I have been coming to Japan every year for the past seven or eight years. Before that it was a few times per year on business. Friends and colleagues still ask why I like coming here. Unfortunately, there’s no real one word or phrase answer to that question.
…but the devil… has been busy posting as fast as humanly possible given all the stimulus here, food-wise but today, as I exited a train on the Yamanote line in Meijiro, I stopped and looked around. I decided that it is time to attempt to answer this nagging question.
There is just something magical about Japan, and Tokyo especially, that transcends any stereotype of geisha, all-sushi-all-the-time, people being jammed into trains, or Asian mysticism. If you look really, really hard, you will see proud people everywhere, going about their business in a (mostly) quiet way, enjoying some pretty simple pleasures.
Food is a big part of that but so is the way people socialize, their attitudes about subtly but definitively expressing themselves (the picture above is but one example I found today), how they dress (it seems like everyone you see is dressed to kill), and how they treat one another (with kindness and definite respect). So I can attempt to answer the question by saying that when I’m here, I feel so much more like I am part of something that cannot be duplicated in the US.
Wanting and being wanted is a big part of being in love. You feel both elated in the moment and a bit scared that it might somehow go away in an instant. I’ve got it bad for Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) and it is now time to put the love affair into long-distance mode. And like a far-away lover, I’m already yearning to come back and resume the romance. I don’t know if it will be next year or in a few years but right now, the future doesn’t matter but spending my last 24 hours intensely loving this city does.
(We have many more posts in the works about these two food-laden weeks in Tokyo and those will resume after we return to the US next week…thanks to all my friends here that provide invaluable input and discoveries, thanks to you for staying tuned and for all of the kind compliments about …but the devil sends the cooks.