I find that when thrown into a new life, my mind adapts to whatever new situations are presented without putting any thought into whether or not the new ways are strange or different from the ways that things used to be for me. My mind just sort of pretends like these surroundings are the ones I have always been in, and everything from yesterday begins to feel like a dream.
Some things though are so antipodal to the life that I have known for 23 years that my brain freezes up and can articulate no other words than “what the fuck!!!” One of these brain-fryers that I have encountered in Japan is the custom of the first 5 foot square area within one’s home being a public space. I suppose this custom took its roots in a time before the dawn of the doorbell, and I suppose this is in a way useful for myself being that the doorbell on my house doesn’t work, but yes, it will be quite a while before I am able to keep my heart from flying out of my chest when random strangers fling my front door open without a knock and call out my name.
“SUMIMASEN!!!” (hello/excuse me), an electrician calls out as he jumps through the door just as I am leaving the shower 3 feet away from the front door, still dripping with water. Little baby heart attacks. I absolutely love the idea of an area of someone’s house being public space, don’t get me wrong, I think its great, it’s just going to take some getting used to.
Driving on the left side of the road, eating nato (fermented soybeans) and rice for breakfast instead of my usual frosted flakes, wearing business clothes more than t-shirts–none of it really feels strange. I do miss being with friends though. One thing that I realized this afternoon is that I’ve just sort of been assuming that I’m going to go back to America one day and things and people will be just as I left them, but this is not the case. People are growing older, lives are evolving, and my own role in life will probably never be the same. This to me is more strange than sad, perhaps because the truth of this still doesn’t feel real, but it does certainly have its sadness. Autumn is drawing near. You can sense the seasons change before they arrive by the way the sunlight looks just a little bit different than it did the day before.