On Finding My Groove In Tokyo
Living in Tokyo is great, except when it isn’t, and recently it’s been challenging, which means I often don’t feel grounded here.
I’m trying to keep a positive attitude about being in Tokyo. After all, this is an amazing city and I often struggle to believe I’m fortunate enough to be living here! Moreover, every week has it’s own adventures. On Tuesday I had a great day out exploring and today I spent the afternoon in a press conference for the upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival.
But, every move brings with it unexpected problems. I was prepared for the obvious ones; finding my place in a huge city, struggling to be understood in a foreign language and adapting to a different way of doing, well, pretty much everything.
However, the last weekend wasn’t a great one for me. My mother fell ill and wound up in hospital last week. She is recovering, but will be in hospital for at least another week. Nothing makes one question the decision to live away from close family more than moments like these.
And, in the past week I’ve been trying to buy a bicycle, which I’ll admit is a relativity simple thing to do in Tokyo (despite the fact you have to officially register your bike). But, being the obsessive pedant I am, I wanted a certain kind of bike and my language skills are just not up to asking the right kind of questions or making myself well understood.
But, the biggest frustration is closer to home. Although my music studio is unpacked, relatively tidy and my desk has been assembled. I can’t yet operate all my gear. I’m stuck on some technical details about running my gear on the local voltage, including questions about the power consumption I need, the way my studio space is wired and how audio gear is grounded (or not) in Japan.
Everyone around me, from landlords to technicians have been helpful. But, I’m not entirely sure of myself. I wish I had someone in my corner to check my calculations, or assumptions – but I don’t. I feel like I’m moving at a furiously slow pace, like I’m second guessing my requests. But, I want to make sure I a) don’t get electrocuted and b) don’t create a bee hive of noise every time I work.
Times like this are tough. They remind us that no matter how well we plan, the limits of human health, or knowledge can drag us back down to earth, with a jolt.