Despite great strides made over the past six months toward acclimating to a different, and in part less familiar culture, there are things I miss almost daily about Tokyo, my city of twenty-eight years. A look at the calendar tells me that 184 days have passed since arriving in this little Florida town on the beach. Half a year, quite a lump of days, but even still, few days pass when I don’t say to myself, ‘Wish I could run out to Tower and pick up a Monkey Majik CD.’ Or maybe, ‘Sure would like to have some ebi tendon at Futaba.’ ‘Maybe I’ll go to Maruzen tomorrow and check out the new Sailor ink.’
I wrote to a friend in Tokyo yesterday asking if she would mind sending something I badly need and can’t find here. Leaving Tokyo in late April, I packed six of the notebooks long used for both journal and first drafts of writing projects. Guess it’s because of more free time here, but now all but the last pages of the last Life Noble Note notebook are filled.
Been unable to find in my area here, a café or coffee shop where I can pass an hour or so doing a John Lennon—watching the wheels go round, scribbling in my journal and occasionally blotting errant drops of iced coffee from the pages. I miss the sunbright third floor of Doutor Café in Kugayama…miss that late afternoon coffee hour.
Think too about the numbers of young Japanese boys and girls I so often passed among, those of the green hair and pierced lips, the boys in skirts, the girls in hot pink hightop Keds. The hooked-up youth nose down in cell phones, plugged into iPods, draped in chains and dragging bushel-sized tote bags. The college kids on trains locked into comic books, wearing boots big and heavy enough to cross the Amazon jungle. I miss them all.
Shimizu-san was for years my regular supermarket checkout cashier at Peacock near the Kugayama apartment. She sent a New Year’s card each January first, and never a Valentine’s Day passed that she didn’t give me a box of chocolates. Now I think of her as I stroll the aisles of my beachtown Publix, remembering a faithful friend and wondering about the cost of soy milk at Peacock these days.
I had my hair cut last Friday, and not a bad job either, but it will take a lot to erase from my wants a few more haircuts from Hikaru at Minato 3710. Hardly a time that I look at my hair in the mirror and don’t miss the skill and caring service given by my Japanese barber. I wonder often enough what color Hikaru’s hair is this month. He pretty much switched colors once a month, from black to yellow, and then to orange and maybe the next month the ever popular favorite tea-brown chapatsu.
These Florida days continue to be crowded with thoughts of the daily, weekly sights and sounds that soothed and jangled my long passage through Tokyo and the whole Japan experience.