How things have changed, in the span of a year.
Yesterday, I sat in front of a (warm) bowl of udon at the Shibuya branch of Hanamaru, a chain that carries the sanuki udon I used to eat when living in Shikoku. A year ago, Kagawa's famous dish was my quasi daily fare, as it was so cheap, delicious and filling.
Fast forward a year later: same, ever so familiar bowl of noodles, completely different context. The last time I ate this udon was in Marugame. It was lonely, isolated, but also comforting in strange way, as I was surrounded by a tight knit group of friends- something that was both a curse and a blessing. I had tons of free time, probably too much, and not enough options. My days were spent riding my bike in the rice fields, and trying to stay sane. Oh, the meltdowns.
In Tokyo, I'm busy working on a handful of projects, meeting friends at random times and places, commuting all over Tokyo and staying up past my bedtime. Most of my friends are just as busy- it is not uncommon in Tokyo to work three or four different jobs, in order to survive in this jungle, or rather just to keep up with all the goodness Tokyo offers. It never really stops and it keeps me happy, I am enjoying this so much. I am luckily blessed with a diverse group of friends and familiarity is right around the corner. Somehow, Tokyo is just so easy, and it has been a blast. Things may be far from perfect, but everything feels so right. Or maybe I've gotten better at dealing with my Japan experience.
Yet, when I eat udon and reminisce about my days in the rice fields of Shikoku, I get nostalgic of the mountains, slow trains and peacefulness. I am also reminded that I'd never be where I am now if it wasn't for that significant year. I secretly love the countryside, but I simply adore Tokyo.