Monday, May 14, 2007

A clean and Alien place

I love Philadelphia in it's own right. I am home there. But I love Tokyo. I've been back to Harajuku to see the Gothic Lolita and other eccentricities that the young crowd there has to offer and I want to do some shopping there at some point, even if I don't get to buy anything from the incredible stores within La Foret. Tokyo is so clean and well worked, things are how they are supposed to be. I don't feel any more foreign here than I do among the crowds at Temple, I just don't feel that I can disappear into the background as well. So while I'm no more alone here than I am back home, I stand out twenty times as much. But that's okay.

Some of my Japanese is returning. I'm so rusty after not being able to take it for three years. My guides names are Toko, Yuka, and Harumi. I talk to Harumi most. They're all very sweet.

The metro yesterday was an experience to say the least. While I've been on the metro here quite a bit since I first arrived (I've probably spent 5,000 yen on it being as it's the best way for me to get around) it has never been quite so crowded. Yuka said that there was probably a train suicide on the other line which is why it was delayed and everyone was piling onto the train we were taking. We could have entered one of those contests to see how many people you can fit in one tiny car, there were so many people on that train. When we started out, we barely pushed ourselves on and were standing on the left side. By the end, we had been squished in so tight that we were more towards the right side of the train. And as people got off and on there was a current of sorts, it felt very similar to being swept away by the ocean tides. Luckily we were to exit the train at our stop on the right hand side so when the doors opened (we were right up against them, no lie) we stumbled off and quickly out of the way of the swarms of people. Incredible.

Tokyo is an amazing place. I wish that my Japanese was better. Tokyo is also a fairly expensive city if you're not careful. Or maybe I just feel that way since I have no income and am eating away at my savings. But while I love this place, I feel no different here than I do back home. No more alienated, no less alienated...maybe I'm just gaijin no matter where I go.

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