It was my first semester in community college, and I was a bit older than eighteen years of age. At the time of this story, I was halfway through a book on Japan that addressed social issues and community. I knocked on my professor’s door, and she welcomed me in. We spent the next hour discussing the book, my goals and ambitions post-university, and the time she spent in Japan. She told me about teaching programs, and recommended that I look into moving abroad after graduating.
The seed was planted.
Fast forward eight years. It’s a Saturday afternoon and the air is humid and sticky. I am only able to escape the heart when I step into the elevator and the doors close. It races upwards, no time to stop at any floor in between start and finish. When it reaches the top, I step into a room surround by only glass walls. I am in the government building, a Tokyo darling, that reminds me of why they're called skyscrapers. I walk to the closest window and stare out at the massive expanse before me.
Civilization as far as the eye can see. Man made all of this. There is no way to explain how far it goes. It goes up and it goes out. There is no end. I have never witnessed anything like this before. My throat tightens and I am overcome with the urge to cry.
Stretching out below me isn't just the modern wonder that is Tokyo. It’s a dream come true. It's living proof that if you want something badly enough, its obtainable. These aren't just buildings and houses and parks and roads, this was a fantasy that is now my life. My dream from years ago is in full bloom.
I am at once reminded of how small I am, but at the same time, I am struck with the power that the city offers me the opportunity to do anything, to be anyone. This is Tokyo, and it is endless.