My Indian Friend, The Salary Man, and Mr. Lebanon

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I set off for Tokyo to get on the plane at Narita the morning after my sisters exhibition. I decided to make the trip by Seishun which is a cheap ticket only available three times during the year.  The ticket is cheap, but it can take a long time (An estimated 10 hours all the way to Tokyo).

I got a funny feeling when I started to pack. I was so busy in the days prior to leaving, so I didn’t have too much time to think about what I was going to do. Coming back from my last trip to Singapore, I was high on excitement. I wanted to travel more and somehow make it possible to do it often. Now after a year of working and going through the motions, my actions became very stiff and uniform. I was sad at the thought of this years trip not being as impacting as last year’s.

I started walking down the hill at five in the morning along with other neighbors who were running down the hill to be on time for work.

The whole ten hours on the trains were a blur. I was exhausted throughout the whole 7 transfers. The most interesting part about the journey was having a head-shaking contest with a baby that was sitting next to me at one point.

Tokyo is apparently 475 kilometers from where I live. It is not terribly far, but they seem like different worlds to me. The feeling of the city and people are different compared to the ones in Kansai. Couples seem more affectionate in Tokyo, and would kiss, hold hands, and hug in public where I have not seen that much in here. It was nice to see so much love in the cold air.

My friend offered to let me stay at his apartment for one night. The only catch was that he would not come home until late. In Japan we call the people with corporate jobs “Salary Men”. The people in Japan work like dogs and my friend was no exception. He works from 8:00 in the morning and gets home at 12:00 at night. Even when he gets home he works until 3:00 doing other research for the company.

Until I met him, a friend from Lebanon took me around the town. He knows me well, and brought me to an awesome Starbucks and ordered me something with extra cream.

I finally met my Salary man friend when the clock struck midnight. Suit and briefcase in all, he looked different from the university student I had known him as.

He helped me get ready for the following morning. I managed three hours of sleep and I was off the following morning to catch a plane at Narita airport.

I planned to meet the Indian friend at the airport at 8:00 AM. I came ten minutes early and he came ten minutes late.

He would be my travel buddy along with two others for the next couple of weeks. What would this trip bring? Only time would tell.

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I always make promises

I am coming back to my writing as if I am coming out of a hazy dream. I can say the same for all my yesterdays, but more so for the past two weeks because they were out of the ordinary of my so-called everyday life. I was not working and was on vacation.

It is not a bad thing to let yourself decide to take a break, but when you discover yourself being tired from even the vacation, it is a dreary thing for your body and soul. While beautiful things happened and many laughs were shared on various occasions, I feel a great need in myself to travel and leave behind a life that I have seem to have outgrown. I do not mean that when it relates to people, for all those that I know never stop challenging me in positive ways. I, however, seemed to have stopped challenging myself.

I constantly make promises in what may seem to be honorable endeavors, but instead of falling though, I fall down and always take five steps backwards when not even two were taken.

Coming back home from Tokyo and Nagano, I had spent a total of twenty hours of train travel alone. Along with those twenty hours came with a lot of contemplating. I do not know if the intense thinking will manifest itself and provoke a positive change in my life, but I can only hope that it will.

I can only hope.

Eye Candy from Shibuya

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Found these when I was walking around the Shibuya Tokyo area.

First: Very cute cellphone straps and magnets that are in the shape of every kind of food.

Second: I went past a cute noodle shop and this caught my eye. YES NOODLE STORE IM HAPPY.

Third: An Italian restaurant that I saw. It was over-grown with plants. A new gardener is in need.

Lost in Tokyo

Morning:

When the WIFI is gone and I am left by myself in a different city, my mind panics a bit. Not panicking in the typical sense, but I  never know what to do with myself. I want to open the fridge to brainlessly check to see if anyone liked my status or saw my blog post- but I can’t. There is no fridge.
 
I sketched my breakfast this morning which consisted of sandwiches and lukewarm hot chocolate. It is difficult for me to draw food- especially warm food. I did not mind in Singapore or Bali because I had no appetite whatsoever. In my natural habitat however, I am infamous for pigging out. It takes great willpower on my part to draw then eat.
 
Today, I will attempt to find Tokyo Tower or Sky Tree. Before that, I want to go to Shinjuku and Shibuya because it seems to be the thing to do. I hope to not get lost. The problem is that I have no internet. I am alone with my thoughts and left to doing things the old fashioned way.
 
 
Noon:
 
I was pleased when I got handed free samples of new snacks and crackers on the street. In Osaka we only get tissues and fliers.
 
I walked around all morning and I found myself in a famous Shrine in Harajuku. It was nice to listen to all of the different languages. I have never seen so many tourists in my life.
I bought a little good-luck charm for a friend. The women selling them did not look happy to be there though. They should buy some of their own items.
 
When I left, I went to go draw in front of the station. A woman approached me asking to sign my name for world peace. She handed me a trinket and asked for a donation. She did not seem to speak Japanese or English. I told her in both languages that I could only give a small amount. After I signed my name, I gave her 100 yen and she looked  displeased. 
 
Coming back, I wandered around looking for a place to eat lunch. As I was walking, the thought went through my head, “I hope to make a good friend”. I continued my search and in the corner of my eye I spot a kebab stand. The prices looked fairly reasonable, and I liked the idea of sitting outside on such a beautiful day. 
 
I ordered and made small talk with the worker. I found out that he was from Morocco and is currently working at random cafes in the area. We continued to talk for an hour after that and we agreed to meet again after he finished work. 
Later in the afternoon, we grabbed a couple of drinks from the convenience store and chatted in a local alley.
 
What he observed about Japanese people is that they are competitive and do not like to talk about personal issues. “Everyone wants to be better than everyone else, showing off their pictures, bags, or clothes- they don’t know how to be themselves.”
 
We talked about life and how to live.
He told me that we each have a mind and a heart. We listen to both at different times and when we have conflicting emotions, that is when the heart and mind do not agree. At those moments we have to learn to make the best choice. 
If you do not feel at peace about something, leave it. If you forget about it, you will feel better.
It was a lovely talk and I hope to see him again. Thank you Man from Morocco for making my day.
 
Evening:
 
After doing a little bit of shopping, I drew my dinner and dozed off in a cafe’. The sofas were like marshmallows. 
 
There are many people in Tokyo. Everywhere I look I see swarms of ants. The good thing about riding the trains in such crowds is that you could fall asleep and you would not have to worry about falling over. 
 
The first day is over and I will start working tomorrow. I am looking forward to it I am praying that I will be able to find the meeting place. Wish me luck!