Musings on the mundane. Kagurazaka, September 2015. For some reason, the topic of “Everyday Japan” brings to mind a portion of Haruki Murakami’s short story “A Window.” — Ten years later whenever I take the Otakyu line close to her apartment I think of her hamburger steak. I don’t remember which window is hers. But I wonder if she’s still alone, in that apartment, listening to Burt Bacharach. 

“Everyday Japan” is what I like best. This is precisely what makes me the worst person to ask travel-related questions about Japan. Well-meaning friends and acquaintances would often ask me inquiries as generic as “Mga magkano kailangan na budget?” to as annoyingly specific as “Saan okay mag-book na hotel near Kamata station?” I would answer the former with my canned retort: “Umm. It depends eh. What are you planning to do? Do you plan to go big on food? Shop? Check out the theme parks? Also, are you okay with staying at hostels or would you prefer business hotels or Airbnb?” Because, really, it depends on what kind of traveler you are in the first place.

As for me, my favorite thing to do in my happy place is *drumroll* just walk around in my neighborhood of the day and people-watch. And those activities are free. Ha ha. Of course, I’d have to shell out some JPY for food and, ehem, coffee shop pursuits. I tend to splurge on entrance fee to museums, too. I do minimal shopping; It’s always a struggle to do so, but glad to say I often win. 

I guess it’s true what they say about how traveling, especially going solo, makes you get to know yourself better. I let my feet do the thinking for me sometimes…which usually leads to happenstance that makes a trip richer and more personal. I would have to fine-tune my travel smarts in preparation for Eurotrip (Yosh. I’m claiming this. 2018!!!) though.


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