Impressions of my first few days back in Tokyo

I have been back in Japan for the better part of a week and my general impression is that not much has changed. In Tokyo people still rush slowly, the trains create the illusion of order and people still like the 80’s. I guess that I am probably best equipped to adjust because there does not seem to be much to adjust to.

Wandering around the east-north part of Tokyo feels like familiar ground, the area I called home for quite a few years. As I look for a place to live I remember having gone through the same selection processes many times and still have an innate fear of being rejected for my non-Japaneseness. It hasn’t happened yet this time, but it feels just around the corner. Once in the past when looking for an apartment I found a listing that actually said “Pianos OK, Pets OK, Foreigners NO”. I was not too happy to be put below pianos and dogs as suitable tenants as I am sure that I am quieter and speak better Japanese than either. I will have to see how it goes this time.

Starbucks still seems to be the only true bastion of non-smoking, so the reason I got into Starbucks in the first place is being further reinforced. How people can want to cover the aroma of coffee with cigarette smoke I will probably never truly understand.

Everywhere I go I am inundated with ads for useless, so-called “cutting edge” devices and gadgets, things like full compact sized cameras that double as unusually large phones and phones whose biggest feature appears to be the ability to print Christmas and New Years cards directly from your phone to a home printer… I would really be excited to sign a 2 year phone contract for a phone with those features! No wait, I wouldn’t. I tend to like to think more than 1 month in advance.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being here, but the image definitely does not match the reality. Luckily, it is the reality that I am used to.

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