"To the impartial eye, the world not only seems an unlikely one-off phenomenon, but a constant strain on reason. If reason exists, that is, if a neutral reason exists. So speaks the voice from within. So speaks Joker's voice." - Jostein Gaarder

Friday, September 29, 2006

High on Tokyo

It's not me, This city never intrigued me, and although I'm trying, it's not looking as if she's trying.

Miro is actually high on Tokyo, who's Miro, he's just a bulgarian guy in my program, he lives here, just like the rest of us, except he breathes Tokyo, Japanese, sometimes he makes me angry, because it gives him that confident-aura that I miss so much.

An Aura I used to feel when I walk down the alleys of old Damascus, I spent countless hours just strolling down these alleys, with Alaa, Maad, Zeid, Bashar, Zena, Alone... I'd go to Damascus just to walk there, breathe the stones, and watch the confidence people feel when the cross these narrow streets.

I used to feel this when I'd walk down the sleepy streets of Latakia, late at night, with no one there, except us, 3 very lost -or so we thought- guys, either laughing my heart out, or crying it out.

I've done a lot of walking.

What was I talking about, yes, Miro, Miro is just one of these people here, there's just so many, and I just got to know them this month, every and each one of them amazes me in the way they handle their problems, their pains, the way they manage to smile at a silly joke, the way they taught me [and probably most of them don't know this] how to do it myself, how to be a part of a conversation again... I'm not the guy with the most problems here, I have a lot of shit, I know, but the fact that a whole part of this shit is only the result of shit-chemicals reactions inside, absolutly self-produced shit.

Regardless, again, so Tokyo, yeah, it's just another city, I'm coming in terms with her, I'm finding my little arrangement, I'm studying, I stopped trying to like it, and just started doing it because it's there, and for another reason, I was just thinking in the morning when I was doing my Kanji quiz, that I have to beat this fucking language, I have to beat this fucking place, to restore my long lost ego. [I miss the days when u used to call me arrogant ya zeid], and 3 hours ago, I was reading Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, and it reads... "It's because I hated the place so much. I wasn't going to let it beat me. If I'd let it get to me once I'd be finished. I was scared I'd just keep slipping down and down...", weird eh? I thought so too.

My room is still messy, it's still dirty, I still have papers all over the place, but I guess, that's how "My Room" has always been...
Ziad is still playing in the background, sometimes Mounir too, others Fairouz, A-Ha...
5 years ago, A-ha's song "Lifelines" raised for me the most existintialist question at that time, "Can once in a lifetime happen twice...?"... It still does.

I feel like I'm rewriting myself for everyone who's still there back home.. lol

Anyways, I still wanna travel this east, I wanna see how "Tokyo" is different than the east... I might start with Thailand, I can't stay here, and I can't go back to Syria for an 11 days holiday... I wanna spend my 2 weeks christmas holiday there. so much to ur pleasure moryarti!! ;)

May, too much confusion, and too much thinking, in opposed to too much feeling, or vice versa I really don't know, too much realism, phones hanging-up, and I still miss her eyes ya maad, they still crack me down when I look at them on my wall.
I have 3'assa, whenever I hear that song from Ziad and Salma's Mondose.
Maad, I can see ur "smile", my smile, I know, I try to remember what I used to tell u, how we used to work ur everything in the morning, in just one drunken night in that room!! I actually tried to have a monolgue, to put u infront of me, and have u tell me what I used to tell u, but I forgot...
what is it about her, what is it about your eyes, that everytime I think I can get a hold of them they burn out, the burn me in.
"I chose you", They can be so scary.

Chapters of Himingway's "Farewell to Arms" have been coming back to me so much lately, I donno why, I haven't thought about that novel for so many years, after it had been my favorite book for as long as I can remember.

Last week, I bought a red smirnoff, and just like the last time i did that back in the days, I drank a third of it, and waited for all these problems inside of my head to dissolve to small numberss and shapes, to see my hands grasping them and putting them in place, but... Long story short, Vodka is just another kind of alcohol now, to me.

Small things still make me extravagantly happy, I bought a new 250 GB external drive, and for 2 days I was flying, I was copying stuff, I felt like I can put god in there. ofcourse, now that I have only 70GB free on it, it doesn't feel like life is pink and blue anymore.

I was showing Farhad, zeid's pix today... I came to this picture again, probably one of the best photos anyone has ever taken for me... it's still amazinf how he got it, and I'm still in love with my hair back then... the color and the texture, it was so "Latakia's Warm Winter"!!!

What else, I hate the rain here, simply because I cant enjoy it. That was one fucked up sentence.. lol

okay, I'm getting too nostalgic, and I got 3 open MSN Messenger windows, just watch this video... it cracks me up, and then it unflods me to these days of extreme relaxation...

cheers everyone,
from the land of the rising sun, me, yazan, and like sou always says... signing out,


Blogger Zankool said...

one of the best posts- if not the best- that I've read here, you just are so real. What were you drinking? Keep the same bottle close for the next post.

September 30, 2006 2:41 AM

Anonymous Sou said...

Aww, look, I'm quoted at the end. I'm famous now ;D

I agree with Zankool, this is one of the best posts you've ever written. It's so real and full of so much emotion. A beautiful post :)

"This is the fire thing. We have a fire thing" - still laughing :p

September 30, 2006 6:06 AM

Blogger Omar said...

Yazan.. you're describing my first yeat outside Syria.. only in London.. an equally cold city as Tokyo.. same atmosphere.. Ziad playing in the background (I hate fairouz.. so she didn't get to accompany me in my stay)... a half empty bottle of Martini, pictures, letter, and souvenires pinned on the wall.. a special someone left behind, and a broken heart story.. you know.. it's all one package.

I wanted to fight London and bring it down to her knees.. only now, 7 years later, I know that this was the worst way to ruin what was supposed to be the best year of my life..
I found out that the trick is to follow the city and forcer her love on you.. we are just small individuals that are trying to make their way in bigger hurricanes.. so the only ways to survive the strong winds are to either hold on very tight and risk being torn into pieces, or just let go and go with the flow to the top..

so, my friend.. let loose, and know that every moment you spend holding on to your past is a moment lost from your future (boring stuf.. I know.. but I am talking from a painful experience here).. your friend Miro is clever.. I wish I was that clever when I was in your shoes.. it took alot of pain to realize this.. and now.. only now.. i belong somewhere.. and Ziad now is slowly becoming the soundtrack of my past.. and I am not in wars with the city I live in.. I just coexist.. and i feels good.. believe me..

anyway my friend.. I am heading towards the store and buying a martini bottle in your honor.. and I will drink for you tonight.. and all the broken hearted syrian expats like us...


September 30, 2006 8:14 AM

Anonymous Your friend in Tokyo! said...

Don’t listen to Omar. Hear it from an older bugger like me.
Unlike Omar’s land that is England or Canada, these feelings will never stop here. This is not a place where you can be a part of and come in term with eventually. If Miro is staying long here, he will realize one day that his efforts will never be reciprocal, he may accept Japan, but Japan will never accept him.
But if the stay is just a couple of years, maybe it is easier to do what he does. Mind you this not cleverness though, it is “skimming the surface of life”.
You are in pain because you refuse to do that, and are clinging on things you hold dear but do not fit where you are. How is that different from back at home? In Syria we also were in misery because we held dear things that did not fit there. Leaving the place does not mean leaving our minds and soles and turn into happy-happy smiley face naives.
So live it, the suffering, the frustration, the pain, the nostalgia, and the almost-going-crazy moments. These are the moments that will shape your personality in the future. Welcome to what Jibran-Khalil-Jibran called it the biggest school of all times: El-Gurbeh. Miro and the likes are cheating! They might get through, but they will never learn. They choose to study an easy subject and go to an easy Faculty. On the other hand you will learn much more because you choose to join the Faculty of Engineering ..... of Human Soles.

September 30, 2006 12:37 PM

Blogger abufares said...

Hi Yazan

I have to agree with Omar. You got to stop fighting (yourself not the city).
I can tell you this, now and after all these years. I have only the advantage (which is really a disatvantage:) of time on my side. I've been there and I've gone through exactly the same feelings that are causing this mental and emotional uproar for you at the moment. The city or place is not important. Take me out of Tartous today and put me in Damascus or Tokyo and I'll be terribly homesick. But, you will look back one day to the "here and now" as probably the best of times in your life. Come to terms with it and enjoy every moment, alone or with company.
You will never be happy until you accept your loneliness. You have to like being alone before you can appreciate life in this and other faceless cities.

September 30, 2006 8:11 PM

Blogger [ j i m m y ] said...

how i see myself in this text.


thanks yazan.

September 30, 2006 9:09 PM

Blogger annie said...

Good post Yazan.
Your battle with Japanese resembles mine with Arabic the difference being that although I love that language I have come to terms with my never getting to know it. I too feel at home in the little streets of old Damascus. It is just pure bliss to go on discovering new sights after four years here. I enjoy as much the call to prayer as the church bells back over there.
I remember Tokyo and found it chilling; so un-syrian, :-)disciplined, orderly.
When I got back to SF, I wanted to kiss the ground. They have nevertheless some very great pottery and japanese zen is worth an experience.
Take care and do write again.

October 01, 2006 1:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ganbare yazan

October 01, 2006 10:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...




October 01, 2006 11:00 AM

Blogger Yazan said...



Thanx for ur comment, A bad worker blames his tools...

I never blamed Japan for what is happening to me, I blamed the combination of me and Tokyo, not even Japan...
And thats why I brought miro as an example... because I dont want people to understand that "Japan" fucked me..

I'd like to know though, who I'm talking to, since u've been here for almost hal a year, since I cam to japan that means...

regardless, I'm trying my best to be positive, to explore this land, to actually feel like I'm in "Tokyo", the Tokyo I imagined... the Tokyo everyone tells me about..


October 01, 2006 4:13 PM

Anonymous Zena said...

Miss you, I hope your doing well.

October 02, 2006 1:11 AM

Blogger Mirzade said...


October 03, 2006 9:57 AM

Anonymous Gardenia said...

so touchy...this reminds me of my experience away from my family...I had some really bad days back then.

I wish you the best...

October 06, 2006 5:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up Yazan!
I agree with Anonyomus-san who wrote in Japanese, yet I think Abufares touched the real core of the matter. The person who wrote in Japanese is talking about you, as a person. Apperantly he/she never witnessed that amaziningly dangerous thing called "homesick", and can never understand it. Even worse, and sorry to say it, but i think internet is not helping in that matter. On the contrary, you feel so close, yet thousands of miles away... it hurts!
I havent had a REAL crisis of this kind, but I've been close to a few examples that were almost crashed by it. Believe me, you are not of that kind of people, and what you are going through is just a normal "culture shock" cycle!
It is just a "lost-in-translation" minute, and it will fade away. I detest that movie, btw!

October 06, 2006 8:30 PM


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