Today marks the 3 year anniversary of when I started to live in Japan. It has been a long time, yet time has gone by so quickly. My first impression of Tokyo was a vibrant, crazy city that never sleeps. In many ways, that’s true, but in many other ways, that’s not true.
I am often asked by students, “Do you like living in Tokyo?” or “Why do you like Tokyo/Japan?”. The first thing that always comes to mind is the convenience. Tokyo is a place where you can eat almost anything you want and it’s generally good. The only problem is that the food tends to be “Japanese” in style or flavour. It’s hard to find good authentic food from outside Japan, but at the same time, it does make things interesting. Although movies come out later (sometimes much later) than in Canada, the quality is very good. In the last 2 years, there have been a slew of new movie theatres near my house with stadium seating. Japan is also the land of cheap items. Going to Daiso is very normal. Why buy 3,000 Yen dishes when you can pay 105 Yen for each dish. While the dishes may not match, if you don’t have any company at home, it doesn’t matter. Plus, you can buy almost anything else you could imagine.
The second question is usually, “Which is better, Tokyo or Vancouver?” or something similar. I can never truly say which is better. It is the proverbial apples and oranges problem. They are both good, but both are different. You can’t compare them. As I said, Tokyo is convenient. Japan is also generally convenient. The transportation system is excellent. I don’t like paid highways, but I love the train system. I can go almost anywhere I could want and rarely need a car. I enjoy the ability to walk almost anywhere I want to. Walking for 5 km isn’t so bad anymore. Now, I walk more in a month than I would in a year in Vancouver. Many of my friends and co-workers tend to fall into 2 categories. 1 group lose weight, and another group gains weight when they first come to Tokyo. With so much walking, you will probably lose weight. However, if you party a lot and drink a lot, which is very easy in Tokyo, you will probably gain weight. However, you can’t beat the nature in Vancouver. It’s always green and people tend to take that for granted. Vancouver is also a place where I can get anything done if I want to. I know the system, the area, and where to go. I’m sure that after a few more years in Tokyo, I’ll start to know everything I need to know, but for now, it’s still difficult.