I think the Japanese deal with earthquakes so well because of the constant movement and transportation they encounter in their daily lives. We have gone on so many trains and escalators and moving things that I sometimes feel the bathroom sliding. When I lie down to sleep at night, my body always slightly wants to continue moving forward. Even right now, I can feel myself leaning in the direction of needing to go somewhere. For a culture often equated with slooowness, there is an awful lot of moving people. I may have experienced something like 12 earthquakes since arriving, and I'm not even phased by it.
So many little things are conflicting with what I expected to find here. This dichotomy between slow and hurry. Americans have fast food drive-thrus, but in Tokyo they have these little food stands that I keep seeing at most of the train stations. They are stands in the sense of being a standing building, but it also refers to how the customer eats: while standing. If anybody was going to place importance on the act of sitting down for a meal, I just would've assumed it would be the Japanese.
But today we decided to stand with the rest of them. We walked up to the building and put money into a sort of vending machine. Then we selected what we wanted to order based on little pictures and flashing lights for where to push the button, and corresponding tickets shot out along with our change. After that, we walked around to the doors and slid them open, walked inside, and had just enough room to be able to stand at the counter, and maybe turn around if I took my backpack off. The woman that I handed my ticket to--the only person behind the counter--then proceeded to make my kitsune udon in approooooximately 15 seconds. I stood there and watched the whole thing and I still can't explain how she did it. It's an udon soup with fat noodles, huge spiraling slices of green onion, and this thick piece of what I'm gonna call a tofu curd, but it's sweet and tastes a lot like inari and just soaks up all the broth so that when you bite into it, it literally bursts in your mouth. It's delicious. When you're all done eating, you slide the bowl a little toward her, nod your head, and hop onto the train that is surely waiting outside for you, or else will be there within the next 3 minutes.
Yesterday I went to my first Lomo store.
|Lomo wall supreme!!|
My friend Takuji was busy busy busy working and running around the town, but Nao had a moment to come down from her office and welcome us to the shop. She apologized for the heavy rain that day, as if she would have single-handedly postponed it for us if she could have (I believe this 100% percent). The rain in the city felt really good though, and it was nice to finally feel appropriately dressed and bust out the gloves I'd bought for the trip. After Anthony and I bought our own umbrellas (sharing was just ridiculously hard, even for a few blocks) we happily wandered through Harajuku and took on the mission of locating the Lomo store in the first place. It kinda reminded me of Seattle, only minus all of the automatic cliche stuff filling your head when you read that. The only way I can try to explain is through some sort of double negative: it's like, the rain so completely did NOT matter and did NOT have any sort of negative affect on our day, that it's existence felt completely appropriate and right. It couldn't have been any other way.
The Lomo store was wonderful, and I'm looking forward to the grand opening party of the new location this Friday night =) and in the meantime, I finally fixed my broken LC-A strap!
Also, I smiled at a black man on the train today. It was really, really nice.