Wednesday, June 1, 2016

TOKYO CITY 憶えているかい ホームの片隅で

So I've been fairly busy with a lot of things lately, and while I tried (and will continue) to keep work-related things off the blog, I thought I'd check in and note that I recently finished my job in one local Japan-related field and moved to another. I'm sad to have left my office and the great people there, but my contract was ending, and an opportunity came up that I couldn't refuse. So what this does mean for me...?

As it turns out, it means a lot of travel to Japan.

I'm so excited to have already been back to Tokyo (and eventually I want to take a vacation to my true second home Osaka, of course) and the first visit was really and truly surreal. Maybe it sounds really silly, but I think anyone who has had their heart in two countries at once can relate. It's not about Japan itself but the feeling of being immersed again in a place that was once "home" that I missed very much. 

I took the train from Narita out to Azabu-Juuban, and on the long ride, it was hard to do anything but wax nostalgic! It was early, but even on a Saturday at 8 AM, students in uniforms were taking up most of the train car. On their way to their club practices, I'd imagine. One high school-aged boy sat beside me and I immediately recognized his cologne or body spray as a familiar scent from my own classroom at 〇〇 High School. I'd never been on that train line before or seen that scenery, but just being there on that train, sitting with the Saturday shoppers and the schoolkids and breathing the air and seeing the signs fly past the window, I was feeling so natsukashii

I wasn't meeting my friend until 9:30, so I strolled through Azabu-Juuban for a time, a little wowed from how it had changed since I last visited, with Ami-chan years before. Ichinohashi Park was completely gone, and a construction site was in its place. Azabu-Juuban's main station entrace, outside the Shotengai, had also been spruced up a bit. Funny, but I never visited Azabu again after taking Ami-chan there, even when I had lots of time to kill in Tokyo in the past. I guess I felt that as a pop-culture location, most of the places I would have liked to see had already been gone for years by the time I moved to Japan. 

It was really nice walking through there though, and after a stunning only-in-Japan Cantaloupe Melon and Cream Frappuccino at Starbucks and a melon pan run, I eventually ended up in Roppongi Hills to meet my friend. We saw the Sailor Moon exhibition and had lunch at CoCo Ichiban, which I really still don't have the recipe nailed down for yet. Then we were out of time, and I had to head to work.

I was trying to pretend that this was a normal Tokyo trip like the many ones I'd taken before, but as on the visit to Japan a year ago, I couldn't shake the sense of "limited-time" urgency. I probably never will be able to manage that totally, given that when you're on a company trip, the clock is ticking. On the bright side, the next trip is already in the calendar.

See you soon.