My sister Julie is visiting right now, which is super exciting. We're having all sorts of fun and I plan to blog about it soon, but for today she's written a guest post! (If you look closely she's in the photo too)
I’ve never been much of a picture taker. While other people are framing their shot, I worry for the things you can’t capture with a click. The density of this humid Tokyo air, the immensity and yet the painstaking order implicit to every line of this city, the swell of cicadas undergirding everything else.
What I wonder is how I will hold all of this trip in my memory, how I will make sense of it – later – at home. To make sense of the way that this world I’ve barely grazed is so, unrelentingly foreign.
Before I came here, I had my quiet doubts about my sister’s life. Surely I. Surely I would work harder to ingratiate myself to the country where I laid my head. Surely I would try harder, somehow do better in making this my home. (I mean – what is it to be her sister and not host secret competitions in my head?)
The other day though, it hit me. It was a casual conversation about our old habits of eating out all the time. Here in Japan, Wendy and John eat in much more and while she’d said it before in passing, her reasoning suddenly had new weight: “It makes it feel more like home to stay in and cook.”
In walking these winding streets and encountering, time and again, a sense of my insurmountable foreignness, I’ve come to understand that homemaking is not a process of melding, of disappearing into a new world. Perhaps uniquely in Japan, it must also be an act of bringing home with you.
Preparing for this trip, I’d told my friends cavalierly that I was as excited about my sister’s cooking as I was for Japanese cuisine. And while this remains so, so true(!), I’ve realized how incredibly happy I am to find that she has brought home with her, that after a long day of exploring this place, I can sit down to eat at home.