Thursday, July 3, 2008
We’re usually pretty lazy about going out for late nights here in Tokyo, but last Friday there was a party happening that we didn’t want to miss. W+K’s record label, WK Tokyo Lab, threw a big party to celebrate the opening of the Tokyo.Ten exhibition at the Claska Hotel. There was live music provided by Tokyo Lab’s own, as well as a huge display of visual art by a large number of artists collaborating with the label. We had a really great time. The party happened to fall on one of the only sunny days in a while (June & July are the rainy season, yay), which made it feel even more like a celebration. It was really fun to see the artwork, and also to bump into friends from around town who we hadn’t seen in a while.
Before moving to Tokyo I never realized that there is a community of people and families out there in the world that is living indefinitely international. They don’t just move to one place for a year or two. It’s more long term than that; it often involves multiple locations and many, many years abroad. I’ve met families from America that have spent years living in Singapore then Hong Kong and now Tokyo; Australia, Hong Kong, Tokyo and back to Hong Kong; France, America and now Tokyo; New Zealand to Shanghai, Tokyo and now Dubai. It goes on and on like that. And then there are the people who have moved from their home country to live here in Tokyo indefinitely. They have babies abroad, send them to international schools, create social bubbles providing them with a connection to their own cultural traits and friends who speak their own language (yes I’m also guilty of this). These people have no plan to return home. In fact, home becomes sort of ambiguous after a while. And it doesn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. Becoming acquainted with these folks really blew my mind at first. Living abroad for a couple years, sure, but I couldn’t fathom the idea of giving up my life back home for a never-ending international experience. To tell the truth, I thought these people must be nuts; or maybe they just came from a place not quite as nice as the one I’m from. But over time, as I got to know these people I realized that they weren’t nuts. In fact I quite liked them and shared a lot in common with them. They also came from pretty desirable places, and they all raved about their home countries just as much as I did (you become unexpectedly patriotic when you live abroad). The only thing I can really gather as a reason or explanation for this lifestyle comes down to that old silly phrase: Different strokes for different folks.
Needless to say, this move-around-the-globe lifestyle creates a lot of sayonara parties. This month I’ll say goodbye to three of my Tokyo girlfriends. These girls are off to Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong. I’ll miss them all as they’ve kept the laughs coming and the spirits high through my time here in Tokyo. The power of friendship is such a special thing. I’m not sure I would have made it here in Tokyo had I not nailed a few solid friendships. After our goodbye dinner the other night with our friends Joanna and Andrew, I squeezed Joanna so tight that I could almost feel the baby in her six-month pregnant tummy give me a little kick. I just didn’t want to forget that last hug. I don’t know when we’ll see Joanna and Andrew again, hopefully in Sydney this winter, but more likely back in NYC. I wish them all well and a big old SAYONARA!