Life in the Urban Canopy

I think one of the reasons I haven’t blogged much in the last two years is that living in a new country, newly married, with a new job, while writing my Phd, was just too overwhelming to write about. I honestly couldn’t pick and choose what to write about. And once I fell behind a little, it was too much to catch up. I’d have a great idea to blog about something like the sports club system here or organizing an international wedding, and bam! I’d be traveling to Korea for the first time since 1980 and that trip was a travelogue in and of itself.

Then there were all of my experiences teaching English. Stories I’d love to tell about my students who range from big-time actors, to guarded models, to charming television producers to tobacco company executives and cocky daytraders. Or about my co-workers and the ins and outs of working for my school. But there were privacy issues.

After a while, I stopped even doing other creative things. I rarely dance anymore except when out at the occasional club (a blog entry unto itself) or when T takes me out salsa dancing. I haven’t played my guitar in months and I haven’t written a song or poetry since 2005!

What I have been doing, however, is exploring. In the last two years, I’ve explored South Korea, Thailand, Saipan, Indonesia, as well as numerous places around Japan. And then there’s the endlessly enormous richness of the Tokyo experience. I’m still overwhelmed. But then there’s a time to just absorb and live and then there’s a time to be introspective.
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Most recently, after having moved this past month (which I’ll write about soon) I noticed that my life is now lived in the upper storeys of buildings. In the past year, I joined a new gym that’s on the 9th to the 11th floors. the vanity pool at my gymBecause it doesn’t have a pool, golf driving practice nets, or public baths, all standard at other gyms, it’s much cheaper than the other gyms. But the views are stunning and I can relax in the middle of the day away from the crowds of Shibuya. The pool in the picture, by the way, is a vanity pool. No one is allowed to dip in. It’s strictly to gaze at, and to lounge near. Earlier this year, my school moved closer to the station and now I teach on the 7th floor. And finally last month, we moved to the 8th floor of a building that’s older than T. We may not survive the big one, but at least we’ll go down with a great view of the city.

So in an attempt to keep this blog alive, I’ll use the idea of living in the urban canopy as a starting off point to writing more. I’ve found that more and more I’m drawn to getting up as high and away from the noise and crowds as possible. In a congested elbow-to-elbow city like Tokyo, it’s difficult for a West Coast guy like me to keep sane. And like most people from California, the answer is to get high. Off the ground that is.

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