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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Love in Tokyo

The title for this post came into my mind while I was in the Tokyo metro. But later I remembered the bollywood movie with the same title released in the 1960’s. Since it was a romantic drama movie set in Japan, it quite aligns with the story I want to share through this post. As I was sitting in the cathay pacific flight to Japan I streched my legs, looked out of the window and thought to myself that its been a long time since I had taken a break from the long hectic schedule of work and stress that I was enduring for a couple of years now. Although the season of cherry blossom had gone and it was the grey month of the year always cloudy and raining, I was so refreshed to walk along the streets of Kashiwanoha, a small place in the outskirts of Tokyo, that it was like sakura blossoming in my heart. Sometimes the sun would peep from the nimbus laden sky and I would sit on a chair in the balcony to see the beautiful wilderness in the golden sunshine.   

Me and my husband went to Tokyo often in the metrorail which was accurate by the minute. That is really a difference which you can feel in Japan from whichever country you come. The major drawback was their excessive love towards their own language and a total negligence towards english. This used to make me very uncomfortable initially when I went to buy things. Everything was written in Japanese and it was extremely hard to communicate with the people in the store as they did not know a speck of english. Later on however I got used to the whole thing and also could to some extent understand the language. Throughout the journey in the metro, which was sometimes extremely crowded, I used to observe the people around me, their expressions and their behaviour as I could never understand what they were talking about. It was a little weird to be a foreigner because unlike other countries like USA you do not find much people from other countries. Most of the times I was surrounded by an all japanese crowd. One peculiar thing that struck me was that any time of the day, you will never find a japanese in a shabby attire. They somehow always managed to look neatly, properly and most often than not elegantly dressed and to stress upon, its not only about women that I am talking. 
Sometimes I saw women clad in kimono which is their traditional dress and I would enter into a reverie about the old times when geisha culture was at its peak. I had read a romantic drama about that time written by Arthur Golden in his book ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. I do not know if all that he portrayed about the Japanese culture and tradition was true but I always felt a mysterious melancholy and an indescribable awe whenever I read that book. Those women in their kimonos elicited the same odd sensation. 

I was thinking about the love story of Sayuri, the innocent village girl who became the most celebrated geisha, and the chairman, when my husband woke me up from my daydreams to show me mount Fuji, which is visible from the metro train while going from Kashiwanoha to Tokyo. It was cloudy so the view was a little hazy, but I could still make out the shape of the mountain. Suddenly my eyes fell on an old couple sitting in the nearby seats by the window. They were, I think, in their 80s. Japanese people have long life so the couple actually did not look victims to the frailty old age ushers on us. Both of them were lost in their own worlds. I felt that after long years of companionship, maybe people have very little to talk about. The man was staring at a child sitting next to him playing video games. Perhaps he was remembering his own children and their childhood who must be grown-up individuals now busy in their own lives. The wife was looking out of the window and had a faint smile on her face as if enjoying the view outside. Something irked her feet and she made a faint sound hardly audible and bent down to fix it. The old man had such a disinterested look on his face that I felt he could hardly be alive for any emotions. But as soon as his wife made the sound, he quickly looked at her and as she bent down he put his hand on her shoulder and asked her something in Japanese  The woman nodded and said something which probably meant “its ok”. I thought to myself that the man must have shown his concern and asked her what happened. Then I saw the man looking at her feet in a concerned way and on the wife’s reassurance, he looked up at her face and after a minute he had again put up the lost weary look. Although I couldn't understand the language spoken, the love felt by the couple was as evident as broad daylight. It seemed as if their wrinkles had faded a little during those few moments. Being in a different country which was so unfamiliar to me, it was strange that I felt as if I was looking at my own grandparents whom I had always felt to be eternally in love with each other. I looked at my husband who was happily enjoying the outside scenery and wished we could share the same affection in our old age. Our station came and we got down. I was again and again looking back to catch a glimpse of the couple. Somehow they had made me very happy that day.