I’m back in Silicon Valley today. It feels so…Californian here. Succulent plants stretching brazenly in the sun, bright orange poppies, palm trees, scrubby desert trees, wide roads, high stress levels. People seem large and brash. In immigration, we had to pick which line to get into. The mated freedom and stress of constant decision-making required here flooded in, and I set my jaw into maverick mode.
At home, birds tweeted outside. “Hey,” said my daughter. “Those are real birds!” In Japan, we never heard real ones, but electronic simulations were everywhere—gently tweeting songs directed blind people in train stations or across the street, and at my office, every time the phone “rang,” I thought we were suddenly transported to a summer evening in the countryside with crickets chirping and birds trilling.
I already miss Japanese single-serve coffee drippers, which I survive on during trips there. They aren’t very eco, but still, why haven’t they caught on in the U.S.? Actually, I can get them here in the Japanese supermarket, and I’m having one this morning. Somehow, though, it itsn’t the same experience. The mug is too big, the kitchen ceilings are too high, the water doesn’t pour right, the sun is too bright, the plants in the garden are colored too boldly, the sounds of Osaka are missing: bell chimes, train announcements, blaring political speeches from cars, beeping cars, wash of rain on the window.
I still have some posts from this time in Japan, and I’ll share them over the next couple of weeks.