From my journal, dated 10 November 2019:
I’m sitting in my new apartment, at my new desk, listening to Dinah Washington. Earlier, I came home from dinner with Aurora, put away the new vintage blouse and skirt I’d bought in Shimokitazawa, lit some incense and made some tea.
This is the life I wanted in Tokyo. THIS. Being me, just here, not living in some tiny room with near-strangers next to a noisy street crowded with tourists and lit by flashing neon lights. While I suppose the latter is more Tokyo, the former is more me. I feel like I can continue the existence I began in Kanazawa, but also with the big city delights that I needed. This is perfect.
The apartment itself is still not totally perfect. I still don’t have internet. I haven’t been able to totally hook up my washer. I need the plumber to come look at the bathroom sink. I still need a lot of things for the kitchen, and a couple of bits and bobs like hardware to hang things on the walls and extension cords and the like. But it feels like a home already. Finally.
What I didn’t expect was for this move to completely, totally derail my life. I’ve barely written in months, and certainly haven’t put up any new blog posts for myself or for Japan Forward. I meant to knit something for Aurora’s baby and totally forgot. I haven’t been swing dancing in over a month. I’ve been reading, but that’s about it. I’m ready to get going again and revive my creative self.
Man, it feels good to be back.
As I mentioned previously, I desperately needed to move to regain my sanity. I knew that moving would be a process, and here in Japan would probably be a much bigger deal than in other places I’ve lived, but it truly was an odyssey of proportions that I couldn’t have imagined. For months, I simply couldn’t focus on anything but the move. Writing, nay, anything creative, just went out the window.
Something that’s been on my mind for the past few months and which was really highlighted during the move is the expectation versus reality of living in another country. You expect and hope to do all these cool, interesting cultural things, and you do do them sometimes, but other times you just live your life because that’s how it goes. Last month, a new emperor was crowned here in Japan, truly a once in a lifetime experience to witness. Where was I on Coronation Day? At IKEA.
So I think, moving forward, that’s the direction where I will focus my gaze. Not on simply traveling around Japan and Asia, but the living. Which, naturally, still has a vast component of cultural experiences and fuck-ups, but with perhaps a more narrow lens. Expect stories of my run-of-the-mill neighborhood katsu restaurant, the mysterious ways in which people use dating apps (language exchange via Tinder, anyone?), and of course, a detailed account of the moving saga. I can’t wait to get started.