This summer, I spent about 6 weeks in NYC, attending the CELTA course (a certificate by Cambridge University to teach English as a second language: It was SO intensive!). Of course I went there to get the certificate which allows me to land myself a job even outside Japan but at the same time I had wanted to (still do so I should say I have wanted to) live in NYC!
I fell in love with American English and culture at the age of 5 (I guess because I found out the program started in Japan when I was 5) when I watched Sesame Street. My mother told me that I never missed one episode. I watched it even when I was in my friend’s house (we didn’t have any VCR machine of the sort back then). When I went to Shell Knob Missouri and did the homestay, I asked my host parents, “Don’t think that I am a Japanese. If I do different things from Americans, just correct me! You can tell me off!” And they did! I really appreciated it from the bottom of my heart.
I always tell people that I was reborn and reeducated then. After that, even my taste has changed. Well, I have become “bi-cultural” being (I always tell my students that I am not a global person. I have been localized to the U.S. linguistically and culturally). Well, the flip side of it is I have to pretend at work in front of all those Japanese people that I am happy with Japanese culture to the extend that I don’t offend them (you know what I mean if you live in Japan as non-Japanese). But I love myself as it is. Every time I visit the U.S., I feel at home. And thanks to the Internet, I can live as an American virtually. I belong to several communities on line. I am writing like this in English. I watch Netflix, HBO and Hulu (Thanks to VPN, I can subscribe the American version so I can watch everything American people are watching at this time). That’s why my Canadian friend says I have virtually migrated. Mr. Trump cannot do anything about virtual immigrants, right? Oops! Shouldn’t have mentioned it because they might even do something about it.
Now, ever since my mentor at University (American professor) told me that anyone would be able to be an artist if you live in NYC for a year, which he had done and he had become one, I was obsessed with the idea of living in NYC. Then when I attended the MA course in Vermont, I made a trip there! WOW! The minute I got off the commuter train at Grand Central Station, I fell in love with NYC! I love cities. Even smears, graffiti, strange odors, loud noises which might give some decent people migraines. I was brought up in a local city but my mother is from Tokyo. Actually my grand father moved to this local city during the war and until then, my family on my mother’s side had been living in Tokyo. A real Edokko (Edo natives like New Yorker). So I think the love of big cities runs in my family.
So I went to NYC to realized “part” of my dream. When I arrived at JFK, I tell myself, “Open up every sense of my bodies! You can cut your life time short. Absorb everything on the cell level. Enhance your senses as much as humanly or even un-humanly possible. Remember every moment with all your senses. Make this six weeks like 20 years.” I am many things but I am not a magician. But I think this spell worked. I felt the same kind of change happen to me as the one I felt after the homestay in Missouri and Vermont (10 months).
Thank you for reading so far about the story of my life. I AM obsessed with NYC so I will talk about it a lot. I can’t stop. My bad. I am sorry. Anyways, I love bagels! And most of all, Murray’s bagels on the 23rd street of Manhattan.
I made a lot of friends in NYC and one of my friends just sent me these bagels! These bagel remind me a lot of things. I basically do not like Japanese bread because they are too soft and fluffy and the worst of all they brag about the fluffiness! So I buy bread at COSTCO(コスコ、not コストコ!). And these bagels are yummy! If you ever go to NYC, please go to Murray’s Bagel in Chelsea, which district by the way is my favorite district in the world along with Upper West Side district (above 100th!!)….
The photos on the left and the top right are the ones she sent me. The photo on the right bottom is the one I ate in NYC (I took before I bit into it).