I’ve blogged before about Kodaira, the semi-rural neighbourhood in western Tokyo where R. and I lived for eight years, from 2003 – 2011. Ironically, it was meant to be a way-station as my “three-year Japan adventure” went into over-time. What I didn’t expect was that it would turn into yet another turning point in the story of my life: one where the hero decides once and for all to embrace the new direction events seemed to lead him, and not just an anecdote, a time-out chapter before the story returns to the narrative arc awaiting back home in Toronto.
In fact, the eight years I spent in Kodaira is the longest I’ve ever lived at one address… but this blog threatens to turn into a post about my peripatetic childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. And then you, gentle reader, would have no context for that nice little slideshow at the end of the text… Continue reading “Tokyo Photo: Four Seasons Kodaira”→
And so, after one year turned to three turned to eight, at last R. and I are leaving our bento-box apartment in Kodaira.
Not back to Canada (sorry, Ma), the original plan, but to another part of Tokyo: one which will cut R.’s commute time; one where, waiting for us, there’s a four-room detached with skylights and second-floor terrace – and our nameplate at the door.
For eight years, this low-rent, 1+ bedroom apartment in a two-story walkup has been good to us. Sure, in a stiff breeze it tosses and sways like a ship at sea, but its carried us safely through typhoons and earthquakes.
Kodaira started as a compromise: both R. and I had roughly equal commutes of under an hour each way – not bad at all by Tokyo standards. And, as time went on and we spent more time exploring the neighbourhood, we started to find local favourites: the grillhouse with the weekend lunch special; the noodle shop with handmade, udon buckwheat noodles; the fish restaurant with tuna fried in garlic and soya sauce; the tea house set in a bamboo grove.
More than anything, what separates Kodaira from other parts of Tokyo I know is the Tamako Jidensha Do, a tree-lined bike path which links together train stations, parks large and small, cemeteries, even a model folk village and outdoor architectural museum. In summer overarching tree branches make a green tunnel through Tokyo’s liquid heat; in winter, on those rare snow days, it reminds me of Canada; in spring, a haiku of cherry blossoms bud, bloom, and die.
We might have stayed in Kodaira forever. But, first R.’s commute changed to Ginza, meaning that she now has to cross from the west side of Tokyo to the east every day, doubling her travel time. Then, the landowner’s traditional Japanese farmhouse was torn down and replaced by a 7-11. Where we used to be greeted with cherry and persimmon trees when we stepped out our front door, now we’re confronted by the back end of a convenience store.
So, times change, and we must change with them. We have become householders in another part of the city. I’m sure I’ll have more to blog about on that as we start our next adventure in Nerima.