As a result of a flurry of events that cascaded upon us at the beginning of this year, long story short, Mr. S and I have moved to Tokyo earlier this month! From one City by the Bay (SF) to another––Tokyo bay––we have fast begun to realize that any fears or anxiety we had about expat life are quickly dissipating as we start to settle into our new life here.
Mr. S and I, each and together, have visited Tokyo many times. But to briefly visit a place for fun, for work, for school, or just to get lost is an experience wholly different from actually residing there permanently. And so, we have come to realize exactly this over the past 3 weeks, in ways we could not have anticipated no matter how well we prepared. At times, the realizations are accompanied by stories comical, frustrating, exciting, banal, or all of the above. Many of which I will write about here, as a way share our experience, and as way for our friends and family abroad to keep up with our day-to-day lives here.
So, just a few (of many) observations from our mere 3 weeks time living here that I will share:
1. The word that sums up Japanese society: Order. There’s a highly methodical quality to almost all aspects of daily life here. For the most part, people value rules and abiding by them, which has helped contribute to the high level of civility. However, when the rules are not followed, it tends to through people off here in a major earth-shattering way. More on this later.
2. Tokyo women, of all ages, are so well put together, it makes me feel like an absolute slob in my typical U.S. running-errands outfit: black yoga pants, trainers, and a hoodie. Ladies here truly encompass all senses of the word lady. The hair, makeup, manicures, stockings (bare legs are a rarity), outfits, and heels –– all day, everyday, even weekends. That’s too much work for this little lady, but it has inspired me to up my fashion game.
3. Despite this country being an island with limited waste disposal resources, there’s a huge amount of waste generated from unnecessary product packaging. Any ban on plastic bags still remains light years away from becoming a reality here. A stark difference from living in the SF Bay area. Although packaging is incredibly beautiful here, it does eventually all end up in the trashbin…
4. …Which leads me to a final thought about trash disposal and sorting here. The strict sorting rules, paired with the lack of public trash bins, makes you rethink walking about in public with that Starbucks venti cup, chewing gum, or blowing your nose with a tissue. Where to get rid of it then? Hold on to it until you get home, or if you must, find a public restroom.
Stay tuned for more posts on what we have been eating and doing since we have arrived. In the meantime, here’s a pic of some late season cherry blossoms. You can tell because there are green leaves mixed with the blossoms: