Visit Tokyo and you will find an incredible place, full of contrasts. Traffic and chaos. Silence and Noise. Colour. Saturation. Washed out alleyways draped in deep pink plum blooms.
The busy hubs that circle the Yamanote line transform themselves into bright, electric wonderlands after dark. Nightlife on steroids. During the day, posh, formal kimono-clad university graduates with fags hanging out their mouths or dangling from their hands dot the streets around the Imperial Palace. Endless Yatai (street stalls) set up on random streets during festival time. Locals pottering about for their fill of okonomiyaki and Asahi. Colourful splashes of life in a sea of monochrome.
There is something magical about Tokyo. Something poetic. They celebrate everything—there is a festival for cherry blossoms, summer fireworks, autumn leaves, coming of age. There is an optimism and solemnity that heralds the new year.
We lived there for 3 years and every day I found something novel in the city. A new sight, a new smell, a new taste. New words. The feeling of safety when you walked down the streets at night.
I feel melancholy when I remember our time there. Memories of dashing up the street to the “Kombini” (convenience store) at midnight for Sapporos and Chu Hai. Trying to keep up with SMAP’s japanese lyrics on a karaoke TV filled repetitively with Mr. Bojangles (so random). Taking a steamy “ofuro” bath in our apartment in Spring, filling it with cherry blossom bath balls that reeked of cherry medicine.
I love our life now, but I loved it then for all its difference and excitement.