culture & community

The Tokyo that’s missing

by Kimiecat — April 24, 2011

A powerful magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Japan on March 11th at 2:46 PM followed by a tsunami with enough force to demolish entire cities, tens of thousands of lives were lost. I walked to my home close to Haneda Airport from Yoyogi over a period of six hours and a distance of 15 km. So many people went missing that day it’s nearly unbearable to allow my mind to dwell on the numbers. As my feet pounded the pavement on that journey home*, some part of me also went missing, my fear of Tokyo.

I live in Tokyo, and have for five years, but I have barely scratched the surface of this sprawling metropolis. After the earthquake I spent one week locked up in my house, the trains were unreliable, my work was cancelled, my friends were taking a break from the city. But one week after the quake, a few friends who stayed gathered for beers.

Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

The city I stepped out into that night newly darkened, subdued, unstable did not frighten me.

The Tokyo I feared was missing.

We went out to a BBQ restaurant in Naka-meguro, Hato’s Bar, I had never been before. Waiting there for me besides yummy pulled pork sliders were new friends, new collaborators even, and a new outlook on how lucky I am.

Bridget and I have been talking about this blog since the New Year, and its beginning is a bright sanctuary of possibility, just as Tokyo is a bright city of possibility and creativity.

Tokyo and I will dazzle you with our irrepressible adventures!

*You can read my first person account of the day of the earthquake in 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake

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