Japan is really f***ing cool.
I admit, it could be my starry eyes alighting on their first bold sight, but I don’t believe that alone explains my sense of belonging here. That I feel like I could live here is also a daring conclusion, as I have no friends or contacts here and I barely know anything about Tokyo. Putting naivete aside, looking intentionally at people’s interactions, their style and movement, the fashioning of the city, I confess to considering staying here long term already.
There’s a few points that I take as clues of why I should be so smitten:
1) I’m picking up the language fast, relatively speaking, for having started learning grammar this morning. And I so, so wish I had more of it down. Unexpectedly, this is suddenly a top five language I want to achieve fluency in, having heard it spoken for less than 24 hours.
2) The Japanese people are so beautiful and extremely diverse looking. They have seemingly achieved a total cultural grasp of “cool,” evidenced by the most attractive expressions of grunge, punk, preppy, casual, and even traditional kimono clothing I’ve ever seen. Furthermore, while the sliver of population I’ve seen has proven to fit all shapes and sizes, for the most part everyone has very slim and athletic figures, which ain’t so bad. I hadn’t realized either how much my Dad carries features that look distinctly Japanese, until now that I’m here. It’s comforting, if probably alarming to who I’m looking at intently, to see similarities so far away. And the babies and toddlers are soooo adorable.
3) I heard one siren today. One, in a major metropolitan area. LA sounds like a fascist police state by comparison.
4) I saw two sets of street pantomimes enacting wild stories for their child audiences, and they were so fun for everyone watching, proving that people here love to laugh and stop for a good show. One performer even had me pull the cracker for the end of his show, the only gaijin in the audience.
That’s a good start to a long list.
The photo here was taken at the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, a religious site dating back to an opening recorded in 645 CE. Visitors get fortunes and pull incense smoke towards themselves in hopes of finding good fortune and healing powers. My lucky draw suggested that I have picked a very good time to travel (its words, not mine) and to stay humble of the excellent fortune I have coming, wherein all my prayers will be answered. I certainly hope it’s right!