Thursday, July 13, 2006

東京のいろいろ

看著日曆,猛然驚覺自抵達東京,三星期已匆匆而過。名義上是以研究目的赴日,也確實努力地上圖書館讀書。但三星期一晃而過,到頭來卻覺得一事無成。連blog都荒廢已久。說是暑假沒錯,給自己放個假好像也不為過。但每天看到朝九晚八加陪上司飲酒作樂到夜晚十一點的東京上班族,卻又覺得自己毫無理由偷懶休息。

人啊,要不是有錢沒閒,就是窮到不行卻一年有三個月可以24小時自我安排時間。屬於後者的我 ... 嗯,我想我大概還沒決心要放棄窮到不行的生活。

回家的路上還是繼續在「100円」商店購物吧!Starbucks喝不起,沒關係,我有Doutor。

Even though the electric toothbrush from the 100-yen shop breaks down within a day ... Given its price though, I guess I may be able to afford using one brand new one a day till the day I leave ...

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Out of pure luck, for the first time I got to live within the Yamanote JR loop line this year. To be able to live within the Yamanote loop line is pretty much equivalent to living anywhere between wall street and mid-town in NYC. Only a few days ago it hit me that I probably had to thank the 5 cemeteries around my place for the reasonably affordable rental cost (esp. the one that is literally a wall away from the kitchen window). To Shinjuku it's 4 stops away, a short, 15-min ride. To Ueno, 15 mins, Ginza, 20 mins, and Tokyo station, a similar 20-min ride. It's walking distance to Waseda campus and 3 stops away from one of the Tokyo Univ. campus. Although given another chance, I don't think I'd want to live here again. 5 cemeteries and a dozen of wild cats out there that jump out out of no where on my way home ... Hm, I'd really have to think about it.

Although lately, something started to sink in me that makes me wonder if I'm beginning to develop a "home consciousness" for this place. On the JR platform, there's a special melody played at the Takadanobaba station (the closest one to Waseda Univ) - the theme song for the manga, Tetsuma-Atomu. I've never been a huge manga fan, but I vaguely remember that theme song, and hearing it late in the evening after a long day on the way home, there's somehow a strangely homey and familiar feel.

It's a tone only for the Takadanobaba station, a special tone dedicated to the artist who created Tetsuma-Atomu as he had lived here for a period of time in his life. It's a local tone that probably rings many sweet memories for people who were born and grew up in this area. I can't say that I share any of their sweet memories, but I appreciate the JR company for localizing the platform music according to individual neighborhood's characteristic.

And yesterday when I passed by Ebisu station and heard someone next to me humming the Ebisu beer CM melody as the platform played, I smiled. It's good to feel like being a local sometimes, even just for a few seconds.

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I can't stand music in the 80s, and I think the 70s cosmetics and hair styles are the most hilarious. Although lately, it hits me that 10 years from now, all the latest stylish hair fashion in Tokyo is going to be severely laughed at by the kids of the current young generation. I've never had my hair dyed, nor do I ever attempt to get a haircut that would require me to take an extra 30 mins of curling or blow-drying in the morning. I may look rather conservative or out of fashion with my simple hair style right now, but I'm pretty sure I won't be the one laughed at the most 10 years from now.

What's up with guys with brown or bleached hair that has more thinned out layers than girls' anyway? And how come students never use backpacks here? Fashion rules, practicality always comes second. Everyday when I step on the subway escalator, I really want to tell the ladies in high heels in front of me that their feet look extremely painful when observed from behind. Sometimes I can't be sure if their shoes are more painful (if shoes do have feelings) or if their feet are suffering more.

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Someone told me that Tokyo Univ. library used to allow their graduate students to borrow only 3 books at a time. These days, Waseda Library allows for 15 books max. But no borrowing or library usage after 5 pm is allowed for a visiting user like myself. Twice when I was sitting in the main reading room in the Waseda Library, I was asked to go to a cramped computer lab on the 2nd floor or a closterphobic carrel down in the basement of the stock room to use my laptop; and finally, there was a small area set up for laptop users in Tokyo Univ. Library, but ethernet or wireless internet connection is still an unthinkable idea to the librarians. How in the world do Japanese students do research here? How many more hours do they spend on note-taking by hand? Being on a Japanese university campus, I realize that I've been completely spoiled by the American library system.

"A temporary visitor's pass? Sorry, we usually only give it out on a day by day basis; at most we only give out visitor's pass that's valid for one month."

"To hold the books that you aren't able to finish reading today? Sorry, I'm afraid that you just have to come back tomorrow to finish it."

"You want to use Google? Sorry, you can only access the library homepage with the connection provided here."

"You want to take the book upstairs to read? Sorry, the book is from the stock room so you can only read it in the stock room carrels."

Sigh ... At least they use polite honorific forms when they explain these rules to me.

梅ちゃん at 12:14:00 AM

3comments

3 Comments

at 7/14/06, 12:15 AM Anonymous johnjihoonchang said...

i think i'll have to avoid doing research in japan. at least no book research. the libraries sound draconian (albiet polite).

 
at 7/15/06, 3:13 PM Anonymous Lubie said...

Hi chica! Me too...I think I'll avoid researching in Japan as well. I hope you're doing well!

 
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