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  • Yasmine

Tokyo you had me at hello

Did you ever feel that terribly annoying things seem to pile up ? As if every morning you were facing instead of yourself in a mirror a judgy Pisa tower made of fire threatening to fall on your being? An oppressing pressure in your soul sucking the Oxygen out, a deep ache coupled with this dread - will I ever catch a break ?

In April 2024 I was invited to give a lecture in a Science Camp for high school female students in Japan. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and later on Miyazaki movies. Visiting Japan was for the longest time my dream destination. I am not sure that there are words in the English language that can capture the joy I felt walking down the streets of Tokyo. Though it was a very short trip, I gorged myself with everything I could see.

The Sakura trees were blooming during my stay. I walked in Ueno park, listening to music, falling in love with each tree. Facing so much beauty and grace, I could not help by look back at 8 year old me, she who was day dreaming and not paying attention at school, thinking there surely must be more to life than this. Well I hate to say it Mme S. but she/I was right.

One afternoon, I was enjoying a meal facing a busy street. It was a moment of pure bliss, being the witness to bits of lives unrolling in front me. I was carrying a book in my bag, a camera and had spent almost two hours in an art supply store. Most importantly I had nothing scheduled. It was there and then that it hit me. I could not remember when was the last time where I was able to just be and not run after the next task. How odd is it to simply have a mind that wanders and not try to solve a problem or optimise something.

And so I just sat there, sipping tea. A cloud passed, then an other. I recalled story I wanted to write, it could be that I even had a draft somewhere. In a notebook probably. More clouds passed, more spring breezes sang. I knew then in my heart what was happening. I was tapping in the «space in between thoughts », the field where wonders grow:

  • Imagine if …

  • What would happen if …

  • How strange is that …

  • I never understood why…

  • How grand would it be if…

Without realizing it my beloved «space in between thoughts » had been neglected and even crushed if I am being honest. I let down what I once guarded fiercely and as easy and tempting as it could have been to blame others, I also knew that the sole responsible for this neglect was me.

The solitude in Tokyo gifted me the chance to once again step in this precious place and for this dear Tokyo I will be eternally grateful.


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