Made in Japan

Yesterday I promised I’d reveal another small blog I’m building. But first, a little background: you see, I lived and worked in Tokyo between 2001 and 2003, and it was incredibly exciting. When you spend five days in Paris and claim you’ve been there then you’re technically right because you really were there, but I feel you haven’t really been there unless you’ve spent a significant amount of time in a place because actually living somewhere would give you a completely different understanding of that place.

 

“So what’s special about Tokyo, then?”

 

Nothing.

It’s just another piece of the surface of this planet, and it’s full of humans just like most of the dry surfaces. But also…

 

Everything.

Everything was completely and utterly different: language, alphabets, left-hand traffic, AC voltage, average body height, fashion, culture, mentality, population density, and on and on…

And yet everything was familiar at the same time because it’s a high-tech metropolis and not, say, rural Afghanistan: There are stores and apartment buildings and pavement and plumbing and well-kept cars and hair salons and … normal things that were somehow still different at the same time.

 

I could write for ages about this, and that’s exactly what I did while I was there. But I didn’t blog about it because blogging didn’t really exist back then – even WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform, launched in May 2003, mere months before I moved back home to Denmark. One could argue that technically, blogging existed in 1997, but in reality the world didn’t really catch onto it until much later. Either way, I found myself wanting to write newsletters and looked for a distribution platform that even my grandmother would grok and that left me with precious few choices.

So I ended up writing email newsletters. I started out with a generous selection of recipients from my personal address book, and soon enough I had an audience of about 80 names (some of which were family accounts, so the total audience was a little more).

When I returned home, I had this collection of experiences and memories spanning nearly three extremely exciting years, and I felt it would be a pity to just leave them in the dust. Some people said I should publish a book but I didn’t find that feasible.

Feeling nostalgic, I recently recalled all that and decided to put it all into a blog. The material needs to be reviewed and revised a little, and I want to add links and related photos too, so it’s not actually published yet, but I am publishing the process about it as well.

May I present to you, my newest blog:

Torben in Japan

I’m looking forward to seeing you over there!

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