Sunday, May 23, 2010

Where in the world are my pants!?!

Now that I have your attention I must confess that I did not misplace my pants in a hazy moment of debauchery in Bangkok, or anything like that. So sorry to disappoint. I left Thailand not long ago for a brief stop in Hong Kong where I ate plenty of roast goose, and even bet on some horse racing in the rain. Now I`m in Tokyo where I have for the last four days been stuffing my face with strange and fantastic foods. And looking for my pants, of course.

Two months in the grittiness of South East Asia will do a number on the clothing you bring along. Not to mention that I did a horrible job packing. First I had too much and sent some home. Then I had to buy stuff I didn`t have. Now I`m trying to make do with clothing that isn`t quite right for where I`m at. So, everywhere I go I`m constantly searching for a great pair of pants. They have to be durable, versatile, stylish and cheap. Not only is my current attire grubby, but the people of Tokyo are so gosh darned cool that I`m beginning to feel a little self conscious about my wardrobe. Rush to visit here if you haven`t already. It`s enchanting.

There`s always talk of Japan being a strange and quirky place for Americans. Let me clarify, at least from my perspective. Culturally, I find Japan to be more like American than the other parts of Asia I`ve visited. Day to day life in a city like Tokyo is the same as New York or any other similar metropolis. I think the curiosity comes into play because there are fewer people who will converse in English and similarly much less English signage than, say in Thailand. That makes travel here mysterious, exciting and sometimes strange. Baring pictures or plastic models of the food I`m ordering, I just point to the menu and anticipate what wonderful thing will be put in front of me. Earlier today I stood on line for fifteen minutes, not knowing what was at the end. I only knew it was going to be great because people were lining up for it. I`ve been eating mainly what would be considered fast food in Tokyo. Cheap and quick, but unlike the burgers and fried offerings we associate with the genre in America, convenience eating choices in Japan are vast and often light. In a country that is thought of as expensive, I`ve managed not to spend too much of my Yen on food. The only real issue is searching for that perfect meal, because restaurants are literally everywhere in Tokyo.

Searching has become a theme for me lately. Searching for food, searching for an organic farm or two in Japan to spend some time working with, and searching for my pants of course. I`m also searching for some direction to take when I decide that my time traveling needs to end. The food is easy. I`m not sure I`ll ever find my pants! Searching for direction in such a fantastic and unfamiliar place will prove to be interesting, though. I`m looking forward to the next two months and what insights I may find.

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