These days, I’m more stressed out than ever. I think my decision to eat that bite, was a bad one. If there is a single piece of advice that holds for everyone, that is “Don’t ‘Bite Off More Than You Can Chew'”. Thinking about that, I am reminiscent of my first month in Japan, when all was new and exciting. Pre-covid, no masks, no lab (one of the perks of being a research student is that you pretty much do nothing, apart from the occasional study of japanese language), optimal conditions for life to be lived.
One of my first friends, was a Korean girl next door at the dormitory. She has a passion for Japanese traditional culture, but she especially loves thick, flavorful maccha tea. A handful of times in a single month, we visited a tea shop called Kosoan in Jiyuu-ga-oka. Here we are with the customers sitting at the table next to us, eagerly asking for a picture together with the kimonos of these amazing baa-chan (friendly term for older ladies).
Next, is night-outs. I was going out almost every night, indulging myself into all variants of shochu and atsukan spirits. Most of the izakayas and bars I know of now, I know from that time. The picture below was taken at the first time I experienced casual racism, with 3 out of 4 of the izakayas that we tried to get into, at a night alley in Shangenjaya, saying a big no no with excuses just because they saw foreigners.
I also visited what I thought were the main attractions of Tokyo at that time (only if you have never read a travel guide to Tokyo, I was THAT much clueless). I went to lake Ashi in Hakone, walked all of my neighborhood in Nagatsuta, found out what cat cafes, village vanguard and harajuku fashion was. Then, there was Todoroki creek, the big King Kong in downtown Shimokitazawa, symphonic orchestra in Ikebukuro, korean food in Shin-okubo korean town, hanami at Meguro river and senzokuike, a bonzai festival in Saitama, the annual Sanja-matsuri shinto festival and of course the highly recommended attractions of Kamakura-Enoshima. Here is a view of the sea at Enoshima towards Fuji on a spring day (although it is not visible due to clouds).
Below you can see me feeling lost in a swarm of tourists strolling around the small streets of Enoshima. Oh, I miss that carefree attitude and the excitement of discovering Japan. Let’s hope that I get to go there again soon. And, I almost forgot, happy new year!