Sep 222007

You know, one of my biggest problems with this blog lately is that I’m not writing spur-of-the-moment enough. I’ll think of something I want to say, but due to time constraints I won’t get it out and eventually I’ll just forget. So here comes a completely spur-of-the-moment post, live from a stray WiFi signal at my usual spot in front of Sanjo Starbuck’s.

I’ve gone through quite a number of phases throughout my time here in Japan. At first, there was the honeymoon phase: everything around me was full of wonder, and even a simple ride to the local supermarket seemed like an adventure packed with curious sights and sounds. Then came the learning phase, where I committed almost every moment to the daunting task of becoming fluent in Japanese. Then the girlfriend phase…and we all know how that is.

And then after beginning life as an employee, my experience in Japan had become a series of ups and downs. Sometimes my days fill with frustration, and I start to think that maybe I’ve had enough – but then some random experience comes to thrust me three years into the past, back into the honeymoon phase. My heart once again fills with wonder for this land which I thought I’d understood so completely. I realize that I’ve still only but scratched the surface.

My freetime jumps between taking long-distance bikerides, to learning web programming, to studying slang from Japanese drama, to traveling to nearby beaches, to drinking and barhopping downtown, to practicing photography, to watching internet-broadcast American TV, to studying kanji, to working my way into the Osaka club scene, to chatting with friends in front of Starbuck’s, or to any number of the countless phases that my life has passed through over the last two years.

But as I sit here now, as I’ve done so many thousands of times; as I watch all of the interesting people pass by in front of me; as I respond to e-mails on my cellphone and greet the random friends who happen by; as I enjoy the Japanese rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” coming from a live band down on the riverfront; as I simply sit back, relax, and breathe in the warm Kyoto air, I realize that I really do still love living here. Part of me always will. I’ve thought many times that it would be interesting to briefly try living in China, or Thailand, or a number of other places. And as I sit here, spontaneously spilling my thoughts into this keyboard, I wonder, can anywhere really compare? I am at heart a Californian, and no matter where I go California will always be a part of me. Just as will Kyoto. The honeymoon is over, and I’ve seen this place for what it is. I know that I’ll leave someday. I know that if I were writing this after having just come home from work on a Monday, I’d be singing a very different tune. But right now, it’s a warm Saturday night in Kyoto.

I saw a huge banner draped from a building on 御池通り several months ago. All it said was 日本に京都があって、良かった.

That’s damn right.

  4 Responses to “Spontaneous Kyoto Love”

  1. Nice post… got me feeling a little sentimental. I think I felt that way at some point, before getting completely fed up with Japan and leaving. At this point I don’t know if I will ever want to go back. I hope I can rediscover some of the nuances positivity you expressed here at some point down the road. And I hope you don’t ever get to the point I am at now where you wake up every morning thinking “Thank GOD I am not in Japan!” hahah!

  2. Thanks Justin for taking me back to memories of places I’ve lived before and loved. Most sweet, some bittersweet, yet all appreciated.

  3. I told you the first time I met you thay Kyoto has a hold over certain people.

  4. Alanna: Yeah, I hear ya. Japan does have a way of making foreigners fall in love with it, and then driving them away completely. I think this often happens once a foreigner experiences work in some Japanese-run organization (be it a school, company, or whatever). The way of doing things is just, on a whole, too freaking retarded. But if you can find yourself a situation where you can live here without having to subject yourself to much of the stupidity and ignorance, life can be just fantastic.

    Note: I wrote this on Tuesday afternoon. Can you tell?

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