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Daisuki na Tokyo - Tokyo's my favorite

Illustration by Dot

Wherever expats gather in Tokyo, the same, tired old gripes are soon voiced. And I'm left feeling faintly stupid for loving it here.

I've only logged a year so far. Maybe soon the penny will drop and I'll be whining with the best of them. But in the meantime, I get a kick out of my commute. Navigating the crowds is as much fun as rollerblading in traffic: Dodge! Duck! Make that light! Eat umbrella spray, punk! It used to piss me off that the trains shut down at night; then I realized it's the excuse we all need to party until dawn instead of wimping out at 3am. Isn't it a blast catching the first train, a.k.a. the Yamanote Zoo?

I also love catching the last train with all the squiffy workaholics. There's something infinitely touching about a salaryman asleep. Awake, he's a mesmerizing paradox: his suit connotes authority, but it's also a corset of oppression. I empathize! Asleep, he's simply adorable.

As for Tokyo's female fashion victims, they're adorable all the time. I often amuse myself by holding a private Living Barbie contest. It takes time and energy to be a contender, girls!

Tokyo's inanimate scenery also leaves New York City, my hometown, in the shade. You could drop Times Square into Ikebukuro and it wouldn't get any sparklier. You could stick the World Trade Center into Ginza and nobody would notice. Doesn't just looking at all the neon make you happy?

So many rebuttals, so little space. "Oh, the poor homeless of Tokyo!" Guess what? They're a damn sight comfier in Shinjuku than they are on the gratings of Manhattan since Rudy "Shoganai" Giuliani booted them out of the subway system. In Ueno Park they do it up with tents, pets and laundry lines. That says a lot about Japan, frankly.

Of course, I, too, have my reservations. Natto is disgusting, Morning Musume are even more annoying than the Spice Girls, and I worry about earthquakes just like I used to worry about terrorists with anthrax blowers.

It's home away from home! Gotham to the power of ten! Bigger, faster, wilder, more! Ain't that supposed to be the American way?

You've even got your air pollution… the complaints spilling unfiltered from the mouths of certain expats.

Yes, sometimes we're made to feel like performing seals. But patience and compassion will lead to mutual understanding. For those who feel like giving up, I have four little words: Don't go home yet.

Many thanks to an anonymous reader for this Rave.

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Metropolis Online
349: Life in the cycle lane
Playing chicken with a ladybike
348: Daisuki na Tokyo
Tokyo's my favorite!
347: Nihongo dake!
Why am I not fluent in Japanese yet?
346: People make the city
The beauty of Tokyo's people
345: Cross Training
Commuting by train in Tokyo
344: Yellow Line Fever
A guide for the blind... and a pain in the neck
343: Welcome to Tokyo
What did you bring me?
342: Positive thinking
Three reasons why we love Japan
341: I'm a rounder...
Veterans of Japan vs. Japan rookies
340: Discard your bank cards
The labour of replacing lost bank cards
339: Shoganai...
It can't be helped
338: Respect your environment
Poluution problem in Tokyo
337: Strike Three - You're Enlightened
How omiyage ruins a vacation
336: Missing manners
No manners outside of Japan
335: Goodbye jitensha
Is stealing bikes a popular pastime in Japan?
334: War of the Words
English borrows from other languages too!
333: ENGLISH ONLY, please
Don't bother writing your name in Japanese
332: A menu carved in stone
No special requests for lunch!
331: The Zen of Looking Busy
The art behind faking work
330: Lyrical Phlegm
Japan's spitting dilemma
329: Rock harder, Japan
Big, bad and ugly concerts
328: Noise Deficiency
The unrelenting quiet that is not Japan
327: Chopstick Diplomat
Constant questioning = constant answering
326: Game over
Cutting off the game for regular scheduled program
325: Grown pains
The hooligan behavior of middle-aged salarymen
324: The Price of Fame
Young teen actors light up on-screen
323: A Customary Affair
The universal language of consumerism
322: Robber barons
JR steals from the rich.. and the poor
321: Tegami Or Not Tegami
Deny the letter to save money
320: The Garbage Men
Variations of the "salaryman"
319: Holidaze
Japan - Home of the lamest holidays in the world
318: Box your ears
Be the karaoke star you've always dreamed of
317: The winter of my discontent
No oden if it's spring please!
316: The Bells
Going insane from bells and voices
315: The Big Tokyo Trash Mystery
No garbage cans + too much garbage= a clean city?
314: The Kamikaze Spirit
The war may be over but the spirit lives on
313: Movie Mania
Laughing alone in the corner
312: Geek parade
What's going on with gaijin men?
311: Gleaming gomi
Rinse it out before you throw it out
310: Lower Mathematics
Teaching practical mathematical equations
309: Escalator clots
Blocking the flow of escalator traffic
308: Sky's the limit
Favorite channel on the hit list
307: Bring on the studmuffins
Thanks to the "Men looking for women"
306: Burning Rubber
Narrowly averting bicycle collisions
305: Fishy Business
The sushi wasn't dead
304: The Invisible Gaijin
When gaijins collide
303: Talk work only
The Japanese perception of idleness
302: From kotatsu, with love
A blanket covered electric coffee table
300: Why 2K?
The millennium bug ain't no big deal

ISSUES 350-381
ISSUES 250-299

ISSUES 233-249