Far away from home country
After more than a month seeking, I got the apartment in Manhattan. It's
on Christmas Eve. My new room mate and I took away a bottle of whisky that
the real estate guy had bought for the Christmas party. "Making a
contract in such year end, we have the right to get the expensive whisky
for celebrating the conclusion of contract" That logic was really
We signed on each clause in a bunch of contract documents in just 5 minutes.
Then we finally became the residents of the apartment. It's in Wall street
area. 2BR on the 8th floor. We hadn't wished, but it had a sauna in the
bath room. It's a lucky extra. However, the apartment had the fatal defect.
The heating system was only electric air conditioner instead of steam heater.
And what was worse, it didn't work at all in spite of its roaring sound.
The roomy high ceiling also turned to disadvantage. It would be free from
monthly charge if it's steam. I should have read the clauses carefully.
But it's too late. Two months later, I was surprised for the amount of
Although there were some problems, I loved the apartment. I could look
over another buildings across the street from my window. I had "window
mate" neighbors. Rising buildings, water reserve tanks on the roof
tops, I could look up the top of the twin towers of the WTC from my window
too. The quiet environment of the East Village must be good. But at nowhere
else, I could have feeling living in a three dimensional space like this.
On New Year's Eve, I brought the last property from ex-apartment in Staten Island. It's a folding bed with casters. I pushed the bet by myself on the street,
took Staten Island Ferry with the bed, passed in front of the NY Stock Exchange with the bed, handled the bed
in the crowded shopping street, and finally got to the new apartment. I
was so bold in those days. Nothing to fear.
After finished the move, I saw "Kohaku", Japanese popular year-end
music show usually broadcasted at very end of the year, on TV with Japanese
friends. It's broadcasted with 12 hours delay for the original live.
In the room where it's a little bit cold for the body which had just got
out from the sauna, I talked to the friends about the passing year. And
we ate "Soba noodles". This is also Japanese tradition for the
year end. "Yah! I have the present from real estate person. Whisky!"
At the time closing song was sung on TV, I heard the count down voices
in the direction of The South Street Seaport, and then sounds of fire work
celebrating New Year.
It's a little ceremony in the corner of Manhattan. In those days, I always
tried to remove the character as a Japanese. I was in the United States,
so I shouldn't look back my home country too much. It's the reason for
that. However the more I tried to remove it, the more my "Japanese"
stood out. And I really hated it.
But now, I change my thought. Perhaps, I grew up. I don't have to wipe
off "Japanese" in myself. I long for the old days and the little
ceremony with friends from the same country.
"A happy new year!" We saluted each other. The smell baking traditional
rice cake was coming from the kitchen. The image on TV monitor had switched
to the crowd of Times Square.
"Perspective from my window" NYC, New York, USA 1992
Winter Garden Goldfishes in the opposite building