Tokyo city, that is.
The moment I stepped off the plane in this glorious city, I truly felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. This is not to suggest that I am a size 0 or fashionable in anyway (that would be the day), but because I feel a sense of accomplishment and energy when walking down the streets of Tokyo that Carrie Bradshaw seems to feel when walking in Manhattan. I love this city. I love it`s energy, I love it`s people, I love the culture.
Perhaps my Carrie Bradshaw thought stems from the fact that I watched the Sex and the City movie on the 13 hour plane ride over here. I watched this near the end of the flight, marking at least 20 straight hours without sleep. I was delirious. It definitely showed. While other people were sleeping comfortably or enjoying a glass of complimentary wine, I was crying hysterically at scenes that wouldn`t normally faze me. In fact, I had to pretend I was asleep multiple times, as the flight attendants made there way down the aisle offering coffee, water, and food. Luckily, due to my crafty skills, they did not have to encounter my psychosis directly, though I am sure this was due more to their avoidance than anything else.
After the flight, I stepped out of the plane and navigated my way to Tokyo city. Keep in mind that it is more humid than any place I have ever been right now, which is sort of messing up my Carrie Bradshaw vibe. It is much busier than NYC though, and Tokyo truly does have a heartbeat of her own. How do I feel? Light as a feather, prancing down the streets of Tokyo, finding the stares comforting in some odd way, and excited for the future. How do I look? Well, I`ll describe it....I am at least 5 sizes larger than the average woman, my hair is matted to my sweaty face due to the humidity, I am gasping for air while trying to keep up with the pace, while people are staring at the giant white lady who is obviously lost. Okay, so I am not as hot as Carrie Bradshaw, but I feel like her ;)
Long story short, it has been nothing short of a whirlwind here. I have not taken time to recover from jet lag (and am just gonna keep going until I shake it out of my system!). I have met with the lovely Fulbright folks here as well as my coworkers at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry...they are truly taking care of me. I have found a place with the help of my coworkers in the city of Kokubunji, which is located on the periphery of the heart of Tokyo. Though it is a bit expensive, it is SO BEAUTIFUL. I love it. I am moving in today. Big thanks to Ai Fujimoto, who has allowed me to invade her home this week. She will be a great friend in this city, for sure.
I have literally traveled all over Tokyo at this point and am a master of the subway system. Master as in I haven`t gotten completely lost. I feel like a person who has just jumped into roaring rapids with vertigo. This scenario fits perfectly. I have chosen to jump into this sea of madness willingly, and am loving the excitement of it all. I am completely disoriented, though, and am blowing bubbles to see which way is up. Sometimes it is hard to tell which way is up. My plan is to follow the bubbles to the top. Not rocket science, but still an important accomplishment. Thank goodness for bubbles.
If there is one lesson I have learned this past week, it is to dive right into new experiences. Instead of shying away from them, just go for it. Life is a series of transitions all the time. The better we get at transitioning, the faster we can adapt to the excitement that change truly offers. Though I am not a graceful diver, I can at least keep my bathing suit on. And I love this stuff.
I will meet with my boss next week to hit the ground running with research. I am excited to get the ball rolling. Everything administrative should wind down as of next week, which is pretty darn fast! By this time next week, I will have moved into my place and started the routine that will become the next year of my life. Well, not a routine perse, but an adventure.
I wish I could end with something witty (as a tribute to Sex and the City), but instead I will end with one of my favorite Carrie Bradshaw quotes (the one I try to live by!):
`Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.`
Kanpai to that.
p.s. - Pictures to come soon!