Monday, August 29, 2005


I went sight-seeing on Sunday with Mick (I'm not really sure what to call him. He was one of my best friends when I was an exchange student in 97/98. I called him Mit-chan in high school, but he signs his emails 'mick' ---so if you're reading this, please tell me. what should I call you?)

We went to an island in Tokyo bay which has a big building called "JoyPolis"

What do you think? I think it sounds either like Joy Police or some sort of porno factory... please, every one who reads this should comment. I love reading the comments and I'm sure you have an opinion about this one. Would you visit a JoyPolis? I'm thinking foreign strippers in Japanese school girl outfits dancing. but maybe its just an arcade.... pachinko (Japanese slot machines) like crazy. both? maybe some little kid version thereof???

On this island there was also the statue of liberty. a miniature one, maybe only 50 feet high. also given by France, according to Mick. I should have asked the date; I'm wondering if it was supposed to be some statement that the US doesn't get the only one because we are a bunch of war mongering assholes and so the French give Statues of Liberty to all sorts of other countries.... maybe my imagination is overtaking my sensibility.

We also went to Shibuku, famous for lots of foreigners and shopping. I got a book of maps!!!! finally. with tables of subway maps. lots of people watching and walked through a pretty park and saw a shrine that was under police watch because it is also a memorial to soldiers who died in wars between Japan and Korea and China. so there are sometimes protests if the prime minister goes... or so I understood.

but it was really really great to spend the day talking with an old friend and feeling like...
feeling like I don't have re-invent the wheel.
feeling like I don't give up my friends every time I move
feeling like I don't have to be a new person all the time
like I can be a good person with a past
like I can be a happy person with a past
like I can both come from somewhere and go somewhere at once
like I don't have to abandon everything to keep moving and growing
like I can gather moss and keep rolling

and right now, that's the hardest part of life is figuring out who I am and what I want to be in this Japanese society.

where wearing a suit and makeup everyday is not a contradiction to my personality (ok, its true that I was happy when I found out I didn't have to wear heals to the childrens' school)

where fitting in is good too

where I can figure out how to have only 1 or 2 drinks

where I can have my own space and both love it and miss the tresspasses of cats/roomates/boyfriends on my space/time/energy

where I'm illiterate and out of control and trying to be calm
(I mean, so what if I miss the last train and need to wander around till the first 5am train.... is that sooooooo bad? so what if I buy something that I don't like because I can't read the ingredients? so what if I need to ask for help because I can't read my mail??? it's hard for me, but it's good)

where on time means late. where 20 min early means lazy. where one hour early for class is considered normal. where 2 min late is completely unacceptable (imagine that Darimont lab folk!! no wonder everyone's going crazy)

it's hard, on a fundamental level. but I think it's really good too. If I can create a home in Tokyo, I think I can go anywhere. If I can find myself, when I'm surrounded by such contradiction and confusion, I'll be a stronger, more grounded person. If I can figure out where I stand, I'll know what I need to do next.

and I think that's the answer to the million dollar question...."so why did you give up grad school to teach in Japan?"


Katie said...

My grad student self says: Joy Polis. City of joy. Easy. Shrug.

I know, I'm boring. They can do that to you here.

Anyway, I'm excited about all of the things you are learning. And I'm glad you have time and energy to share them with us.

Also, my kids here (though not the rest of the department, thank god) also do the super-early thing. Like, they're in their seats and ready to go half an hour early-- if the room is busy, they'll wait outside! Don't they have better things to do with their time?! Wierd...

Anonymous said...

hmm, methinks it's a strip club, all 20 floors. ???

i've often felt that when we are in our 20's, we learn as much as we do from 1-5. i guess it's more about ourselves and capabilities than about the world. 2 year olds are fascinated by moving cars while a 22 yr old would wonder about their personal moral value about cars in general. the necessity of the car? who's getting rich off me as a consumer? what's happening to the air and water? do i really need to marry a mechanic?

yes, we are our walking past and we can't change any of those events or circumstances tho all of it can be re-interpretted. don't get stuck in one interpretation. and always forgive yourself for the stumblings.

loving you. mum

Anonymous said...

joy polis = lap space, love, kibbles, squeak .. meow...

- goobis