Oh, how perfectly I have named this blog. I’m surrounded right now by this bubble of the surreal, and I think that may be what’s keeping me from freaking out entirely. It’s real now. I’ve been living in Tokyo for almost a week. I’ve been one of thousands hustling under the crazed neon glare of Shinjuku. It’s no longer something shiny in the distance, but I still can’t quite believe I’m living this life.
What will it take to convince my brain that what’s going on here is reality, and not some unusually long dream? It’s not enough that I can’t talk to any salesperson anywhere? It’s not enough that no one looks anything like me? It’s not enough that even the crows speak a different language? (Here it’s not “caw” but more like “ahou”). What about the fact that I haven’t eaten ketchup in six days? (Absurd, I know).
And despite my desire to be a positive person, and only focus on positive things, I must admit I have been on the lookout for the ugly. Maybe I’m just trying to be realistic? As it is, I haven’t yet experienced the “gaijin” seat on the train. I did get randomly stopped and asked for my passport while waiting for the Narita express from the airport. The cop was nice about it, but still it wasn’t fun standing around while he wrote down God knows what on his little notepad. I’ve had some staring, mostly from kids, but I just wave back at them. One time two old men were on the train and one looked at me, leaned over and started whispering to his buddy, but I like to think he was saying something along the lines of “look at that exotic gaijin (foreign) woman, oh ho ho if I were a younger man…”. Yes, I like to think that.
I expereinced the Tokyo clubbing scene and…it was exactly like clubbing in Toronto except I was surrounded by Japanese people. Alright, there were some differences. For example there were a few guys in business suits — you’d never see that in Toronto. And at one point a man came out of the woman’s bathroom (one of the guys who worked at the club). Not sure what that’s about but according to my room mate I should “not be too surprised”.
I even got to cross off one of the experiences in my “Top 7″ list. I had Kaiten Zushi my first day in Tokyo. I’d like to tell you it was everything I dreamed of and more, so I will. It was pretty cool, a good place to eat out for cheap. Although I did order one roll that…well it was nothing short of nasty, but I ordered it special so I had to man up and eat it. Thank God for pickled ginger.
I feel like I’ve made a huge twisting leap and now I’m trying to stick the landing. In my first few days here I was afraid to leave my house alone because it’s in a residential area and all the houses and roads look the same. Now I can get to the train station and back. As with anything, it’s just a matter of learning the ropes.
And on the teaching front, I’ve had my first day of training, and so far this job seems like it will be very close to what I expected. Tomorrow I get to observe some classes, so I’m looking forward to learning more about what I’m up against.
For the big finish, a picture of my pad. It’s a luxurious 1 bedroom plus den mansion with…oh wait there goes my wishful thinking impulse again. It’s a typical Tokyo room, see for yourself .