A couple days after I returned from Japan I fell into a funk. Not sure what else to call it. I was on a high for an entire week, experiencing new things every moment, living on my schedule. Then suddenly it was over, I was back to monotony, my schedule revolving around work and other responsibilities. It’s a horrible feeling. I’m slowly leveling out, getting back into the groove that is my daily life. But to get back into the groove I have to start forgetting about Japan. Not by choice, but if I don’t force myself to forget about it I’ll continually long for it and never be present in the now.

In the privacy and safety of my room, however, I can relive and long for that week in Japan. I can also eat at my desk while writing this because I’m a grown woman and I do what I want.

Don’t tell my mom I’m eating in my room.

Professional Stalker

Okay, a better title for this section would be ‘People Watching’ but I wanted to use the term ‘stalker’ and this may be my only chance.

During my college years I took a handful of photography courses at the local community college. I’m going to be a snob and say that all the classes I took were film black and white classes. And yes, shooting film makes me super cool. One semester we went on a field trip to the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. My photo professor at the time, a wonderful and talented woman named Donna, wanted us to see their current exhibit which was street photography. I remember seeing looking at prints from some of the most famous street photographers in history and thinking ‘yep, this is what I’m supposed to do’. I definitely have not been a street photographer these past years, but that passion has always been there. Though these photos aren’t what I would define as ‘good street photography’, they’re definitely an improvement from my ‘take a wide photo and zoom in during post processing’ approach.

For the record, Japan is a great place to people watch.

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Robot Restaurant!!!1

Yes, the three exclamation points (and the 1) are needed to properly convey the excitement I have for this place.

I first heard of this play on an Anthony Bourdain show. On the show he said it was weird, confusing, and amazing. You had me at ‘weird’, Tony. You had me at ‘weird’.

This show is literally one of the most entertaining shows I’ve every seen. There’s loud music, flashing lights, and, yes, dancing robots.

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Hi. Where are you from?

I feel there is so much pressure to make friends when you travel alone.

Is that just me?

I feel people expect solo travelers to be adventurous and outgoing, spending their nights roaming the streets with their new friends. Um, no. I prefer to be curious and introverted, spending my nights at my hostel watching movies my brother put on my iPad before I left. And for the record, you can watch 22 Jump Street too many times.

By my second night, however, I realized I did miss conversation. So I struck up a conversation with a fellow solo traveler where all great conversations start. The bathroom.

From there we grabbed drinks on the first floor. Then our duo turned into a trio which then turned into a hexo? What’s the term for six people? Whatever it is we were that.

Has making friends always been this easy?

Maybe people are more receptive to relationships while traveling solo. Maybe there’s an innate need to be part of a community. Community. Yes. That’s what we were. That’s what I craved at every hostel I went to. A community.

I met people from all over the world in Japan; Japan, Austria, London, Scotland, The Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland. You name a country and there was some there representing it. Everyone was open, kind, and awesome. I had some of my best conversations with these people. And even though I spent a max of 3 days with any of them, I miss them.

If any of you are reading, thank you. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for the community.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a photo of everyone I met. One of the few regrets I have while on this trip. I guess that means I’ll just have to make plans to visit them all.

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There’s so much more about Tokyo I want to say, to express, but don’t know how. I learned so much in the short week I was in Japan. So much about myself, my wants, my regrets. Leaving Japan created a constant longing in me. For what, I don’t really know. To travel the world? To be apart of a bigger community? To east constantly throughout the day? Who knows.

But the longing is there. That much I know. Here’s to seeing where it leads me.

Much Love. Always.

-SAM

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

-Leonardo da Vinci