These are tiles on the exterior of a building in Tokyo somewhere between Shibuya and Roppongi. I was in Shibuya last year looking for somewhere to eat, saw nothing that would satisfy the very specific cravings my stomach was reporting to me (“Something with…not that. Something more–no, no, none of those things. You know, with…it’s a type of food. Why aren’t you getting this?”) and decided to walk to my favorite sandwich shop in Roppongi instead.
The walk probably would have taken about forty minutes, except that I’m a firm believer in meandering while walking through cities in one’s spare time. I like getting lost (during the sunlight time) and I find some of the best restaurants and Narnia portals that way.
I also remember that as the day I texted a friend urging her to move to Japan (as I do) since she visits the country on a semi-regular basis as it is and loves it dearly and I adore her and would enjoy her company with equal dearness. She wrote back something to the effect of, “It would be wonderful wouldn’t it? And I have given thought to it more than once. Every now and then I’ll dream of opening a business there. But I’m happy here, even though I think I would be happy there also.”
I remember smiling at my phone and letting the subject drop with something like, “That’s an excellent reason to stay,” because I knew she was happy. She has a magnificent job with people who value her and respect her and pay her well for her time. She works hard for them, and in return they treat her as she deserves to be treated.
She sent a smiley face back and a promise to talk again soon.
I’ve never felt tied down to places. My parents and I moved freely around Vermont when I was a kid, and then to New York and back to Vermont (where I then felt strangled and trapped and bawled obnoxiously far, far too often about the superiority of ~The City~) and then to New York again and Virginia and Arizona aaand Japan. There are only four places in the world I set foot on and thought, “This could be home.” They are, in order of first contact: New York, England, Ireland, and Japan. I’ve always had the understanding that I am a wanderlusting wanderlustface and will keep moving around merrily until I find that magical place that resonates deep within my soul of souls. I must have a place I belong, and I give more thought to this than to finding my soulmate (though I think that’s a real thing, too).
When I lived in New York, a large part of my love for the city had to do with my university and my friends being in it. Many of those friends lived in our university’s dormitory. Two floors up by elevator (fuck stairs) or three floors down (whee, stairs!), etc. I thought back to when we’d compare schedules to figure out when we finished classes so we could just take up a spot on the sofa or the floor or the bed and be alive with each other for hours.
When I left New York, I had plans of returning in short order with more money and more success. I’d buy a building and fill it with glitter and pillows and glittery pillows and live out the rest of my life writing plays and screenplays and books and whatnot. I didn’t expect to move to another country, and then I did. (We’re not doing the life story entry today, even though I seem to be heading in that direction very much without my approval.)
But what I’ve come to believe about My Soulmate Living Place is that, like a soulmate, it’s worth looking for, but life can be thoroughly enjoyed and loved every day even without it. There are blissful moments ready to be had all the time. After I finished talking to my friend, I put my phone away and looked around at Tokyo. The license plates on cars that looked nothing like the ones I saw as a child and believed were the only kind of license plates in the world, the people who caught my eye and smiled back, the random appearances of walls with glitter molding and multicolored tiles, and tiny cozy restaurants and cafes tucked away where only the regulars and their guests and meanderers would think to look.
I wondered, “Where do I belong? Do I get to choose that, or does the place–like the wand–choose you?”