Letters from Japan – Spring 2019

Cherrly Blossom in Katsushika

Good morning/afternoon/evening,

I just got back from a bike ride to Asakusa. On my way back, I could almost measure the increasing degree of quietness as I kept riding towards Eastern Tokyo. With each bridge behind, it got quieter and quieter as if I was riding through the country side or one of the lazy villages in one of the Japanese islands. That is definitely one of the main reasons why I chose to live in Eastern Tokyo (and also cheaper/slightly bigger apartment). You may have already caught up on that if you follow this blog on social media – I am no longer based in Istanbul and/or travel constantly but live in Tokyo – in one its eastern wards that you probably never heard of or thought of visiting during your trips to Tokyo unless you are a temple buff.

Taishakuten Daikyoji Temple, a beautiful temple, which survived the World War II bombings is one of the main drawing points of this neighborhood for the Japanese people. As it is the case with most other temples in Japan, there is also a lively narrow road full of traditional shops leading to the temple. There is the added bonus of a tea house close by but I am yet to visit that one. The weather has been so nice that I rarely spend time indoors. There is a direct train line stoping at the station very close to my home taking me to central Tokyo within 17 to 30 minutes depending on where you take as the center of quite giant sized Tokyo.

Down by the River

I luckily live within few minutes of Edogawa River, which is accompanied by a satisfactorily long bike trail with a lot of greenery in between. On Sundays, it gets busy (for the love of the game!). Japanese do like their baseball for sure and the fields are usually occupied by players ranging from age 7 to 65 and their supporters! I a little bit got addicted to riding there everyday followed by a long resting session in the park. That has so far been my favorite neighborhood activity. Not only because I love being by the water but also every single time that I have been down there, I came across someone signing to the river or playing an instrument. Like many other rewarding moments in Japan, those moments make me pinch myself for reality check. The photos on the right side are all from my bike rides along the river.

Back to School

I also travel to central Tokyo at least three times a week for school. Yes, I am here to attend a graduate school for a very specific topic, which is very relevant to my field of practice during the last five years of my full-time lawyering life. I cannot tell you know how much I enjoy going to a class and listen to someone whose sole purpose of being there is to teach you. I always knew (after maybe 10 years of working) that I would enjoy going back to school but never knew how intensely I missed it until I actually did (P.S. you would be surprised to hear the affordability of the tuition fee for higher education in Japan. It is almost one tenth of what it would cost in USA). I also continue to work remotely with Turkey to make ends meet and I also very much enjoy staying connected to the legal theory. While I have been doing less travel writing/photography, I recently joined the pool of writers for some Japan focused travel sites. I will be living in Japan for a minimum of two years and there will be probably have to go a lot easier on the travel front during this time but if I can budget for it, I would love to visit new places in the region with now Tokyo being my base. It is now almost 4pm here and time for me to head out to the river again to see if I will get lucky again and come across a “river singer”.

I hope you are all well and will tell me about your news. 


P.S: You can follow this link for more Letters from Japan.