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.

5 comments:

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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