It’s not all mochi ice cream and ninja buffets here.
Ok maybe it is.
This past week, however, has served to provide many “I just want to lay in bed and not think about it” moments. You know the kind.
As some of you may or may not know, I’m going to be making a documentary while I’m here. With the whole summer ahead of me to think about this, it was easy to shrug it off and have fun. However this isn’t a Myranda’s fun time documentary, this is an independent study. You know, for school and stuff. At least that’s what I was reminded of when I received an email from my teacher prompting me to write a paper on what I planned to make this sucker all about.
“I’ve got other things to do now, I can do that later.” I said as I scampered off to eat Yakitori (basically grilled bits of every part of a chicken you can think of on a stick). And so procrastination began.
My whole week wasn’t altogether a struggle though. Saturday afternoon I met up with a Japanese friend and went sightseeing at some gorgeous temple sites.
Only after returning home did I remember my impending need for a decision. Seeking distraction I Skyped my boyfriend, Jared, and started telling him all my adventures. He was particularly intrigued by my story of going to an Egyptian restaurant and hookah bar. I prattled on about how cool the owner was. A middle aged Egyptian man who had moved here out of the blue with his brother. He’s only been in business for six months, but he blows my ability to speak Japanese away (cough been studying five years cough cough). I asked him how he studied, and he laughed and said, “Study? Why? I just live.” He then took a dismissive puff of his hookah and cheerfully went and made us drinks. He showed up later to give us free tequila shots.
“It’s just crazy how he ended up here and just picked up the language.” I gushed at Jared, “His bar is probably the only one of its kind here, and his attitude is entirely un-Japanese. Yet he manages to make life here work. How do gaijin even do that?” An intriguing train of thought that I tucked away for later.
I continued the skype call until my indecision for my doc came up. I frowned and stared off to the side, ashamed of my lack of ideas. Jared was unperturbed. “Just do it on gaijin life. It’s all around you. You’re living it. It’s incredibly unique. Interview that Egyptian guy, interview unique classmates of yours. What is it like to live in such a homogenous place?”
That’s what I’ve been thinking about all along. Coming here, in order to achieve some kind of sense of belonging, you need to either assimilate entirely or stick out proudly. At least that’s what I plan to explore. We’ll find out how it goes.
I turned in my paper last night after some kiwi ice cream. I clicked on the next tab in my browser, a map of Tokyo. That’s right friends my next adventure awaits. For Golden Week(end) I’m going to Tokyo all by me onesy. I’ll ride the bullet train, meet friends, and no doubt get hopelessly lost. Look forward to next week. Who knows what I’ll find there.