vol.012 / My Tokyo Diary
Now and then
When I moved to Japan in January of 2011, for the first month I lived in a hotel in Taito, near Inaricho station. I picked it at random, being completely unfamiliar with Tokyo’s different areas, but I found it quiet and calming. I didn’t realise until later that this place has many shops that sell memorial shrines, and many people consider the area to be haunted.
This was where I started in Tokyo. A few minutes to the west was Ueno Park, with the tree-lined lake, and the apartment towers glowing in the winter sunsets. My home didn’t have tall buildings, and I only knew the overgrown, empty parks.
One day, I met you at Ueno station, and we had eel for lunch on Ameyoko shopping street. After lunch, we walked to Kappabashi, where I bought a small paring knife in one of the kitchenware shops. When we crossed the Sumida River, there was an icy wind furling the water. Passing boats boiled by, and I remember how quiet the city seemed, even from the center of the bridge; we couldn’t have been much closer to the heart of the city. We sat on the opposite bank under the elevated highway looking out, and having take-out coffees. After, we walked through the neighborhoods around the then-incomplete Tokyo Skytree, and I picked an orange from a tree hanging over the street.
In the evening back at my hotel, I sliced avocados for us with my new knife, added lemon and olive oil, and made tea with juice from the orange. The tea was so bitter it was completely undrinkable.
Just last year, I came back to Kappabashi with you and our 1-year old daughter, but this time I bought a butter tray.
Editing: Satoko Nakano