Thinking about some overly deep shit, like how in life there are phases and in each phase there's something which is important like friends and growing up in our 20s and raising a family in our 30s and how now that I am not in my 20s I can't go back and relive that part of my life and resolve the important questions differently than how I resolved them.
I am also thinking back and remembering the evenings I walked around West Shinkuku business district at night. It was one of my favorite evening activities, not necessarily going out to clubs in Roppongi, but this kind of night walks around the deserted business district at night, looking up at the skyscrapers. It makes me sad that I can't have this kind of experience now. Sure, I can go to Tokyo and spend an evening or two wandering around like that but it doesn't have the same meaning. It's different when you live there and an activity like that is at the same time both special and ordinary, when you see time stretching indefinitely, infinitely into the future and this type of evening walk is something perfectly ordinary, an experience you can have on any given evening of any given day. Doing it as a tourist would be different. Temporary. The fact that y are there on vacation means you feel pulled to do a million different activities, pressure to make your time there worth it. Aimless wandering and losing oneself in thought doesn't have much place on a tightly packed itinerary with much ground to cover. Also it wouldn't be a perfect replica anyway: the people you worked with who have defined your experience have now scattered back around the world, many of them married with children now in their 30s, though the memory of them you are trying to recreate is that of them single in their 20s and those people don't exist anymore as such.
Nevertheless, I am starting to seriously think about returning to Japan. Spending a week in Tokyo and a week outside of Tokyo traveling. The idea's beginnings lie in discovering my favorite gay magazine is no longer sold online meaning I have to travel there in person and buy up a bunch of issues myself, and the idea continued today when I watched part of Shinkokyū no Hitsuyō (Importance of Breathing) one of my favorite films, about growing up, something I think I am still in the process of but never really achieving and, honestly, something I hope I never "achieve."
Most importantly, tonight I remember the world is a big place with a wide variety of experiences to be had. There is so much more to life than the US election and the Olympics and the small village of San Francisco. More even than the United States and its perspective on the world. There are Buddhist monasteries with tatami floors, folding futons and places without central furnace heating. There are zen gardens and lonely train and boat rides, huge but quiet cities with twinkling lights. Train stations through which millions of people pass during the course of any given day and yet which you can use and access as well as anyone else.
When I arrived in Tokyo, it took me some time to learn all these things and how to navigate the city, learn the places, get the right maps and home appliances, set up Internet and phone service. It is crazy to imagine I can even begin to relive even a part of my prior life there. And yet I still believe I can have many important and meaningful experiences there, even if it would be temporary. The more I think about it, the more I feel it is important for me to return, or return for a first time and potentially make it the beginning of a new tradition of returning again. Just because I can't replicate my prior experience completely, is it a reason not to go back at all? No, of course not. Because I could meet one or two of those people from my past life and revisit some of the places that hold meaning to my life like Ebisu, much of the area around Shibuya and many other places around the Tokyo area, including some I always wanted to visit but never got the chance like Odaiba and Ariake. Altogether it's enough reason to go back soon so I will make my plans.