Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oh my god, ramen.


Ah Japan. I`ve been here twice before, but I`m back again, as a sort of post grad-school break. I`ve come alone, as a way to try to figure myself out, and plan to work on farms and explore the countryside, which I`ve never seen.

I landed in Tokyo two weeks ago, full of movies from the flight and a dazed sense of purpose. It`s bewildering to be dropped into a completely new place, new sounds and smells and words from every direction. My brain had nothing to go on, nothing familiar, no way to filter out any of the information I was being bombarded with. Living like that is incredible - overwhelming, but each moment stretched into infinity as I simultaneously smelled the steam of cooking noodles, heard a thousand mouths spewing Japanese, and tried to read every character I recognized on every one of the thousand signs that surrounded me. Marvelous.

Here I got to stay with a friend (thank you Mimi!), and loved seeing how steeped in history the city is. It`s old. Temples sit, surrounded by park, in the middle of the city. Probably built before the city was more than a town. A five minute walk from them, you can find towering office buildings, multilevel arcades spewing noise and light, and oh, ramen. The finest contrivance of noodle and broth. Pure rich butter on the tongue. Ah.

Tokyo is big. The biggest city on the planet (by a lot). It is, however, ridiculously safe. People here leave bikes unlocked, wallets get returned untouched, I was going to check into a hostel late so they just left the key out for me. Just left it out. Ridiculous. It is a fun city - fast and bright and big - but as I said, I came here to see the countryside.

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