(Tokyo Tower behind the Rainbow Bridge, taken from Odaiba a new part of Tokyo build all on "reclaimed" land)
This is now one of my favorite Tokyo pictures, if not one of my favorite moments. Tokyo can be filled with grit and grime and drunk annoying old men, at times, but at other times it is beautiful. strikingly breathtakingly beautiful. And this night, holding hands with Joe as the lights came on across the city and the sun set and lit the clouds, it was.
One of my goals when I first came to Japan was to make Tokyo home. I figured if I could make a place like Tokyo home, I could make anywhere in the world home. Like Sinatra says about New York, New York --If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. I know that I wrote in November that I felt like I'd failed in that goal, but recently I feel like I've been doing better. My apartment is now organized to a degree that defies what I ever thought possible of myself and feels like home. It's small, but it's kinda cozy too. I have Alison's beautiful quilt on one wall, reminding me of my mom's garden, and a bright yellow curtain letting the sunshine from a window along the the other wall.
At this point, I know the trains and subways much better than the average Japanese commuter (or so modest students tell me, at least). I spend a lot of time going all over greater Tokyo to one school or another and am currently pretty zen with my topsy-turvy commute. I read a lot. I've worn my iPod out and will soon replace it. I enjoy watching people. I can put on mascara despite the jerky train like a pro. I feel like I have untangled the mess of subways and trains and made them my domain. My br'er patch, if you will.
These days, I spend a lot of my free time, if not out and about with friends, in parks. I go out to a park almost every weekend. I walk a lot. Especially now that the days are longer, I walk for hours in the city until it gets dark or I get cold. I'm finally (after a half a year in this neighborhood!) not getting completely lost all the time. I sit in parks and blow bubbles and talk to people. I observe, I wander, I claim this city--this megalopolis--as my own.
I am slowly becoming a city mouse who likes the good food and shiny skyscrapers and doesn't mind the smog and noise. Tokyo always feels so alive with buildings going up every which way and people flowing from one place to the next. It's overwhelming, but it's fun too.
But what made it feel most like home was showing it off. 'sonicllama' came for a long weekend visit and we did lots of cool touristy things, some of which I'd never done--like go up Tokyo Tower. I got to show off my favorite parks and streets, show off some of my favorite restaurants, re-explore some of my favorite places with fresh eyes. I got to say, "look! this is my city!" and that, saying that and feeling a certain pride about it, made everything feel even more like home.
He and I stood, looking out the window as the train crossed Tokyo Bay, holding hands and marveling at the Tokyo skyline, him thinking of how big and marvelous the world is and me thinking of this as my home. It was a beautiful breathtaking moment.
and this was just too cute not to blog: