Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Infinite Dimensions

 

Recently, I've received some questions asking about how I dealt with what people thought before I moved to Tokyo, or how it was to leave close people behind, or how I adjusted to life here. Those aren't really easy questions to answer in a few words or even sentences. Maybe it's not possible to clearly explain at this point. But what I definitely felt, in the months before my departure from California to Tokyo, was this overwhelmingly strong sense, perhaps intuition, telling me that I was going to find something at my destination. It was simply where I needed to go then. There was no specified time period, nor sharply concrete goal. It's just where my path lead me to.

I'd like to chat just a bit about adjustment, then.
As an American in Tokyo, and arriving right away into an English teaching job, I was forced to get accustomed and fit myself in to the ticking clockwork schedule of Tokyo workers and students. Yet at the same time, of course I didn't melt in quite completely, because the cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking between Japan and the US are just so different. I found it hard to get used to the Japanese-style stooping bathrooms at schools I taught in. I first found the huge and complicated train stations - Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya - mindblowingly difficult to navigate. Within a month or two, I was finding my way around quite easily. (Having to navigate different stations every single day due to my work.) At first I wasn't quite sure what to talk about with Japanese students who had never been overseas, spoke limited English, and seemed quite shy. After a while, I began to learn how to adapt different ways of communication with different personalities of students.

In those kind of senses, I would recommend an English teaching job in Japan as a way for foreigners to get to know what life is like in this country. You may also get a flexible or non-typical (aka non-office worker) type of schedule depending on the company, and this would leave you time to explore your surroundings. Just take time to walk around, experience the naturally quiet spots as well as the bustling centers of Tokyo.

 

 As a foreigner coming to live and work in Tokyo for the first time, you will probably feel lost at times. Looking around in the train station, you might feel like everyone is walking so quickly and with such purpose, knowing exactly where they are going. But don't worry. In Tokyo, people sort of just appear this way... and you might even find yourself joining in on the walk. But it's okay to be lost. You are definitely not alone.
It helps to come across a purpose, a hobby, or just something you enjoy other than work. Taking pictures, playing music, doing sports, meeting up with new people and practicing your language skills. This city is so huge, you have to carve out your own space and not be afraid to grasp for the things you want. 

If you guys have any other questions about what it's like to live in Tokyo, feel free to let me know in the comments or via email!
I may address your question in an upcoming post :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Taste of Tokyo Rock


 

I went to see the band Deigen's show last week after work.
Such energy and passion! It was wonderful.
And I must say, I love taking live show photos of musicians in action!!




It was in a small live house characteristic of Tokyo's usual show spaces catering to indies musicians.
The kind where you are caught in the atmosphere and the sound bouncing off the walls,
where you can step right up a few feet from the stage and feel the energy flowing from everyone.

 


Check out Deigen's work here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Alina

 

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Alina from Germany. A fellow blogger with strong interests in foreign languages and cultures, photography, and fashion, Alina contacted me some weeks ago saying that she would be visiting Tokyo and if we could grab some tea. I'm so glad she invited me! It was wonderful to meet this lovely girl.




 

Alina has previously lived in the U.S. for one year and Japan for 6 months, and both her English and Japanese are very good. Furthermore, it was really easy and fun chatting with her, as she has a warm personality and we share quite a few common viewpoints and opinions. One conversation especially stood out to me, about how some people back home don't really understand why someone would want to leave their home country and travel or live overseas. I've definitely met with that perspective from my surroundings as well. I admired Alina's independence, courage, and passion.


 

Thanks Alina for taking the initiative to meet up with me! Please enjoy the rest of your trip in Tokyo, and I hope we can meet again. :)

You can find Alina's writing and photos at her blog here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fashion's Night Out Japan 2012


Fashion's Night Out Japan was Saturday, September 8, 2012, held in the Omotesando, Harajuku, and Aoyama area. An event that began in 2009 and first held in New York, Fashion's Night Out is an event that encourages consumers to support the fashion industry during the difficult economic situation. This was my first time going to the event, as I received a flyer in the mail about it and was curious to see what it'd be like.

 

Arriving at Omotesando Station near Omotesando Hills, streets were filled with people, even more than on a usual weekend. There were also many people holding cameras with huge lenses, and a general air of excitement drifting from every open store entrance.

 
 Check out the guys opening the doors.




 

Mystery guys crossing the street. This one wearing face paint was looking right at me!

 
 Inside Omotesando Hills. Juju, Anna Tsuchiya, and Ai Tominaga.
Unfortunately I missed the opening ceremony and didn't catch their appearances,
but I did see a huge line of hopeful people waiting to get their pictures taken.
Possibly by Leslie Kee?

 


Models.

 

 
 Live shirt drawing inside Laforet.

 
 DJ playing music inside Omotesando Hills.

I had heard that Fashion's Night Out in Tokyo would be one of the best nights for people-watching, and that was definitely true. Even though Tokyo usually has plenty of colorful, dynamic, and eccentrically dressed people walking its streets even on non-event days, this night really brought out some interesting and elegant looks. There were so many beautiful and beautifully-dressed people on the streets and in the stores... I couldn't tell who was a customer and who was a model sometimes! 
It was my first time attending this kind of fashion event. I think it was an experience worth having, a night of celebrating fashion and sharing it with the streets. 

I wonder what Fashion's Night Out in other cities was like? Did you attend this year, or a previous year's event?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Night in Shinjuku

 
Wandering the streets
people passing by in streams, how dizzying the motion
the lights flashing, signs beaming
the smells, the whoosh of cars on the street behind
everyone is heading, heading to their destination
back home, or to work, to have dinner, to go shopping

Out of those hundreds, thousands of people on the streets
what a miracle it was that I met you

 
 I breathe in, out, and laugh secretly to myself
our encounter was as random as the patterns of light
shifting and separating, reforming
I say random, but maybe it also had something to do
with the fate created by both our hands
and where it goes from here
can only be decided by our hands as well