Sunday, July 04, 2010

The long goodbye

I should be asleep since I'm set to be on a plane out of Tokyo in approximately fifteen hours from now. But I can't sleep; can't even attempt to think about it at the moment, because I feel like I'm saying a long sad goodbye to Tokyo itself.

I will wholeheartedly admit that I have fallen head over heels for this city. Despite the rain, despite the humidity, despite the fact that I have so many damn bug bites--I will miss this place. I've tried over the last three months to articulate to my parents why I love it here so much, and I think I've failed every time. But just for me, once more, I will try again. Let's do a numbered list!

In no particular order:

  1. Politeness is a whole different game here. Everyone is polite to you, even if they secretly hate you. It's damn refreshing.
  2. Everything, and I mean everything, is clean. Usually sparkling clean. They dust and polish the escalator handrails several times a day in the train stations, for pete's sake. I can use a public restroom anywhere, and it will most likely be clean and decent-smelling.
  3. The clothes are awesome, even though I only fit into some of them still. Fashion rocks, and I never realized I liked it so much. I knew there was a reason I was addicted to my Lucky magazine...
  4. The trains come on time.
  5. Space is utilized in a million different ways. I've spent the last three months living in a house that's on the top of a hill, and I've seen houses built into hills too. The architecture is diverse, and it tends to vary from neighborhood to neighborhood in the city.
  6. Shinjuku, and most particularly, I like Kabukicho. This amazed my Japanese teachers, but it felt so much like Times Square and New York's 8th Avenue area, except, you know, with lots of visible yakuza. =)
  7. I have an unfortunate addiction to towel-like handkerchiefs.
  8. Melon pan.
  9. Omuraisu.
  10. Hello Kitty, I adore you!
  11. Cute is a huge marketing factor and it appeals to me. =)
  12. Being able to walk practically anywhere.
  13. My language school, which I will miss dreadfully.
  14. All of my friends here, who I'm already missing dreadfully.
  15. Getting to hang my laundry out to dry, which I oddly like doing.
  16. Takuan--pickled daikon radish, which I adore.
  17. The food in general rocks my socks off.
  18. The rice is superb.
  19. The miso is superb.
  20. They make French-inspired desserts; I swoon for mille crepe.
  21. Street crepes in Harajuku.
  22. Sunshine City.
  23. Japanese movie theaters, which are interesting.
  24. Book-Off, my dear, dear used bookstore love.
  25. Kappabashi, which I could go wild in.
  26. The scramble crossing in Shibuya, which I adore.
  27. Daikanyama.
  28. CHEAP HEALTH CARE even without insurance.
  29. People love crafts here. Really, really love them.
  30. Everything is Jenny-sized. I am the average size of a Japanese woman. None of my new pants are too long.
  31. The fruits and vegetables are slightly pricey, but they're excellent quality to cook with and eat.
  32. Shinkansen, baby!
  33. Kichijoji
  34. Tokyu Hands, which can be addictive.
  35. Konbucha with shiso--it tastes like you're drinking the sea.
  36. Mugicha, my new fave drink.
  37. The way that everyone really takes their jobs seriously. Even at a convenience store, they really want to do a good job. It goes beyond work ethic, I think.
  38. The arcades, oh, the arcades. I think they're more fun with a friend though.
  39. The energy and the life and the purpose that everyone here has. I know people portray Japan as apathetic, but where some see apathy, I see masses of people living their lives side by. Individually, they may be apathetic, but collectively, they're hugely powerful. I love watching everyone just LIVE, side by side.
  40. And finally, the three gong-strokes at the local temple, precisely every morning at 6 am.
I will come back here one day, I know it.


Deb Salisbury said...

Japan sounds perfectly wonderful. I still hope to visit someday.

I'm going to miss your posts on your adventures there!

lotusgirl said...

My 15 year old daughter just got back from two weeks in Japan and has decided she wants to live there. It sounds like a wonderful place to live.

Soratian said...

Great list!

ryan field said...

Have a good trip home. Can't believe you're on your way back already.

CKHB said...

My daughter is wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt at this very moment. And I am right there with you missing the real Japanese pickles... and I have a recipe for PROPER Japanese noodles if you want! Took me forever to find it.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

CKHB, I'd love to have the recipe for the noodles!

I'm debating whether my homeowner's association would let me hang daikon outside for two weeks to dry, so I could make takuan... I'm thinking they'd flip out.