Thursday, October 05, 2006


After decades of being an on-air person, of always having to be "positive" in front of other people, it's hard for me to make my negativity public. I keep it mostly bottled up inside, only sharing a small sprinkling with close friends now and then. When there is only an intake valve, I'm afraid there is only one way to go, eventually. Either explode, or implode. Sometimes I picture all that repressed negativity turning into a tumorous growth.

I went around Tokyo in a terrible funk yesterday. Far from being the "oh it's so good to be back in Tokyo" trip that I was looking forward to, this short visit feels like the final nail in the Tokyo Coffin.

Maybe it's the grey skies. No sunshine since I arrived Tuesday evening. Maybe it was stepping outside my mom's house on Wednesday and, smelling fragrant kinmokusei (I had to look up the English word -- orange osmanthus or "sweet tea"), thinking how nice it was to be here during the couple of weeks that the entire city smells so candy sweet only to go into a coughing fit as soon as I hit the street. The air here is worse than ever. Maybe it's my having made a terrible, terrible mistake in taking on a job that I really shouldn't have. (NOT the job that brought me here. That was fine, though I was sooo disappointed when the client gave me a Napster-ready MP3 player and free trial code only to find out I need a Windows OS to hook it up. I won't go to the Dark Side! Even if I CAN listen to 1.9 million tracks free!)

During the last 3 years of gypsying around, I always felt like Tokyo was still my spiritual home. Every time I came here, I thought of it as "going back" to Tokyo. But yesterday, walking around the too-dense city, the steel and concrete felt unbearably oppressive. I longed for the open space of Rancho Kuma, the animals that give you unconditional love, the sage-and-wild fennel air, the deep and lovely silence…

Even my eat-a-thon backfired on me. My favorite soba franchise had a shop in Kyobashi where I needed to be but when I got there, it was gone. Typical. Nothing stays the same. Disappointed but determined to have a soba lunch anyway, I went into a shop in the basement of an office building and ordered a "ten-don soba set." The tempura on my ten-don was THE worst I had ever eaten. The tempura part was all hard and crusty and it gave me indigestion.

And the worst was that everyone I passed on the streets looked as unhappy as I felt. My sister-in-law was stressed out over something yesterday morning and kept shouting at poor Pupster. My mother's been complaining "why are you only here for 2 days?" since I got here. My brother came home late last night and I think my mom (or maybe his wife?) harassed him and I could hear them arguing downstairs.

This morning, I got up at 4:30 again. While doing some internet research (being back on broadband IS nice after weeks of Stone Age dial-up baud rates!) I cruised some of my favorite blogs and got directed to this. Thank you!

It's helped me peek out from under my Blanket of Gloom. And I will be flying out of here today. Back "home."


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