Monday, August 5, 2013

natasha nakamura's diary

6 August 2013

Friends ask me why I've returned to Tokyo after two years in New York and a year in Paris. It's their way of starting a conversation. I know they aren't really interested in my reasons, even if I could tick them off. The simple fact is, I'm back because I'm more comfortable in Tokyo than I was in either NY or Paris. People who live in New York seem to feel they have to be living evidence that New York is cultural capital of the world, so they tend to talk too loud. It is a very alive city (just as a battlefield is alive), because everyone feels this is their chance to make it, but the buildings are too high and the streets too straight, which is confining, although nobody will admit it. I suppose I'll go back from time to time--great galleries, terrific theater--but I don't want to live that way. I just naturally suspect anyone who tries too hard to impress me.

Paris is a fine city, of course. Triumphant architecture, a lyrical language, sharp people with character and wit, and lots of cafes for talking and reading and writing. But Paris is awfully small (every city is small compared to Tokyo…) and after a while the sweep of the  architecture at every turn becomes oppressive. In Paris, nothing ever happens by accident, although sometimes people pretend it does. And the French have their own brand of arrogance, more sophisticated and so more provocative than down-home American arrogance, but still tiring in its demand for attention.

So: back to Tokyo, Can't be blamed for wanting to come home, at least for a while.

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