Dream vs. Nightmare

I had an interesting encounter this week at work with a German guy on business trip to Tokyo. He was in Japan for the first time in his life and he (of course) asked me how long I am living here already. Answer: 13 years. Question: All the time in Tokyo? Answer: yes. The guy looked at me as if I was an alien and then said that he couldn’t imagine living “in a place like this” for so long. I asked him to specify what he means by “a place like this” and here is his point of view.

If you look from the 17th floor of our office building in downtown Tokyo (Shibuya) in every direction: you see nothing but city = steel and concrete. The tiny patches of green from an occasional tree or park are quite negligible in the concrete jungle. In the tiny bits of park that the guy on business trip has seen during his two weeks in Japan not even the grass is green but brown. Well, yes, it’s dry in Tokyo in winter, so the grass gets brown. The city seems grey to him, despite the sunshine. He lives in a 5000 people village outside of Stuttgart in the woods. It’s good for him that he seems to like it there 😉

Now how do I see “my” city. Yes, there is not much green and yes, I don’t like the squeezing in the train when I commute to work every morning and yes, it’s a concrete jungle, but I still love it here. To me Tokyo feels often like “the center of civilization”. Even if I use only a fraction of the possibilities of Tokyo, the sheer thought that I could and can get anything here is awesome and a part of my personal quality of life.

There is close to nothing you cannot get in Tokyo, be it goods or whatever form of human activity, there are a million bars and restaurants, there are hundreds of concerts every day, dozens of theaters of whatever sort, sporting events of whatever nature, hundreds of movie theaters, museums for everything and and and. And all that you can have in the ridiculous high safety of this country, where you can walk any street at two in the morning without a care in the world. Since I have a reasonably big park in twenty minutes bicycle distance (which contains two museum and a planetarium by the way, plus a look-out over the concrete jungle) I personally don’t even have a greenery problem.
Anyway, talking to that guy on business trip showed me wonderfully that one person’s dream can be another person’s nightmare! Long live diversity 😉

4 thoughts on “Dream vs. Nightmare

  1. Aaah yes, … concrete and steel, don’t we love it 😉 I actually met people who thought Munich is already to big a city to live in… Munich? MUNICH? I couldn’t live in any city smaller than Munich, and I miss Tokyo for all it offers. I never had the impression, that it had to little green. As in every big city, there are parks, and you have to go there to see it…
    Maybe people just realise how small and unimportant they are when they see the masses of other people. Nobody is interested in THEM. Or so they think, maybe. A bit like the machine Zaphod Beeblobrox steps is in and is expected to leave him mad, because it shows people their part in the universe, how small they are. 😉

  2. I’m not really a city person and I REALLY miss greenery. But your feelings remind me of how excited I was to live in New York when I was 22, back in the bad old days when it was a lot more dangerous than it is now. Since I’d grown up in a country town it was quite a change. It also involved accepting that ANYTHING could happen – and that some of those things might be bad. (This after seeing the aftermath of a bike messenger accident in the street.) Once I’d accepted that, it was very freeing, and ultimately allowed me to get through having my apartment broken into.

  3. Hi Elaine,
    Yikes! Break in in New York! Actually I had a break-in in Saitama when I still lived there! They only stole cash and left everything else as it was. Since there was hardly any cash the biggest expense was the new window replacing the one they had bade a hole in! But break-in in New York is scarier for sure!

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