I am quite horrible at this whole discipline to write thing. I enjoy writing. In fact, as I have social anxiety writing is one of the few ways that I can get my ideas and my emotions out to people so that they can learn that I’m actually a complex person who sees the world as complexly as they. People perceive us simply because, well, expressing our deep and complex inner selves would be just plain awkward according to social convention. In addition, I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and this creates a disparity between my social expression and my true experience of the world.
I have been writing. It’s just not been in this venue.
That being said, I have finally begun to truly enjoy my time in Tokyo. I no longer perceive my surroundings as hostile; I just simply exist here. I walk through the streets and take pictures like a tourist – not because I choose not to care but simply because I’m no longer self-conscious so the thought of its being stereotyped doesn’t even occur to me. As a result, instead of seeing Tokyo from the likely erroneous perspective of others I’m finally just existing and feeling the place directly, face to face, no perceived filters.
I’ve even taken down the maps that wallpapered my walls. It may look boring, but to me it’s refreshing and exciting as any manifestation of tabula rasa is.
Today was a beautiful day in Tokyo. I stayed in my neighborhood – Suitengu – and wandered from one fanciful site – a newly discovered shrine, etc. – to the next – an unexperienced café, etc. – until I’d found myself lost.
I’ve a propensity for becoming lost, but I’ve discovered that my talent for regaining my bearings is just as formidable.
Today is Hina Matsuri in Japan, and Shinto shrines were decorated presumably in honor of the holiday which includes the tradition of setting up an elaborate display of dolls for the happiness of little ladies everywhere and the familial hope that they’ll get married off sooner than later.
The culture shock is over. These sites that were once alien to me inciting the impulse of otherness are now interesting attractions. Perhaps ironically, post-shock I feel like a happy tourist more than ever, in part because I no longer feel the obligation to assimilate, so the pressure is removed and I can be eager and also proud of “otherness”.
I love Japan. I love Tokyo. It’s a city of such orderliness that I crave chaos from time to time although concurrently I am in awe of the concerted social harmony that has fossilized so.
Anyway, I have officially submitted my notice of resignation, and I will return to Appalachia just as the length of days is filling to the zenith of summer. I’m excited about returning home to my family, my continuing education, and my boyfriend, but a piece of me has melded with the earth of this crazy town so that I’ll always annoy my close acquaintances with “when I lived in Tokyo…” I hope to return here some day to reunite with the part of my spirit that will inevitably remain here, but I’ll be in a very different place in my life and thus Tokyo will be different to me then just as it is different to me now from when I first visited the place as a transient student who was simply passing through.