I dreamt of Japan again last night. Its becoming a regular occurrence. The culture, the demeanor, the places, the people. It is the single trip I've taken that has left such a deep impact on my soul. It is different in such a way that it cannot be properly relayed to others who have never experienced the neat dichotomy of old and new.
In my dreams I'm wandering the streets of Tokyo with my girl. The barrier of language is still present but in the dream, as in reality, it is of little consequence to everyday existence in the city. It only becomes more apparent when you get out to the countryside with its sprawling forests and fields and houses that look like they were the meticulous work of a master craftsman. But even then, the people are friendly and helpful and only slightly wary when they catch a glance at your tattoos. In the dream I'm navigating the small side streets and pathways, stopping into the tiniest of stores to take a brief respite from the throngs of people in the street. I'm sitting in a cafe, with no hope of ordering an espresso but every intention of finding something that speaks to that deeper level. The subversive layer that is what draws me to the city in the first place. There is a calm. There is a peace. There is a way of life that cannot be found in my home country.
We settle into a small 5 seat noodle bar. The locals translate for us the writing on the machines that take your order. The friendly but intense man behind the bar is busy plying the only trade he's ever known. Its what you came for anyway. Coins are exchanged, which is the most surreal thing to an American. The dance resumes.
We're walking down a pathway ringed with trees. The branches and flowers given the reverence generally reserved for a botanical garden. Everything here is treated with such reverence. It is shockingly solemn. The edges begin to fade and the conscious world starts to creep back in. I hold on to it for a few more seconds, content with the fact that I know I will return. If only on another night, in another dream.
You can experience culture shock anywhere. Even from within the confines of the continental United States from one region to another. However, it is truly a marvel to experience reverse culture shock. Such as the type that makes you look at your own world in a completely different light. The world you have always known and resided in seems a bit different. Strange.