Yesterday, over drinks, somebody cornered me to ask which I prized most- movies, music or reading. A terrifying question, to be sure. I wrestled with the answer, and what it said about me. Continue reading “Slowburn Playlist”
I’ve learnt a lot about Japan in the last nine months, as I’ve got to grips with life in an unfamiliar society. I’ve written about urban geography, muzak, religion and death customs, sumo, cuisine, historical memory, work-life balance, design, international relations, arcades, football, nature, volunteering, technology and rabbits, as well as a hell of a lot about travel. Well, today, I’m writing about me, and I’m keeping it relatively short. Continue reading “Blossomfall”
I was chatting to a German guy on Tuesday morning as we shambled into town in the sunshine. We were holding forth on music, videogames, the merits of our various hometowns, the strange chaos of Japanese cities, and particularly on history. We spoke about the Berlin Wall, and how it created and still shapes the modern city. It arguably stopped Berlin from dominating Germany the way London does the United Kingdom, or Paris does France.
It came to me that all cities have a Berlin Wall, a dividing line that separates the city into two types of governance, two personalities, two essences. All cities have work attire and evening gear. All cities are transformed, lycanthropic and howling, at night, and wake up naked in the woods at dawn under the fading moon, with blood on their teeth. All cities are mixed metaphors. All cities are two cities*.
And why should here be any different?
There’s a café/bakery at Itsukaichi called the Little Mermaid, which I dearly love- it’s part of some behemoth baking conglomerate, but hey. I love it because serves tasty pastries and bread products, alongside donuts filled with cauliflower curry (which are bloody good) and sesame-coated pounded rice cakes containing sweet red bean paste*. I love it because it’s light and airy, and feels like part of a community. The coffee there, and generally in Japan, isn’t quite to my taste, but it’s still half-decent.