Issue 058
August, 8, 2021

World Heritage Kissaten

Second Vax, Visiting the Last of the Kissa

Rodenians —

Hello from seventy-two hours after my second Moderna shot. Good. Lord. Sickest I’ve felt in over a decade. A solid thirty-six hours of razor blades in the bloodstream (not fun!), psilocybin-like hallucinations (quite fun!), and generally feeling like the insides of my body have been through a vast war. And, yes, I took a bunch of pain killers after my fever hit 39C. I’m still generally woozy, but as seems to be the case with feeling how down-against-the-ropes a body can get, I’m now in that upward swing of Health Gratitude that comes on the other side. I don’t have to crawl to the toilet because my ankles feel like they are going to explode! Hooray!

I’m Craig Mod, and this is Roden, my monthly newsletter with updates on my work, and general writing, photography, film, and culture notes. And, the occasional vax diary.

This is one of those Rodens where I only have one thing to link up:
“Paying pilgrimage to the last kissaten on the Kumano Kodo trail”

Kissa Ron

The piece came out today. It’s something I wrote for Japan Times about “world heritage” kissaten — or, kissa along the UNESCO Kumano Kodō route in Mie and Wakayama Prefectures. I was working on this as I did my big walk in May / June; short vignettes of mostly soon-to-be-gone shops, while taking stock of how COVID has (or hasn’t) affected their businesses.

It was also a full color spread in the Saturday print paper. If you’re in a major city in Japan, poke around for it if you’re curious!

A side note: I’m able to work on pieces like this because of SPECIAL PROJECTS member support. Japan Times pays standard freelance rates which could never possibly cover the cost of time / travel of working on an essay like this. So, a big thanks to members for making this possible. (I’m going to run a members-only livestream chat / class about how this was written / edited later this month.)

I brought this up with the editors at JT. I don’t mean to single out JT, this is an industry-wide issue; it’s unfortunate that rates have slipped to present rates, effectively making it (nearly?) impossible for young writers without trust funds to lean into longer / more deeply researched work. I realize I’m in a position of privilege to have access to a platform like JT (and am grateful for that!), and, though I doubt my note will make much difference, I do think it’s important to keep this conversation in our general consciousness.

(It’s a bit intellectually reductive, but one interesting second-order effect of something like UBI is that, instantly, a great mass of folks who can’t tell their stories (lack of time / money), can now think about doing so.)

As for the above vax diary: I bring it up mainly as a submission to the collective ledger of vax experience. I haven’t seen many folks write about the truly crushing nature of that second shot. Maybe it’s because we’re trying not to scare on-the-fencers away? It’s amazing to me that billions of us (Billions! What a thing!) have opted into sliding down the fever hole. Obviously, this is better than getting/spreading COVID. But, it’s a surprisingly non-trivially painful experience. As for my stats (which are perhaps useful for comparing experiences?): I’m 40, in what I’d consider solid shape (I could run a ~04:00:00 marathon tomorrow if need be), easily walk 1000+ km a year carrying a giant pack, don’t eat beef or pork, don’t drink alcohol, and don’t smoke. Anecdotally among friends, there seems to be a correlation of health to intensity of response. I just hope the booster(s) in coming years (we’re stuck with variants of this sucker forever, I think) are somehow … not quite so intense?

The plus side was I did get to catch up on a bunch of recent prestige TV. Some of which was extremely impressive. More on that in the next Roden.


Owase burnt out pachinko