Love Affair of place

I realised tonight that a relationship with a country or city you’ve fallen in love with is much like a romance with a person.

There’s that initial puppy dog excitement when you first see it/them, the butterflies in the tummy, the racing pulse, the goofy smile on your face. I’m like that when I first see the neon lights of Shinjuku and realise that I really am back in Tokyo.

Then there’s that possibly greater contentment you have when you know a place well, when you know where it’s all going, when even a turn at a wrong exit leaves you knowing exactly which way to head next. Certainly in my married life I hold this dear. It occurred to me tonight I’m beginning to get that about Shinjuku, though I’m by far a beginner still just scratching the surface.

I can casually breeze through a crowd of hosts and find a yoshinoya, and eat on my own in the companiable silence of the other bodies there slurping their ramen, and not feel out of place. I’m beginning to find a comfort zone even when alone.

If there’s a slight worry that I may not be quite as puppy dog excited about my first view of the lights as I was last time, it is tempered with the knowledge that I know my way around a lot more.

Maybe tomorrow when I hit the shops I might find the fashion and stores a little less exciting than previous times – but I know where all the stores are, and where to get my tax refund, and when to take off my shoes and how to receive the wrapped parcel of newly purchased garments. And when some of the assistants recognise me from times before and are happy to see me, there will be that glow.

There’s a contentment and a relaxing on the inside, as I let the charms of Tokyo seduce me once more. The butterflies are but resting 🙂

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