Tag Archives: Kashiwa

The end of the beginning

It feels as if it has been a long time coming, following the many steps that have brought me from there to here.  Finally, barring a few administrative hurdles still to be negotiated, I will be a Tokyo resident.

The lure of the big, bad city on my doorstep has been a siren call since my plane landed.  Like London Heathrow, they call it Tokyo Narita even though it is a couple of hours outside the city centre.  Fitting in weekend trips to the clubs, parks and shops around work, planning sightseeing adventures and taking time for people-watching from the cafes.  All enjoyable escapades ruined too soon by the intrusion of the long train ride back to the ‘burbs.

After 11 March, we all had our own decisions to make.  You might have thought that 24 hours stranded in Tokyo would have soured me on it somewhat.  Instead, even as I was traipsing through the freezing, crowded streets, I was reasoning that if I lived in a more central location I would have been safely home.  That night I resolved, before falling into a hazy, aftershock-interrupted sleep, to make sure I did something about it.

Before I could, there was a sea of goodbyes to navigate.  I believe I understand the thoughts of those who have chosen to bring their Japanese adventures to an end, even as I know there is nowhere else I would rather be at present.  I am lucky to have met some incredible people before they departed and fortunate enough to have been shown their favourite corners of the city so that I can now adopt them as my own.

I have other plans for this new start.  Including the locating of the perfect writing cafe, maybe to get a bike or to walk around more, not because the trains are stopped this time, but for the fun of it.  There are bars to find, friends to meet and streets to explore.  I can’t wait to see what Tokyo has to show me once I am a resident and no longer a visitor.

So this isn’t an end, or the beginning of the end.  It is perhaps the end of the beginning.

Sayonara Kashiwa.  Konnichiwa Tokyo.

And remember…

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After the weekend

In Kashiwa, life goes on.

The station is running on reduced power, with some lights dimmed and the escalators out of service.

Some stores are closed in case of blackouts, but more are open.  The proposed rolling plan of power outages has not been implemented yet, as people are trying to save energy in order to avoid them.  Milk and bread are in short supply, perhaps because they are being diverted to the affected areas, or because of logistical problems with deliveries, but other food and drink is available.

The city feels less busy than on a usual working day, perhaps closer to a weekend or public holiday.  People are out doing their shopping, or paying bills at the bank, while children play in the parks and no-one I see seems panicked or even visibly concerned.  Life is going on as normally as possible.  Perhaps there seem to be fewer cars on the roads, but that could be because we have been asked to conserve petrol for the relief efforts.

Today had already been scheduled as a holiday for us, so as good Northern girls, we head to the cafe to sit and talk of everything and nothing, accompanied – of course – by a round of these:

And as we do, it is impossible to believe that all the disaster headlines the media are coming up with could ever be applied to us.

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