Yesterday marked the end of our first full month in Japan. I’d hoped to have a little post about what it’s been like so far, but this cold’s really got me down in the dumps. Suffice it to say we’re having a lot of fun and I’m still happy I made this decision. I might be driving Mike crazy, though, because I keep saying, “oh man, I wonder if we’ll miss this when we’re home” or pointing out what things might be different when we get home.
I’m realizing how much I identify with New York here. Having grown up between New York and New Jersey and living in Staten Island of all places, I sometimes felt like a “fake” New Yorker… like I wasn’t a real city person. For goodness sake, my only clear memory of the twin towers is 9/11. But being here makes me miss home all that much more. Now, I’m not sad or anything like that. But boy, do I miss bagels and not being stared at and, yes, even the smell. It might be garbage, but it’s home.
I also have yet to tell anyone I’m from America or the U.S. Whenever people ask, I say New York. That’s always kind of been the case. I can clearly remember a day in class sophomore year where we were discussing identity in one of my many post-colonial literature classes, and my professor mentioned the distinction between New York City and New York State to the out-of-state (aka majority) of Wagner’s students. They were kind of baffled – they’d never even thought of it.
Sometimes living in the city disillusions you, or you take things for granted. We may scoff at the 1 Asian, 1 black/Latino, 1 handicap ratio in all advertising, but think of the message behind it. Everyone’s included, everyone’s equal. One of the strangest things for me to date has been seeing nothing but Japanese people everywhere. On the street, on the trains, on the posters, billboards, and products. Everything is geared toward Japanese people and that’s all there is. I miss my bustling, dirty city with panhandlers and crazies alike.
I would also like to share with everyone the absolutely wonderful gift my dear friend Margaret sent:
She always gives the best gifts.
Here are some photos of us through the years: