When we moved to Tokyo we chose to live where we do because we wanted to lived close to the Tokyo Temple. As I have said before it is a five minute walk from my house and I can see the Angel Moroni from my living room window. My neighborhood also happens to be home to many foreign embassies and thus home to many foreigners. It is not unusual to see both Starbuck’s and Segafredo packed with expats sipping their coffee and chatting with friends.
I have already been away twice this summer. In June, I returned just as school got out and many of my friends were still here (most of my friends have children in school). This morning when I went to get groceries it was much different than it was two weeks ago. First of all, I only passed 3 people on my way there and it was after 10 am. Remember, this is a metropolitan area of 25 million and I pass 3 people at 10am??? The car park was relatively empty. No bikes in the bike lot. Three of the four check stands were open, rare on a week day, but no one was in line. The clerks were making themselves busy arranging plastic bags and breaking up the dry ice they pack groceries in.
So where are the people in my neighborhood? They are everywhere but here…One friend is posting on Facebook from Martha’s Vineyard, some are living in their other houses that they keep in the US. Some are shifting their families between grandparents and aunts and uncles, spending as much time with everyone as possible to try and make up for living halfway around the world for 9 months of the year. Others are ferrying their children between sports, music and other camps. For the most part the men are only with their families part of the time. No one takes eight weeks of vacation at one time.
It is a crazy life expats lead. I think we like to think it’s a bit glamorous while at the same time trying to convince everyone that it’s not a big deal.I have tried to convince friends in the US that my life is not so amazing and that I just do the things they do only I have to travel further to do them. My son-in-law laughed when we explained the trips we have coming up before the end of this year, possibly 4 to the US. I have already been in January, April and June (funeral, wedding, birth of a new baby and help with a move). In many ways I do the things everyone else my age does. However, I also went to Cambodia and India this year. I really need to stop trying to convince myself that my life is not crazy. It is my life and it is crazy!
Back to my neighborhood…I kind of like the ghost town feel. Summer in Hiro-o is quiet. Well…I guess I need to get packing for my next trip 🙂 !