Japan Day 1, July 3rd

It feels surreal to be back in Japan. The feeling hit me as the train pulled out of Narita station and went above ground. Everything here is so vibrant, lush and green. Even in this overcast weather, it feels as if the sun is brighter and everything is saturated with color and life. Even the people seem to be healthier both physically and mentally than what I am accustomed to (though personal experience has taught me this isn’t true, but simply part of appearances.) For the first time in months I’ve felt the double pull of longing; the feeling that I want to be in two places, San Francisco and Japan, at the same time. There are aspects of each I miss when I am away from them, and my heart belongs to each of them.

The flight over was unquestionable the best I’ve ever had. The departure was delayed an hour, seats were cramped, the food was terrible and the movies unwatchable, but I had good company. I spent around eight houts of my ten hour flight talking / flirting with this cute and charming happa (half Romanian, half Japanese) girl named Marina. She’s spending two weeks visiting her family in Osaka, and I’m amending my plans to visit her for a day or two before she leaves on the 15th. It’s not many people I click with so easily.

My friend Nick and I planned to meet up at five, but because of the delay I was running late. I needed to call him from a pay phone at Funabashi station to rearrange the meet up, which was an adventure in its own right. I was unable to find a pay phone by looking around, so I asked a woman who worked at the nearby pharmacy. A moderate, winding walk away I found the pay phone, right where she said it would be. Unfortunately, the pay phone only accepted calling cards and not coins. So I walked back to the pharmacy and ask if they sold calling cards. They did not. I was directed to a convenience store a short walk away. I was able to buy a calling card there, but as calling cards are something of a collector’s item in Japan I went through a slightly elaborate selection process. I then walked back through the winding hallways to the phone and called Nick.

Nick’s place is a guest house in Nishi-Funabashi, and is best described as a Japanese take on American college dorms sans the immaturity and disrespect. His room makes college dorm rooms look small, but it’s nice enough and I fit on the floor comfortably. The area has a city suburb feel to it, like Cambridge does to Boston, and the people he lives with are rather nice and friendly. We spent most of the evening catching up, and me questioning what it would like if I had stayed in Japan after my first contact. Nick has a set up for himself here, though I don’t think it’s one I would want for myself. I feel pretty settled in the Bay Area, though I’ll always miss aspects of Japan. What I really need is a 3 month timeshare somewhere just outside of Tokyo.

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