Now with 23 times the population density
I’ve bid farewell to Kansai and migrated north. I will miss living amidst Kobe, Osaka, Himeji and Kyoto along with all of my friends there. I will not, however, miss the countryside. You can take the boy out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the boy. Last year was proof of that.
Like most moves, I wish I could take certain places and people with me. If I could transplant b. polpo and everyone from there down the street from me, that would be awesome. Alas, I can no more do that than I can teleport Post and Camellia here on a whim. At least not until portal technology is invented / improved upon. Though that could lead to unforseen consequences. Probably best not to cause a resonance cascade and stick to appreciating what I have for now.
While most of Kansai was left behind in the move, I am fortunate to have my best friend from the area working in Kamakura this year. While Tara lived only one town over last year, I have seen her more this past week than I did the last four months. She lives four times farther away, yet with the miracle of public transportation I can see her much more easily and quickly than before. I really don’t miss the countryside.
The move to Tokyo is a positive and fortunate one. There wasn’t much choice in leaving Kansai, as I was not recontracting with my old position and I was unable to secure another one in the region. There was a period where I was greatly concerned where I would live and work in Japan. The possibility of being unemployed and homeless was very real. Thankfully, that did not come to pass. Maybe the Big Guy Upstairs likes me after all.
Finding a position in Tokyo was accomplished thanks to a little bit of proactive job hunting aggression on my part and a lot of luck or divine providence. Prior to the foreigner exodus, jobs in Tokyo were not easy to acquire. Even after, good jobs in Tokyo and the 23 wards are hard to get, and I secured mine before the flyjin phenomenon. I will be teaching in Ota-ku. For those of my friends who understand a little bit of Japanese, yuck it up. “Hahaha you’re teaching in geek! How appropriate! What, is it an extension of Akihabara?” Yes. Exactly. Hilarious. Ota-ku (大田区）is the southern most ward of Tokyo. Its kanji means big rice field ward, and is pronounced differently than otaku. Though it is similar enough that I must admit it is kind of funny.
The flyjin phenomenon left many apartments and guesthouses that were previously occupied vacant. An excellent situation for me as I needed to find a place in a very short amount of time. As I am yet to fully realize my budget, schedule, schools, or the neighboring areas there-in I have elected to stay in a guest house for the next three months. In that time I can find a suitable apartment to fit my needs. I am happy with my guest house so far, and will go into more detail about that in another post.
My time in Tokyo so far is brief, yet the consequences of the recent tragedies remain. Tokyo feels very un-Tokyo like. Normally quite decadent, bright and loud there is an air of solemnity and concern. Many of the neon lights, massive television screens and megaphones that would normally blare day and night are turned off to conserve energy. There are fewer people in a rush, and fewer people out in general. The normal intensity of Tokyo appears toned down.
I am often asked if I am afraid to be in Tokyo, both from people in Kansai and from people I meet in Tokyo. There are fewer foriegners and tourists. I’ve stayed in near empty hostels that are normally packed and rarely see other foreigners in Akihabara. There is much concern and worry over what may come, but that appears to be subsiding.
In time I expect everything will return to as it once was. In the meantime I get to observe a post disaster Japan recover from the inside. Despite media claims there is little to fear, but Japan does need support. The best way you can do so is come to Japan. Recovery comes quickest with the help of tourism dollars.