Skip

Tokyo stories from curious outsiders
May 7, 2007 12:13 AM   Subscribe

Hitotoki.org (Japanese for 'a point in time') is a "new literary site collecting stories of personal, singular experiences in Tokyo." If you've visited Tokyo, please consider sharing a part of your Tokyo experience at hitotoki.org. If you plan to visit Japan, please peruse what will be an interesting collection of personal stories of life in Tokyo.
posted by gen (23 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's weird to read stuff like this after having been here so long. I tend to forget that once upon a time, I too reacted similarly to every little ordinary thing in this city.
I still love the city, make no mistake, but not for the naive misconceptions I had in the beginning.
posted by nightchrome at 12:26 AM on May 7, 2007


The odd things barely even register any more.. although I did receive my first kancho last week, I thought though were urban legends.
posted by lundman at 12:35 AM on May 7, 2007


It's weird to read stuff like this after having been here so long... I still love the city, make no mistake, but not for the naive misconceptions I had in the beginning.

Yup, same here: what was once exotic is now simply the everyday. But some of those little peculiarities that for me too now go largely unnoticed, I still sometimes see them again through the eyes of out-of-town friends visiting Tokyo for the first time. Then I remember, 'oh, yeah, it is really amazing that you don't have to chain your bike to a pole, no one's gonna steal it', or 'hey, you can buy beer from vending machines', that sort of thing. There's an expression to the effect that there are only 2 kinds of people qualified to write about Japan: those who've been here for 3 days and those who've been here for 30 years. I think I agree with that. Anything in between is difficult...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:46 AM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


flapjax at midnite writes "There's an expression to the effect that there are only 2 kinds of people qualified to write about Japan: those who've been here for 3 days and those who've been here for 30 years. I think I agree with that. Anything in between is difficult..."

Wow. Thanks for saying that. I've spent a lot of time in Tokyo (never lived there for more than a couple months at a time, though), and I really love the place, but I've spent the last 20 minutes unable to think of anything intelligent to say in this thread. I guess this expression really rings true with me.

Especially because I know that if I looked back at my journals from my first visit, I would see that I had a lot of "intelligent" things to say at the time.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:53 AM on May 7, 2007


I live in Inaka City and bikes get stolen all the time. Maybe in Tokyo people have better things to do.

Whenever I visit Tokyo, I am amazed when I see all of the people who are over 20, yet under 60. I am less amazed by the hitotoki.org stories. What's up w/ the footnotes? They are not really needed and not very cute.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:10 AM on May 7, 2007


I live in Inaka City

Inaka kusai!

sorry, had to say it...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:34 AM on May 7, 2007


They are not really needed and not very cute.

...'cause if it ain't kawaii in Japan, it ain't worth anything...
posted by gen at 4:07 AM on May 7, 2007


so... MeFi Tokyo meetup anyone??
posted by gen at 4:10 AM on May 7, 2007


Inaka kusai!
*sigh* Everything here smells like squid.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:20 AM on May 7, 2007


Yes I do!
posted by donkeymon at 4:23 AM on May 7, 2007


I have nothing to contribute, since all my best stories took place in Shizuoka-ken.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:22 AM on May 7, 2007


I'm all over this :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:08 AM on May 7, 2007


personal, singular experiences in Tokyo

I imagine most personal experiences in Tokyo are hardly singular, but being one of those "in-between" people, I'm not qualified to say anything more.
posted by three blind mice at 7:55 AM on May 7, 2007


Since the site is for visitors and not residents, I think by "singular" they're just going after the kind of thing that visitors believe is singular, and which us long-time residents know isn't. "I saw salarymen crushed on the train" wouldn't be singular. Everyone knows about that stuff before they even come here, and it's hard to imagine that you were the only person to ever see the Sobu line. "I saw some schoolgirls squatting in front of a convenience store smoking and drinking beer despite being in uniform" is the kind of thing a visitor would think "aha, I've had a singular experience!", and us long-timers would say "yeah, yankee. The countryside is full of 'em."
posted by Bugbread at 8:09 AM on May 7, 2007


"yankee" in Japan =/= Yankee or Yankees
posted by gen at 10:46 AM on May 7, 2007


Neat idea this Hitotoki.org. Would like to see something like this for every major city. Of course, each major metropolis has its own quirky character and distictive stories. Don't think I've quite gotten over the culture shock of being in NYC, even after 21 years now.

In the 10 years I lived in India I didn't learn a single swear word, rarely heard what sounded like cussing. First day in NYC after 15 years overseas, the building super and plumber came to fix the plumbing in the apartment, where I was a guest in a penthouse in Gramercy Park (posh part of town) and I said, "Would you be so kind to wait a minute, Veda is in the shower and about to finish." His reply was, "Fuck this shit, I'm not waiting, let's get the fuck out of here." My jaw dropped. Welcome to the Big Apple.

Now I cuss like a fishwife like the rest of the folks here, which definitely raises eyebrows with out-of-towners. Momentarily I realise I've just done to them what was done to me, shocked the shit out of them and then I think, welcome to the Big Apple. :)

There's almost always some new, delightfully quirky Far Eastern something on the web every day. Today's sillibiz is the stick-up hooks by 3M, that look like the cute teddy bears, frogs or kittycats. The thing is that all have erections as the hook.

And on the same page of happy happy joy joy hooks is the DIY cosmetic surgery - only $7.50, "Be a Cleopatra's Nose".
posted by nickyskye at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2007


For clarification, we are collecting stories from and for visitors and residents, not only visitors. Some of our stories have been written by people who have been here quite a while.

As for singularity, each of us have been here about 5 years each, and we still believe there are plenty of new experiences to be had in Tokyo and plenty of room for new takes on familiar experiences. If we didn't, we wouldn't have created hitotoki (and probably would have went back to our home countries by now.)

We hope the site can inspire even the "in-betweens" to take another look at their surroundings. If you feel your own experience isn't being represented yet, we would love for you to submit something.
posted by cpalmieri at 11:06 AM on May 7, 2007


cpalmieri, Glad you joined MetaFilter. Think your site is an excellent idea.
posted by nickyskye at 1:39 PM on May 7, 2007


Hi cpalmieri, and yes, welcome to MetaFilter. Check out the Tokyo MeFi meetup thread now underway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:04 PM on May 7, 2007


Thanks for the warm welcome, I hope I can contribute something to the site.
posted by cpalmieri at 6:04 PM on May 7, 2007


Wish I could come to the Tokyo MeFi meet-up flapjax. I'll be there in spirit.

And cpalmieri, do go to the meetup. Think you'll like it.
posted by nickyskye at 6:49 PM on May 7, 2007


RE: Exotic Tokyo becomes ordinary

I think a lot of this is due to the fact that long term residents anywhere tend to settle into routine and work somewhat regular jobs.

Personally though, weird stuff tends to happen to my girlfriend and I pretty often still, but it's usually when we leave our comfort zone and venture out somewhere new, or end up in Shinjuku late at night.
posted by ejoey at 10:24 PM on May 7, 2007


Eh, Tokyo. 大阪好きやねん!
posted by emmling at 6:55 AM on May 11, 2007


« Older Soul Sacrifice   |   Be aggressive from superdeluxe Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post