The buildings of Hamamatsucho wink at me with a single shared eye, the sun reflecting off every window as I pass on the Haneda Monorail. It’s 6:45 in the morning. It must be fall, winter or spring. Tokyo’s summer haze makes the sun bleary-eyed; it could never pierce the sky with such blinding precision.
It’s one of those mornings. I say that with a sense of familiarity, but it’s been years since I’ve had one of those mornings.
My difficulty thinking of the word ‘familiarity’ will tell you how long I’ve been in Japan. Nareta. ‘Nihon, mou naremashita ka?’ ‘Hai. Nareta.’
Yes. I’m used to Japan.
Compliment me on my chopstick use and you’ll open up a Fuji-sized can of worms. Do you use two fingers or three? Three? Really? I use two. It’s more efficient, don’t you think? Have you ever tried it? Ah, well how do you hold a pencil? Well, that’s why.
Newbies cringe at the mention of their chopstick habits. I used to cringe. Now I dive joyously into finer points of technique.
Don’t talk to me about travel. I’ve been to every obscure point between Kobe and Sapporo, and as editor-in-chief of a national travel magazine, those few point I haven’t visited, I’ve edited, cross-checked and cropped the photos. I’m still a little weak in western Japan. It’s far. I’ve spent all my time based in Kanto and Chubu. Flying is a pain.
At the airport now. Another day, another flight. It’s been years. But it’s just another flight. 36 hours in Fukuoka, then back to Saitama.
‘Mou naremashita ka?’
Yes. I’m used to it.