It's surprisingly hard to understand that I have just spent three months in Tokyo. Really.
Nothing here has changed, obviously, but it's funny how quickly you pick up old routines and habits. In many ways, it's as if I never left.
My last night in Tokyo took place in Shin-matsudo, hometown of Philippe and Robin. The former was kind enough to let me stay at his place for the night, and together with Robin's friend Andreas we set out to find something fun to do in Shin-matsudo on a Friday night. It started well enough with sushi, which I've eaten less of than I had hoped in Tokyo.
The plan was then to find a karaoke place and/or bowling alley, which proved difficult. I was initially determined to find something really colourful, like a paintball/casino/dog race establishment, but there's not that much available in Shin-matsudo. At last we settled for an hour of free drinks and karaoke, servicing both the thirst of my comrades and my eagerness to sing Whitney Houston songs.
It was a nice hour. I sang pretty much non-stop, plowing through both One Moment In Time and The Greatest Love of All, as well as some old favorites by Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Feist. Me and Philippe also tried to conquer Hysteria by Muse, which nearly killed us.
The journey back to Stockholm was smooth, thankfully. My overweight suitcase and bus-sized backpack made it through check-in and customs at Narita without any fuss, and the 10-hour flight to Copenhagen wasn't too bad at all. I watched some of The Incredibles and about 9 episodes of The Simpsons. The food was great, and I got some sleep.
At Copenhagen I again bought some internet-time, and the flight to Stockholm was barely noticeable.
Before I knew it, I was back in my apartment.
I've already been asked the question "How was Tokyo?" to which I have no good reply. It was amazing. It was difficult, at times, and confusing. It's the greatest city in the world, and probably the most expensive one I've visited.
I'm sure the significance of this trip will become apparent over time. Right now, it's a collection of photographs and new acquaintances, fond memories and some vague understanding of the Japanese language.
But three months is a long time. Maybe not spent going to work as always, but learning new things every day and discovering a city like Tokyo, it's a lot of time.
I've seen snow and summer, listened to noise and the shamisen, eaten every type of Japanese food I could ever want, seen the sakura blossom. I've been to temples in Kamakura and seen robots on Odaiba, I've watched a Japanese game show being made, and seen silent movies accompanied by a benshi voice-actor. I've been to retro videogame shops and ten-floor department stores, the Imperial Garden and Electric Town in Akihabara.
Despite all that I have done and seen, I can't wait to go back.
As far as "How was Tokyo?" goes, I advise anyone who asks to find out for themselves. It's the best city in the world.
Everyone's favorite niece, making friends with Totoro.