Withering away of the exotic

This will be my first blog. I don’t have a clear vision of what I want out of this blog, so I’m just going to wing it, writing down my thoughts and see what comes out of it. I have only one goal: an entry everyday.

I live in Japan, been here for over 4 years. I’ve always wanted to live in Japan, so I am really fortunate to have the opportunity to live here. I’ve traveled up and down, west and east, going to notable places every chance I can get, while trying to improve my understanding and knowledge of the history of Japan, Japanese culture and language. I’m still discovering new and interesting places, and I’m looking forward to more. So naturally, I expect some of my future entries to be about my travels in Japan, both from the past and those yet to come.

The word exotic is a charged term – it means you are fetishizing a culture or a place, often a exploited one, to be something that it is really not. You are experiencing something as a tourist, and then you come back to your privileged position once you’re satisfied. So I am almost loath to say it, but I would be lying if I said ‘exotic’ wasn’t the word that fit my first few months here in Japan. The sights were new, they were brilliant, the kanji so cool, the atmosphere in the cheap eateries where tired salarymen slumps over their rice bowls so foreign… That exoticness that colored my experiences seem to have faded away gradually over the years I’ve been here. Not that I complain of it, quite the contrary – I believe I am seeing Japan from a more even place. The kanji rolling across the message ticker in the subway cars no longer fascinate me; I see them what they were meant to be – merely characters conveying a message. The ‘exotic’ patina over the kanji has withered away.

More to come.

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