A stupendous full autumn moon, bright orange and fat, flashes intermittently between the nondescript high-rise flats and offices on the drive to Charles de Gaulle Airport. It's an apt and beautiful reminder of one of the events that we, a group of Tokyo-based editors and writers, were invited to see earlier in the week at Japonismes 2018: Souls in Resonance. It was a theater production of "Tsukimi Zato" ("Moon-viewing Blind Man"), starring veteran kyogen performer Mansaku Nomura, wherein a townie from upper Kyoto out for a stroll in the countryside bumps into a gentle old blind man. The two characters merrily share sake and poems together but, after parting, the slightly drunk younger man doubles back and deliberately bumps into the blind man as a practical joke and roughly pushes him over. The punchline of the play is that the blind man, as he makes his way home, wonders sadly how there can be such different people in the world, not realizing that it was the same person.

Kyogen performers (from left) Mansai, Mansaku and Yuki Nomura
Kyogen performers (from left) Mansai, Mansaku and Yuki Nomura | JOHN L. TRAN

The mood in our minivan is one of quiet satisfaction tinged with longing. The week in Paris has been full of extraordinary sights, sounds and tastes, and now it's time to get back to an ordinary life in Japan. We've had our fun and are ready to face soul-crushing commutes, trying not to nod off in meetings and thinking of sleep as a hobby.