I sometimes forget that I live in what is loosely described as greater Tokyo. Life happens and it’s mundane and it all becomes so normal that it’s only occasionally that I’m reminded that, whoa, I live on the outskirts of the biggest, zaniest city in the world.
I’m not having a great week. We’re having problems with our house, the owner and one of the neighbours at the moment. I don’t feel quite like getting into the whole thing yet – I suspect I’ll be more up for telling the whole awful story when there’s a resolution at least in sight – but the whole thing is upsetting and we’re looking at moving.
With that as a starting point, it hasn’t taken much for my mood to head steadily downward. There have already been a lot of problems the last few months and, when we do get through something, it’s often only with a lot of stress involved. I’m also running on about 4 or 5 hours sleep at the moment, which leaves me miserable more often than not, and, all in all, I’ve been a bit of a mess. Teary. Dizzy spells. Loss of appetite. Stressed.
On Wednesday, I had to head into Tokyo itself for a work thing. I wasn’t thrilled when I first heard about it, but I did have the wherewithal to at least figure I may as well make the best of it. Instead of rushing off and making the one hour plus return trip as soon as work was finished, I asked the childcare to watch Mr. K for an hour more than was strictly necessary and lingered a little.
I did two things. One, I had lunch in a Nepalese restaurant in the laneway leading out from Okubo station. Two, I headed off to Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku nd, most importantly, the branch of Kinokuniya that is still housed there. It’s my favourite English bookshop in this city, and it was one of the very first places I visited when I first came to Japan.
Only after I was done with that did I make the long trip back to pick up Mr. K (who had quite enjoyed his day with the other babies) and then retreat to what doesn’t entirely feel like home just now.
Physically, the whole thing left me exhausted. I had had even less sleep than usual, the trip was tiring, work was intense and Tokyo is overwhelming. Mentally, though, I realised I actually felt rather stimulated. I felt an old fizz of excitement just being there in the heart of Shinjuku with all those people swirling around me. And, most importantly, I began to feel less sad and more up for fighting it out, whatever the next it happens to be.