Sunday, 13 December 2009

Massive deja - vu: Akihabara station

I had one of those "hair prickling on the back of my neck" moments this evening, walking along the platform in Akihabara station towards the Sobu line for Shinjuku. It really was a "wow, I have done this before" feeling. Unlike deja-vu, I can actually remember when I did this before: exactly twenty (yes, 20) years ago.

Akihabara, Chiyoda-ku, TokyoImage via Wikipedia


Do you want to know something that makes it extremely weird? I was wearing the same jacket (rarely worn since) that I bought for interviews - always wore back then as my 'teacher uniform' because I didn't actually know how to teach but figured I needed to look the part. Yes, the jacket is a bit tighter now than it used to be...maybe I should wear it more often?

I used to grab a bowl of noodles on the opposite platform after my last class, once a week, teaching Phillipina hostesses on cultural visaes, just around the corner on Showa dori. I didn't have to speak to get food - it was one of those vending machine jobs outside; coins in, ticket out, noodles on counter. Just enough time to wolf that down, before making the last train 'home', all the way around Tokyo Bay Kemigawahama (nr Makuhari) in China, with the drunks and the porno manga reading losers.

Strewth. 20 years? Same clothes. That says a lot doesn't it?! My last trip to Akihabara then had been to buy a 'ghetto blaster', before I escaped the crap job, crap money, crap flat-mates, crap lifestyle to get "gaijinned" constantly in Suzaka. Consolation prize there was discovering a beer machine outside my apartment; drawback was the Arctic blast delivered from the long-drop khazi in a very cold winter, and the even colder flatmate Barbara I had to pretend I didn't hate. God, she was a miserable cow!

Absolutely twenty years ago, pretty much to the weekend. Thanks Dad, for lending me the cash to survive that first week in Tokyo - bought that jacket down the side of tracks in the famous markets beside Ueno station. Serious decision then was "food or clothes?" - so, again, nothing new!
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