I admit to cruising AccuWeather now almost on a daily basis looking at weather reports for March in Japan and Vietnam. March in Tokyo is a transition from winter to spring so it may include a variety of types of weather. Hanoi is warm and getting warmer and there are spells of rain.
The last time I visited Japan was in 2011 around October and November. I had only a few hours in Tokyo and then headed down to Kyoto for some days walking the city. After that I took the bullet train back to Tokyo and caught the Narita Express train back to the airport. Not a lot of time to spend in a city that requires an investment of time and energy. To say
I saw Tokyo
I must be willing to walk the city, have tired legs at the end of the day, sit with a cold beer purchased on the cheap from a convenience store and then look at the harvest of pictures on my memory card. But the real thing to say I saw the city is to know up front I have not seen the city. I will have only seen the city on the streets I choose to walk down. What happens a street over left or right I will never know. Whether its a sleepy neighborhood with school children laughing and running and the brave one asking me to talk English to them or the harried day workers strolling in their 45 minute lunch breaks; all cannot be seen.
I’ve acknowledged that before in my dealings with cities like Vancouver, Seattle, and San Diego. And I’ve found its okay. Its okay at the end of the day when I settle back to perhaps get just a bit drunk to reflect that my feet touched those city streets and I rode on the Tokyo Met Subway.
There are places I will go and there are places I will miss and then I’ll fly on to Vietnam. I’ll stay longer because I want to live there and feel the pulse of a city that has a soul and spirit. I will taste the Pho and walk and see. Its all there for the person that’s willing to miss most of it. Take note of the fact that you have the best method to see things at a pace and speed you can deal with. Forty-five MPH on a tour bus may let you see more as you careen the streets. But ask yourself. What was it you saw on that ride? Do you remember the people? Or just the routes you took to see it all.
There’s a story in me about walking and seeing I fear. A navigation of the paths taken and missed and the why of it. When I finish with work, I think the time will be upon to consider the longer writing I have wanted to do. What kind of writing shall it be? I have a bankroll of stories of a life spent in different endeavors and how each spun into a future that is the past now.
Stay tuned. My end of days doing IT is fast approaching. The stories boil up within and demand some attention. Soon I’ll touch those streets in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Osaka. Watch the blur from the Shinkansen window as the bullet hurtles.