's always a thrill to sell something and it makes me feel so cosmopolitan to sell internationally. But sending a tired orphan "back home" is a special rush.

I told Fugai about this. Even though I flunked Time Magazine's spirituality test, I agree with Fugai that each object has its own spirit. (We all know about the demon in our computer who pouts and rages and purrs.) I like how she put it:

Apart from a place to conduct commerce, ebay seems to be a kind of way-station for intricate global dances of exchange, a kind of boundless, endless match-making/adoption agency. There are gazillions of fragments and bits and pieces in garages, attics and closets all over the world yearning to go home, and then there are people who could be anywhere from next door to the other side of the globe who are yearning and searching.

I heard from the man who purchased it:

By the way, the area in the postcard is now a park (the hotel having burned down in the 1930s). I like to get old postcards like this to remind me what it must have been like in the good ol' days.

I love turning merchandise into moments.