When I was in University (it doesnt matter which prefecture), I enrolled for a class in Urban Planning. Now I can imagine many reasons why I might have done that, I was 20 yrs old, and I focused more on easy grades and good looking fellow students than learning. Whatever the reason, I didnt really make it to classroom all semester except once. That day, I was drinking my tea in the students center as usual, reading the Monkey King, and puzzling over not being able to recall the monkey's name. I happened to talk to a student, she was easy on eyes, our conversation flowed and before I knew it, I was accompanying her to her class, which coincidentally turned out to be Urban Planning. Her father was a government official in-charge of the local Dept of Buildings, and she really cared about Urban Planning. I dont know why, but to this day I remember what happened in the class. The professor taught us about zoning (how buildings have to be set back a fixed amount from the street) and water runoff (how to build catch basin and french drains to capture runoff from neighbors).
I told this to my friend Haruki in college, and he later told me he wrote a short story about it
. I didnt think I had much of a story but I read Haruki's and you know, he is a real writer, he can imagine things I cant even contemplate, his story was creative and went places my mind couldnt be dragged. In the end, it was not my story at all, it could only have come out of Haruki's mind.
But my story continues. Years later, I bought a place that needed a lot of work. I could easily build my own fence because I knew what the setback was, and I built a catch basin too and watched the runoff from my neighbors property.