The very lovely cat street, Harajuku

Somewhere in America

Everywhere, in Tokyo’s youth districts of Shibuya and Harajuku: Brooklyn, Brooklyn.

On sweatshirts Brooklyn, on book bags Brooklyn.

Descending the stairs, a Japanese girl with a maroon sweatshirt that said “Crown Heights”. In La Foret Harajuku, the most avant-garde mall in the most avant-garde fashion country in the world, they are dreaming of Crown Heights.

Hey, I lived there, I thought, as she went down. And now I am here.

Surreal luxury hiphop brands like Joyrich, and Gr8, where the stylists for kpop stars are no doubt buying their outfits and I can’t afford to buy a wallet, digital hypersaturated, fuzzy and vivid like MDMA, money, careless wealth, luxury but cool insouciant luxury, the way rappers made it cool.

And what is behind it all, giving it credibility, keeping it real?

Strange how the experience of living in the hood, of being poor and young and black in America has become the ground zero for global narratives of coolness.

"I’m so good at working/somewhere in America/Miley Cyrus is still twerking" —Jay Z

Somewhere in America

Everywhere, in Tokyo’s youth districts of Shibuya and Harajuku: Brooklyn, Brooklyn.

On sweatshirts Brooklyn, on book bags Brooklyn.

Descending the stairs, a Japanese girl with a maroon sweatshirt that said “Crown Heights”. In La Foret Harajuku, the most avant-garde mall in the most avant-garde fashion country in the world, they are dreaming of Crown Heights.

Hey, I lived there, I thought, as she went down. And now I am here.

Surreal luxury hiphop brands like Joyrich, and Gr8, where the stylists for kpop stars are no doubt buying their outfits and I can’t afford to buy a wallet, digital hypersaturated, fuzzy and vivid like MDMA, money, careless wealth, luxury but cool insouciant luxury, the way rappers made it cool.

And what is behind it all, giving it credibility, keeping it real?

Strange how the experience of living in the hood, of being poor and young and black in America has become the ground zero for global narratives of coolness.

"I’m so good at working/somewhere in America/Miley Cyrus is still twerking" —Jay Z

Shibuya early morning

Breakfast in Shibuya:

So for all that I can be an epic hater at times, what with all the disappointments of modern capitalism, just walking around in Tokyo fills with me with a pure animal joy so profound it is like ascending bodily into heaven. I grew to love Bangkok over time, and then to hate it, but I loved Tokyo from the second I knew it. It is everything I love about civilisation in my sensitive soul, the perfection of everyday life in its every nuance. Of course, that shit ain’t cheap, and not all Japanese take kindly to that being interrupted by foreigners.

I had a Japanese breakfast at the hotel, saba and pickles and miso soup and iced coffee and I was already happy, drinking in the sunshine. It was like 7am, a time that normally I never see except for jetlag, and I went out to explore and take pictures in the morning sun. Then I realized that nothing is open then, I fact I forgot because, duh, I’m never awake then.

I’m in Tokyo baby!

After like the most gruelling trip ever —- 3 + 13 hours flying + 1.5 hours train and waiting in line, I’m in Tokyo! I ate tasty robot sushi and coffee jelly and walked around and now I’m super jet lagged and awake and playing Hay Game!

Sunset in the Chinese garden at the Botanical gardens.

packing reflections

In a lot of ways I didn’t have the life that I hoped for, or even that I wanted. But still, every second there it was, a second of my precious life on this earth. Living is not like riding a car….it’s more like sailing a boat, or riding a horse…there are other elements that come into play than just your will alone…there is also the weather, and sometimes your skill at sailing. There’s weather that would sink any ship, and weather where you’d have to throw yourself bodily overboard to fail, and then most people it’s something in between.

When there’s ending sometimes I think of the big ending…little deaths that prepare your soul to deal with the big one. A sense of loss, throwing things away, food I didn’t eat, belongings I didn’t have time to donate, waste, loss. But also looking forward, realizing how heavy this apartment has weighed on me this entire year, how my chest tightens when I get close to this neighborhood, how I felt my shoulders come up to my ears coming back from SF.

Such a difficult year, so much exile, so much flight, so much trauma, but yet packing and looking back on my time in Canada, I see times when I was happy, taking my FIT course, going to CL, going to the gym when it was still good, learning how to bgirl, speaking at PyCon, going to HS, my cat, living with Sisi, fun times with T and Y, drinking big drinks at A.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and still you have to make a plan and try to follow it.

nateswinehart:

Being good to each other is so important, guys.

(via isnotsparta)

packing

packing…so stressed because crappy neighbor is back and this means i never know when some asshole will wake me up in the middle of the night and it makes me really stressed and nervous.

Finding all my things, my training manuals, stuff from breakdancing, japanese learning books, making me realize there were lots of happy times also, living with Sisi, living with my kitty, my old apartment and the Japanese people, my old kind neighbor Micheline, my gym, Yohan, Hacker School, going to Bullishcon, going to Vancouver, there were lots of happy times also.

A blog of going to Hacker School and discovering New York City.

view archive



Best of

Ask me anything