Tokyo, It's Been 7 Years

"Do you have any plans for the future?”

"I don’t know. Hopefully, I’ll get into a decent university here and just go with the flow, I guess.”

(With my middle school friend in Taiwan, the year 2010)

August 2011, I landed in Tokyo, a completely foreign city. Who would’ve known that I would continue to stay in this city for 7+ years?

If I were to use one word to describe my life, I would say it’s a capricious one.

High school, 4 years. University, 3 years and 1-year study abroad. Currently, my first semester of Masters; basically, I have spent one-third of my life in Tokyo, Japan.

Counting the days that I have walked in the streets of Tokyo, I have experienced and accumulated a cauldron of mixed emotions. 

Tokyo, you are too convenient a city. Convenience stores and restaurants almost occupy every step of the way.

Having experienced the ups and downs, I have met amazing teachers and my best friend at Sacred Heart International High School in Tokyo. 

Three years at Waseda, I joined an international dance circle for three whole semesters. The circle became my second home because I met amazing people and made many friends there.

I definitely spent some good days in Tokyo, that’s no lie.

2016 Blue Cave Illuminations in Shibuya (photo by myself)

As a Sagittarius, I like to be honest, even though some words may not sound as pleasant.

Sorry and not sorry for saying this, but Tokyo, I feel tired.

As far as I am used to it by now (duh, it's been 7 years), I still terribly miss my hometown, even though I am able to visit it a few times per year.

Tokyo, maybe you haven’t heard this - I’m telling you my deepest secrets.

I’ve shed tears a few times the day before or the day when I’m returning to Tokyo.

People surrounding me speaking the Japanese language over the years? To be honest, I am so sick of it.

As much as I don’t like leaving my house during the weekends, I would say I have a pretty good grasp of how Tokyoites behave.

Dealing with Tokyo for 7+ years made me reach this conclusion: 

“Overcrowded trains during rush hours, overly meticulous and reticent nature, everything the same, too many people everywhere.”

Walking on the streets anywhere, it reminds me of familiar Taipei.

Back to when I said my life is a capricious one, I have encountered various paths in my life so far in which I had to choose between ‘staying in Tokyo’ or ‘somewhere else’.

Tokyo night view taken at Tokyo City View, Roppongi on the last day of 2016 (photo by myself)​

Occasionally, I still question myself why I chose to stay in Tokyo when I could’ve easily made another choice that would’ve probably made me a happier person in general.

Ironically, the longer I stay in Tokyo, I realized that my personality strayed further from that of Japanese people. I am amazed yet satisfied with my transformation, and being stuck in Tokyo somewhat made me more acquainted with who I am.

Being exposed to Japanese society since the summer of 2011, fatigue hits hard these days more frequently than I had imagined; I do not know if staying in Tokyo for this long is destined. As a 7+ year Tokyo resident, it is easy for me to complain about this city and why I am still stuck here after all these years. 

This article is all about my candid opinion, so I hope you don’t mind me speaking out about these somewhat accumulated complaints.

As my final words:

“Tokyo is an amazing city for tourism. However, when it comes to living here long-term, I am really not so sure about that.”

It’s been 7 years, Tokyo, and you probably know me well enough.