Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why Love Tokyo?

Why love a city which can entice a star struck soul and transform them into a pure bastard? This is the million dollar question when pondering any good reason to love Tokyo. The jewel city of the far east can take from a person just as much as it gives. I have met people, not only in the flesh, but also on the net who have developed a right proper nasty attitude due to Tokyo`s overwhelming influence. Maybe they were a bastard of a person all along but I doubt this is the case in most situations. This city of ours does something to people which defies the laws of the `great escape` which many seek in the land of the raising sun. It does not transform everyone into a rotten bastard but it cannot be denied that many who come to Tokyo leave as a asshole action figure with hate-fu grip.

My transformation has went in the complete opposite direction of asshole ally. I came to Tokyo a proper bastard and now find myself mellowing out and becoming a slightly better human than when I arrived. I can be honest enough to admit that I came to Tokyo a hard drinking, fighting, swearing, stubborn, son of a bitch. Too many years of living in the bare bone coal fields of West Virginia had made a brutal keen greaser out of me. I was most likely the last person you wanted to deal with in a social situation. My bad behavior had become a thing of legend in the circles which I ran. Even though I had been making semi-regular trips to Tokyo for several years to spend time with my main love interest I kept becoming worse rather than better.

Yeah, I was becoming pretty bad at times. By the time I finally made the decision to make Tokyo my home I was ready for a change. If I had not made a change of scene and lifestyle I was gonna end up just as my grandmother predicted; either dead or in jail. I did manage to get myself a college degree somehow and I was, and still am, madly in love with my main gal. So, I moved to Tokyo and got myself hitched up with a Japanese gal I have known since I was nineteen. This change of scene and lifestyle has transformed me into a half-way decent person. Yet, this little extra history lesson still does not answer the question of why love Tokyo.

While I cannot answer the question at hand for everyone I know exactly why I love Tokyo. In fact there are many reasons why I love Tokyo. So many reasons that I cannot list them all. Although I can offer up a short list of some of the best reasons that I personally love this city.

1) Harajuku

One of the first places in Tokyo which I started hanging out on a regular basis is Harajuku. I quickly found that I can be exactly who I am without any worries of being judged for being a little different. It is in Harajuku that I made my first friend in this city. Tommy is his name and he took to me like white on rice as soon as we met. He accepted me from day one and I always have a good time with my friend from Vietnam.
Harajuku also caters to my personal taste in fashion. Yeah, I know I can dress a little campy sometimes but I have pretty much dressed the way I do for the majority of my life. I can find the best hair grease, music, jackets, or what ever I desire with ease. It is also very easy to just hang on the street and have a good time doing much of nothing.

2) Shibuya

A lot of people like Shibuya but for me it is a place I can always find a good bar to throw back a few cold brews. While I do not drink near as often as I used to, when I do get a taste for fine liquid poison Shibuya is usually where I head. There is also the fact that Shibuya has some of the best love hotels in the city which is fun to sneak off with my gal from time to time. I can wonder around Shibuya for hours on end and still find something new and interesting to get into.

3) Great Food

While growing up dirt poor a great meal was hard to come by sometimes. Many times I was happy just to have a warm belly full of food. Well, those days are long gone now that I live in Tokyo. I have found that I can enjoy any kind of food from all parts of the world in Tokyo. It is fun for me to explore all the different restaurants in Tokyo. I have found some really great places to stuff my face.

4) Live Music

This has proved to be a big plus for me. I have seen some great punk and Rock A` Billy bands in Tokyo. Hell, the all night Rock A` Billy parties are a real devil of a good time. I have seen some great bands I would have other wise never have even known about if I was not living in Tokyo. I don`t think I could see a band dressed in full clock work orange attire, including the long noise masks, anywhere else in the world.

5) The pure adventure of daily life

I have always said that if you turn over enough rocks you can find just about anything to match you desire in Tokyo. The stuff I have experience in just under a year in this city it a whole books worth of adventures. I have not even wrote about 1/10 of my adventures in Tokyo on this blog. Oh, the stories I could tell!
There is also the fact that everyday I see or experience something which keeps me on my toes. Around every corner a new surprise or off beat experience might be waiting for me. Each day when I leave my apartment is an adventure.

So, this is the best answer I can give with respect to `Why Love Tokyo.` This place is one hell of a city man! I mean some serious shit would have to go down for me to hate this place. If you have been transformed into a bitter bastard by Tokyo just know that while you are puking out hate I am out there having one hell of a good time.


nearlyasian said...

I disagree, some rocks don't exist in Tokyo. I mean, there are some things you'll never find here. Like the Mediterranean Sea, or the canals of Amsterdam, or those beautiful Bavarian girls in their Dirndls with cookies around their necks.

There's lots to be desired of western culture that'll never be in Japan, associations and all.

With that said, I get you. Though I believe the asshole factor in Tokyo is much lower than say Moscow or even Seoul, inclusive of gaijin.

The biggest reason many become jaded is because they're living in some skewed fantasyland even before arriving. In essence, they believe that making it to Tokyo is the equivalent of making it in Tokyo.

On that note, I do believe Tokyo is a great stepping stone in life, but not the best stone for building one. Of course I'm biased, half my family is here and I'm perving it up with these damn Charisma Man good looks with enough Fuck You Money that my job is more like a hobby than a meal ticket.

I respect your journey. A brother's gotta eat.

Anonymous said...

what about Akihabara?...aaaw man u 4got Akihabara....U mentioned 2/3 of my 3 fav places in Tokyo...I love Tokyo, even though ive met some real dicks in Tokyo, I cant wait to return in 2010...

There's always a little bad in the good and always a little good in the bad.

Benjamin L. Belcher said...

I totally back the "every day is an adventure" thing. I never know what I'm gonna see, and just when my life sinks into the mundane and seems trite, something ridiculous surprises me.

And I'm sorry but IMO akihabara is a snooze, I go there if I'm looking for electronics to buy and it's entertaining for like an hour, but it's mostly a touristy appeal.

Thomas said...

I think Tokyo (or anywhere) is what you make of it.

billywest said...

Wouldn't live anywhere else in the world right now except Tokyo. I take the good with the bad; the bad not being bad enough to turn me bitter.


TheGhost said...

Tokyo takes all comers. Sometimes this city eats people alive and spits out their bones. Tokyo can really twist some peoples heads.

Tokyo really is what you make of it.