<< magazine top >>

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 selfish.

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 electricity bill.

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.

Dec. 2005

Today's piece
"Perspective from my window" NYC, New York, USA 1992

Winter Garden Goldfishes in the opposite building

fumikatz osada photographie