When I moved to Japan, one of my concerns was being “cut off” from some of the things most familiar to me; familiar foods, familiar places, even familiar people. I was worried I’d be unable to find something I really needed, or wouldn’t have access to things I really enjoyed (hi, Hulu!). What I found was that I didn’t miss those things I thought I’d miss so much. One of my first quests was to find tortillas, but I found that tortillas weren’t something I couldn’t live without, so I stopped searching. I’m sure they’re out there somewhere in Tokyo, I just didn’t make enough of an effort to find them. Now that I’m back in my hometown I find that I miss having only that one small inconvenience. Sure, I didn’t have tortillas, but there was so much more I did have.
Those rice cracker snacks that Naoko introduced me to during my first week in the office? They’re probably in most grocery stores in Japan, but here? No way. I get pangs of anxiety when I look at the level of remaining eye makeup remover I bought before I left the country; there is no equivalent of that foamy-face-washy magic in stores here! If I want a good bowl of ramen? I’m out of luck. My stomach growls for a giant bowl of the stuff (as well as entertaining and awkward conversations with the chef from my favorite place in Akihabara). There’s no trains, subways, or even buses in my town. There are no good places to sit and people watch, no quirky cafes, and all of those amazing people I came to know and respect are half the world away.
This isn’t to say Oregon is bad. Here is where I have my family, an oven, my car (which I rarely use anymore), mountain views, and a few cats to harass (when they aren’t making me sneeze). I mentioned in a post several months ago how Oregon and Tokyo are on different ends of the beauty spectrum. I still believe that’s true, but it has become increasingly clear where I place my personal lifestyle preferences on that spectrum. I found a photo I emailed to myself from my phone this summer. It’s from my favorite place in the city – the dock at Odaiba at sunset.
Yeah, we don’t have that here. But until I return, I’m trying to make the most of what is available here that you can’t get there…which really means I’m going to be sure to eat a ton of reeses pieces.