After about a 12 hour comfortable bus ride–No, it really was comfortable. It puts the greyhound bus to shame but what bus company can’t put greyhound to shame– I arrive to a train station in Tokyo. Immediately, I became overwhelmed by the large crowds and people walking in all directions to find their train. I stood there for what felt like 10 minutes taking it all it. I realized I’d been locked away in little ole Kazuno for so long that I wasn’t used to the city life anymore.
I think people could tell I wasn’t from around there because first, I had no idea how on earth to get a ticket for the train. I asked the lady at a bread stand for help and she pointed me to the ticket area. There were many touch screen things that meant absolutely nothing to me because I really don’t know what they were for/what they were saying. After waiting in the line to buy a pass, I stood at the Kiosk wondering what in the world I am supposed to do. There were a list of prices that you choose from. I had no idea which was the correct price and I didn’t want to be the person that gets rejected because their ticket fare is too low. I ended up purchasing a random number (250 yen) and proceeded to the entrance of the train stations. Ok well not the entrance, I tried to enter through the EXIT. No, I wasn’t trying to get one over, I really thought that was the entrance. A cute little couple saw me struggling trying to figure this train stuff out and guided me to the entrance. Sigh of relief, I made it to entrance–victory dance! I thought this should be a piece of cake now-nope! My next task was to get those little grey doors to the train area to open in front of me. I saw people speeding by swiping something. I wasn’t sure what it was because sometimes it would be a wallet and other times it would be their purse. But, every time this little swipe worked. So, I decided to just rub my little ticket on the pad in front of me and that was an unsuccessful attempt. I tried a few more times looking super confused every time it didn’t work. Eventually, that same little couple, which I’m sure petied me, showed me where I needed to put my ticket. And tah-dah, I was off to explore more of Tokyo. Thankfully, I didn’t run into anymore problems with the train machine and was able to get two and from places pretty easily– thanks to the help of my friend’s father!
As I walked around (feet started hurting at some point) and greedily grubbed on some good ole fatty American food in Tokyo, I took note of how different things were from the country side. The city life is quite busier than the country. There are tons of people in the streets and causally greeting each other isn’t the norm in Tokyo. Everyone minds their own business and walk with some sort of swiftness to get to their destination. I also saw alot of different faces–there were a lot of foreigners. Many women were dressed up to the T, decked out! Full hair and make up, heels, and just strutting away. It made me feel like the person who attended a fancy party and came under-dressed haha. I still don’t know how these women do all these walking in heels though. I was struggling with my flats so I can’t imagine walking for hours in heels. Tokyo felt like a Times Squares. Big lights, many shopping areas, food like crazy, and a bunch of people walking with a purpose. There were little to no personal interactions that went on outside of ordering food at a restaurant. This is what I kind of made me miss the country side. Although it can be weird having everyone know who you are in the grocery store, it’s pretty cool to see my students from school and my dance class in the store get super excited when they see me. Or having the guy at the gas station know your face well enough to ask you where’s your car when he sees you walking in the snow ( true story but I’d rather not go into details about why I was walking). There’s a personable feel about the countryside that I didn’t get in Tokyo. Everyone is more relaxed and calm. And we take the time to “smell the roses” ( well at least I do haha ). While I love love Tokyo, I do appreciate the chill atmosphere of Kazuno. There’s nowhere to rush to and people actually know, look, and acknowledge you. I think wherever I live next needs to have a good balance of both the fast city life and a chill countryside vibe to it. Overall, I would definitely not turn down another trip to Tokyo! Tokyo, we shall meet again in April!
Oh, I went to a black history month event while I was there. There are definitely alot of people of color hanging around Tokyo. It was great to just grub on some food and fellowship with one another. It reminded of a family reunion. I think it’s beautiful when folks from different backgrounds come together, like family, in a foreign country and celebrate such an important and meaningful cultural celebration that has affected all of our lives in some way, shape, or form. For the first time, Japan really felt like ‘home’ and NOT because it was all black folks ( it wasn’t). The atmosphere felt warm and peaceful and was full of laughs just like the atmosphere my family creates when we get together.