Natsukashii Amami Oshima~
Today as I was surrounded by the millions of residents that are in Tokyo, I suddenly closed my eyes and remembered my time in Amami Oshima. Even though I’m back in Japan, Amami Oshima seems so far to me. It sometimes hard to believe that I lived on that small hidden island in the South China Sea. A true undiscovered paradise where white sand beaches, coral reefs and isolated coastlines continue undeveloped and untouched by the forces that have raped the majority of Japan.
Did I really once live here? Did I used to swim far out into the sea everyday and see dolphins and turtles swimming near me? Is this really Japan? Did I walk down the streets of Yanigawa past the izakayas and bars listening to the sounds of the shamisen playing chord by chord with the echo of the past through the songs of the island . Did it really once take me 11 hours by ferry to reach the closest place with any city?
Of course I don’t forget the sense of isolation in Amami. The feeling that I was truly on an island in the middle of the sea. However, the sense of being alone was part of the experience for me. I’ve been in Japan for well over three years. Before I came here my image of Japan was far from what I came to know in Amami.
I remember before coming to Japan looking at a map and seeing Amami. I decided for Kagoshima instead because as nice as Amami seemed, I couldn’t imagine myself trapped on an island so far in the middle of nowhere. Who would have imagined after two years I’d transfer to that tiny speck on the map I once looked at long before my life in Asia began.
Those were my thoughts as I was packed like a sardine in a Tokyo train.