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METRO COLUMN

By Keisuke Koyama

For me, Tokyo is the first place where I live alone. That is the reason why vague days are continuing when each day appears to be the same, or different. Therefore, here I am going to write about the fact that I have changed for sure, especially about “something I have come not to do”, and “something I started to do”.


AS IF I KNEW. AS IF I WERE NOT HEARING.

For example, when I visit some town on a trip, everything appears fresh before my eyes-such things as a road which makes us think of past history, or an old house with a special feeling, or people's unique local accent, or any insignificant but subtle sounds. The more I walk, the more I come across scenes that I have not encountered before. I have always liked to take trips, and so I have numerous experiences like that.

Only recently I have moved to Tokyo, and so I am only a mere beginner here. This is also the first time I live alone. I commute to work mainly by bike and train. I commuted in the same way when I was a student. It is not that I commute such a great distance, but depending on how I think, it could sometimes become a small journey. Since it is the gigantic city of Tokyo, I never run out of ideas of where to visit. Other people also share such information, and if I only ask them, I can get more information than what I can gather from actual visits. I often benefit from that.

However, as I spend days like that, strangely I have come not to actually stop by places. That is because I end up forming a doubt “whether it is worthwhile visiting?” This way, I could actually be missing an opportunity to make a different discovery (from what I was told), or to reach a new idea by actually walking on my own feet. I might be missing such possibilities. But the ideas found in Tokyo are 'sweet', 'simple', 'instant', 'convenient', 'ubiquitous', 'global', and so forth. If one touches those, one falls into the illusion that one has already got to know them, and has seen them already. There seems to be this kind of hallucination, and it is threatening my life of traveling. It could be a normal matter, but I cannot help feeling that it is damaging my senses. I mean the senses have become not my own, but something that are “shared with others”. There seems to be little room for freedom, and it looks as if there were a program involved that draws answers in an instant. Or from a different perspective, I am thinking that such state as “not being able to figure an answer”, or “a conclusion being ambiguous”, or “being not easy to understand” becomes a 'knock' (on the door) of awakening the sense of a life of one's own.

So, daily I'm feeling that “getting lost” on purpose is actually very human, and is good. (“Not being tormented”) I purposely strike up a conversation with someone I don't know. I purposely go into a shop that I don't know. I purposely visit a town that I haven't even heard of. And I get lost. There is no one to rely on, or to give me help. Because of this very environment, I get the benefit of my five senses and my body fully at work. I feel I should experience something like that.

People might have already said it many times, but this is something I felt in Tokyo.

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