When the meditation retreat in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (California) was over, I returned to Japan as a guest of a Portuguese friend (a big hug, Artur). In his apartment in Nagoya, we had our usually long and delicious conversations. I could reactivate my voice, silenced during the long retreat, and my ears, because he sparked in me curiosity with fantastic stories about his last and recent trip to India.

I went out to the terrace. It was January and it was snowing heavily. I took a deep breath of frozen air, and went back into the apartment. The idea of ​​returning to the streets to wander in those conditions no longer seemed so attractive. I asked my friend, “What’s the weather like in India right now?” “These months are the best, before the heat of summer,” he said. I looked outside through the glass, and without turning around I added, “I’m going to India.”

He explained to me the details of the trip. The first thing was to apply for a visa at the embassy in Tokyo. During more than three years I had been living in Japan, and after so many trips all over it, it was incredible that I had not yet visited the capital. Now I had my chance.

I grasped my homeless stuff (sleeping bag and stick), and traveled to Tokyo by train, with the idea of ​​staying over several days there (I also did not want to abuse the hospitality of my friend). I spent the night in the gardens of a castle near the embassy, and early next morning I formalized the paperwork. In three days I would get the visa valid to enter India immediately.