is for tochi no hito, or the Japanese word for Locals. No country can really be home without the flavor of its local residents, and Japan has its fair share of characters. From cosplayers to upright business men, there’s a sort of quirky, fun-loving, gentle nature about the people here that has always made me feel right at home. Of course, sometimes, the locals aren’t even human, as our neighborhood geckos and monkeys often remind us. Having the opportunity to meet maiko (apprentice geisha), kabuki actors, mayors, tea and martial arts masters, and, of course, the regular people who became my dearest of friends has changed me. I am more confident, more willing to explore the unknown and take chances. They’ve taught me it’s okay to be silly, and choose the heart’s path over the logical one. They’ve also given NJ and I the chance to go to so many places we wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. My favorite memory will always be when an older friend said, “When you’re hungry, come to my house. I will feed you. Just press the buzzer and meow, like a cat, ‘I’m hungryyyy’. We’ll give you nabe (hot pot)!”
Images hosted on Flickr.