Being back “home” in these Tokyo streets conjures up memories of the many adventures I took into the city to explore over my 3 years of residency here. It was literally the time of my life so far. Back in those days, it was all so simple. Basically, I woke up, got dressed, Google’d one of the 23 special wards, found something worth seeing in said ward, and made my way to Fussa Station. On most occasions, I brought the absolute minimum with me…to maximize the adventure effect. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the bare essentials I needed in Tokyo.
How I first came across this moment? The picture above was taken on July 3, 2008 but my realization of the bare essentials needed to get around Tokyo came months before. When I first started venturing out into Tokyo, I usually took a backpack with me. In that backpack was my Sony Vaio C Series PC, a composition notebook, a few maps and information sheets I got from the Yujo Community Center on Yokota Air Base, my headphones, and a day’s worth of snacks for the road. Though I was able to get around the various special wards easily, the weight of the backpack really wore on me. With my adventures into Tokyo starting as early as 8am, I was fairly spent by the time the late afternoon-early evening hours kicked in…even though the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron fitness program had me well conditioned physically. I needed it all though. Fortunately, for me, my good friend Latisha Hambrick changed that. During a Sunday trip to Tachikawa in April 2008, I saw how she carried very little with her on the trains: a phone and her wallet. She made it seem so simple. So I copied it. I kicked back at home and laid out the absolute bare essentials I needed for a day in Tokyo. I came up with my Japanese mobile phone, my Sony Walkman MP3 player, my Suica card, and yen. Of course, I had my wallet for all of the obvious reasons. My load was significantly lightened and it made my days in Tokyo lengthier and more enjoyable.
What it meant to me then? In the moment, the bare essentials made things a lot easier for me. I could literally get up and go with minimal planning.
What it means to me now? Being back here, I probably would’ve ventured out with just my Note 3, my Suica, and the yen but it’s my girlfriend’s first trip here so I gotta be prepped in case she isn’t. But man…I miss when the days were as easy as having that au by KDDI phone, that Sony Walkman MP3 player, a loaded Suica, and ¥5000 in cash.