Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nothing to Declare: Posting #3

From my 3rd Nothing To Declare posting:

Finally, it’s January — the time when everyone gets back into their normal routine after the madness of the holiday season. I am exhausted from the buying and giving and feasting and drinking. It’s time to hole up and brace myself for my December credit card bill…

Even though we’re only a couple weeks into January, I’m sure many New Years resolutions have already been broken. I don’t even bother making them anymore because I know that I won’t be able to follow through. I can justify this because I live in one of the most amazing cities in the world — New York — where going to the gym can easily be replaced by going to a performance, a concert, a gallery opening, a sample sale or a new restaurant opening, any night of the week. I know that the minute I cut out (insert unhealthy food item here) from my diet, some specialty (said unhealthy food item) restaurant is going to open up down the street, serving it in ten different ways, 24 hours a day. I know that saving money is almost impossible; the tradeoff of opportunities vs. high rents and standard of living in this city comes at a price.

New York has become home again, as I have recently returned from living abroad in a peaceful rural village in Japan for a year. At first, I had a bit of an awkward transitional period readjusting to the hustle and bustle of a big city. Compared to my previous frantic, overworked, and precariously-balanced lifestyle in New York, my life in Miyazu-shi was simple and relaxing. I biked past mirrored rice paddies and serene fishing boats every day while teaching English at a couple of local high schools. But what I soon realized after I settled into life in my little Japanese apartment surrounded by a nation of Japanese people who mainly speak Japanese and mainly ate Japanese food, was that I severely missed the diversity and cultural mishmash of New York. The saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” definitely hit the spot for me. Even though I loved my time spent in Japan, I couldn’t wait to come back to New York and absorb, hear, taste everything I missed out on in the past year.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I have composed my first and very amateur-ish, romanticized poem, an ode, if you will, ode to living in New York, the most wonderful place to live…

Oh, New York, how I love thy energy!
Welcome to Manhattan,
Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten,
Share your wares wherever you come from-
Bialies, kim chee, naan and dim sum!
Flavors, accents, colors, density,
None can match your lights, sounds, intensity!

Oh New York, how I love thy pace!
Bohemians, bankers, kids shooting hoops,
Cobblestones, bridges, neighborhood stoops!
The Post, The Times, coffee and out the door,
Hey, that building wasn’t there before!
Glass & concrete rising high ‘bove tenements’ grime.
How gracefully your skyline changes o’er time.

Oh, New York, how I love thy tourists!
Stopping, craning, studying their maps,
(Looking for Pastis or Bleeker Street, perhaps?)
They clog the turnstiles, delis and streets,
But happily fill our hotel beds & theater seats,
Spending, shopping, eating out
Going to places good ‘nuff to write home about!

Oh, New York, how I love thy subway!
Howe’er crowded, dirty, late thy steel cars screech ‘round the tracks,
Into your hard plastic seats we collapse.
Furtive glances into fellow riders’ bags,
Snippets, subtle peeps at your neighbor’s mags.
The trains run all day, even all night,
Few other cities can boast this might!

Oh, New York, how I love thy residents!
All (jay)walk thy streets, from the well clad & high heeled,
To the poor souls with their broken soles, on the church steps kneeled.
You were built by those who toiled with their blood, sweat, and tears,
You will incite hopes and dreams for many more years.
Only the strong can survive thy gritty streets,
And those who do reap thy joyous treats!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, beautiful pictures and thoughtful words. Just lovely. I'm so proud of you. Sharon (your cousin in San Mateo!)