What The Baroness would look like if she was Japanese. © Emily Shur

It’s my third night in Tokyo. I miss the husband and The Baroness terribly, but otherwise am doing pretty well. Today was a good picture day. Yesterday was a little random.

I’m not exactly sure when I turned into an old lady, but it must have happened sometime in the last six months (when I was here last) and then manifested itself into both of my knees yesterday. By the end of the day, I was hobbling around, clinging to every railing on every staircase for dear life. I bought some overpriced bath salts and some strange aerosol menthol spray (to be sprayed directly onto your sore muscles). Neither really did the trick, although the bath was relaxing and having numb knees was nice for 10 minutes. Today I bought some magical pills with a picture of a sore knee of the box, and those did the trick. Those magic beans enabled me to walk around Takao, a super cute town (probably not called a town here), all day, which was worth the trip. I think photographically, leaving the city is better for me. I have managed to take some pictures that I love in Tokyo in the past, and I’m sure I will take more, but they are usually chance sightings. The surrounding areas are more peaceful and have a certain aesthetic that you don’t find in the city.

Today at the Takao train station something happened that I felt embodied Japanese culture at it’s best. I had to pee, and I finally found the bathroom by following a woman who had a rolling suitcase. There were about 10 stalls in the bathroom, but they were all so small. Outside of big cities, the bathrooms get pretty real here. There’s no toilet. It’s essentially a urinal in the floor that you squat over hoping your aim is on point and if you’re lucky, there’s a bar you can hang on to help your balance. So, there’s no way you’re taking a suitcase into the stall with you unless you want some ricocheted urine on it. I would normally think that one would leave the suitcase right outside of their stall door, so you could kind of keep an eye on it, but there’s no need for that here. The woman left her suitcase outside of the bathroom entirely, in the main train terminal, and then went into the bathroom. That’s the kind of society this is. No one worries about leaving a full suitcase in a busy public place while they squat over a hole in the floor and relieve themselves. Enlightened.

2 comments to Greetings

  • Michael Sebastian

    This is awesome Emily. Keep 'em coming.

    After you posted your intention to return to Tokyo, I got to thinking…hmmm, maybe that kinda road trip is the cure for my current ennui and staleness.

    only $800-900 (gulp) roundtrip, SDF to Narita.

  • Anonymous

    Some inspiration for when you feel weary:

    "On weakened legs I walked around the town the whole day. I took photographs."

    Kertesz, 1915