Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Duality of My Tokyo Life

Back in September of last year I wrote about the Duality of Tokyo. Tokyo really is a city with two personalities. It is like being in two different cities. Yet, I have noticed a change in my own personality. Humans, by nature, process the ability to have duality in our personalities. We can change depending on our situation and personal emotions. This is a unique trait in the animal kingdom, found only in humans.

So yes, I have noticed a big change in the duality of my personality since moving to Tokyo. It is almost as if I am two different people at times. The person I am at work is very different compared to the person I am outside of work. I work at least five days a week; in rare situations even nine or ten days in a row. On these days, I wake up and start the process of becoming a corporate dick for a private English language company. It was not by custom to wear a suit and tie most days until I started living in Tokyo. Actually, I had very little interest at all in suits back in the states. These days, I have to put some effort to look all prim and proper before heading off to work.

Once I am in full suit and tie I must behave in a manner which is odd for me.I tend to be very straight laced and polite. I let a lot of things go for the sake of doing my job and maintaining the `right` image. I can feel myself become a very different person. I am more gentle and thinking about business, making money, and doing my best to be a quality teacher. At the time of doing all of this there is one thing I am not thinking about; the person I am deep down inside. I know this may sound strange but at times I feel as there is a switch in my brain. ´╝ęturn `it` on and off at a moments notice. In the past, before Tokyo, I never really found myself doing this kind of thing. These days it seems to be second nature to me.

So, am I cracking up or is all of this meant to be of sorts? Have I found some strange balance? One thing is for sure; I have become two different people. Yet, I wonder who is the real me. Well, in time I will understand such things much better. For now I am trying to enjoy the ride.


Tornadoes28 said...

As you get older, you will find that you are acting more and more like your work personality, even when not at work.

Adam said...

I would say you are making a quick adaptation to Japan. I was completely unable to do that, to 'switch', during my first year in Japan. So I changed to teaching children ONLY, in an immersion environment. Now I have the freedom to teach in jeans and bare feet. I don't have much interest in duality for myself. I prefer to be who I am, whether at work OR play. But it sounds like you are enjoying how Japan can change you. I've gotten more patient, but I've seen other changes to my personality that I really don't like. I guess it's case by case.

Brett said...

It is a bit of a shock in the first year, to have two "uniforms", especially if you go down the path I did and work 6 days a week.

Public appearances are just that, appearances for the benefit of others and their expectations of you.

Are you familiar with the concept of hon-ne to tate-mae? It may not be a duality as such, but two sides of the same coin. The moon has a dark side too.

TheGhost said...

Well, I have always felt that hon-ne to tate-mae is a very bad way of living; yet I have learned the value of such. I still have my days when I want to smack some of the people I work with.

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