Tuesday, December 30, 2014

良いお年を! Happy New Year!

I love Tokyo during the New Years season. Over a course of days the city slowly assumes an emptiness, with only 3 or 4 people in the space I am usually used to seeing 20. The trains, usually a scene of discreet shoving and lines of people wrapped in thick coats and thicker perfume, today dwindled down to just me. An entire train car to myself, as I make my way to work through the quiet shuttered streets.
At night I can hear the high clap of the wooden blocks, the same sound that announces the start of a kabuki play, as the local volunteers warn the shoutengai inhabitants to watch out for fire. A sound from a different era, which lulls me to sleep, giving a sense of safety and balance to the unusual quiet.

2014 was an odd year, punctuated with a series of highs and lows reminiscent of a jagged heartbeat. Ending on a high is certainly a great blessing, as are all the lessons I learned on the way. Here is hoping for a happy 2015, with more adventures, joys and tranquility.

(And, ladies and gentlemen, if you happen to pass a homeless individual today, be kind and buy them a ticket for a bowl of warm soba, to start the New Year right. I haven't seen the cheery lady I sometimes chat with in front of the station in a couple of weeks, and am worried about her...)