London and I
Saturday, 3 September 2016
I've been asking myself whether I should write about this post or not for more than a month. It's not related to beauty, and it's more personal that none of you may be intreated in. But it could be a post that I only can write now -and this kind of feelings and thoughts might fade away as time goes. So I decided to write this post for myself.
London has got a very special power towards me. I did not speak English at all when I was in high school, that I did not even know what the difference is between 'This is a cat' and 'These are cats'. I thought it would be totally OK and always said to my teachers 'I would never leave Japan anyway, I don't need to be able to speak English'.
That completely changed when I was 17. At that point, my life was complete misery -mysterious hives due to stress from school was attacking my whole body that I was scratching my body 24/7 which kept me awake all night. I always had a stomachache, suffering from depression and wishing to disappear. I had no friends, no dream and no hope. But suddenly, I was completely drawn to John Galliano and his shows. I think it was one of his Dior show I saw on TV that caught my attention. It taught me the existence of fashion shows, and people behind the runway. I immediately started researching about him, but don't forget it was 2001 when computers were not as useful as they are nowadays. I found out he was from the U.K., and he went to Central Saint Martins in London. Though I wanted to become a makeup artist for fashion shows, I dreamt of studying art at Central Saint Martins.
Though he is a complete stranger, and he would never ever get to know my existence, John saved my life. He gave me hope and dream. I stopped worrying about the school I didn't fit in, and started dreaming about the world I'd never been in. School problems seemed such small things, and it gave me confidence that there could be somewhere I could fit in and be comfortable to be in. I started teaching myself English at home, whilst saving money. I was also into Sid Vicious at that point -coincidentally he is from the U.K. too -because of his sad and fragile life story. Though I wasn't interested in its culture, I felt like I had to go to England. It felt like my duty.
As there was no Twitter, YouTube not Snapchat at that point, I was staring at the live streaming of a security camera of a random university in England for hours and hours, dreaming to be one of those students. My dream grew bigger and bigger, that the only thing I was thinking about was England.
In 2003, I graduated high school. I believe it was the happiest day of my life. My sickness was gone completely, and I started gaining weight in a healthy way. I deleted all my 'friends' phone number in my phone, hid all the school materials in the closet, and finally started living my life, dreaming to go to London to study art and makeup, and become a makeup artist for runways. Well, life isn't that easy.
After my graduation, my father's company went bankrupt. We lost everything. We did not even have money to buy food. The bank kicked us out from our own house and sold it to someone else. My father left my mum and I without money and jobs. That's when I decided to give up on my dream of becoming a makeup artist, nor studying in London.
It's been more than 10 years since then. I recently noticed (yes, just recently) that most of the things I find attractive were British -including music, movies, TV series, books and all sorts. I still think about England 24/7. When I wake up in the morning, I think about England. In the train, I think about Big Ben. During a boring meeting, I am picturing how pretty London looks. I don't know what it is about London that keeps me going every single day, like a warm hand gently pushing my back to move forward.
People often ask me 'why London?'. I do not have an answer. I wonder why it wasn't Paris. Or NY, or whatever. I did not choose London, but London called me. And it's never left my side since when I was 17. I wouldn't go into too much detail about the difference between Japanese and British cultures here because that might cause unnecessary debates as some Japanese people like arguing about 'how toxic it is for Japanese people to be westernised'.
All I can say is that some people enjoy living in Japan, and some people feel uncomfortable living there -and I am one of them. When I am in London, I feel so happy that I can find books I am interested in at the book store around the corner. I love the fact I actually enjoy TV -even the adverts. I love how sales assistants at stores are grumpy sometimes -I love that they do not act like robots like they do in Japan. I love how strangers talk to each other. I love how people do not give a damn about other people, but at the same time they'd give up on their seats when they see elderly people standing near them.
Of course there are things I do not like about London -dirty streets, greasy handles in the bus, lack of air conditioner....and the offender who stole my bag last month. But whatever happens, I still prefer being in England. Just being here makes me happy. I am so pleased and proud of myself for saving up and coming here to see if I really like living here or not, and I came to the conclusion I really do like living here despite some negative facts and inconvenience.
London will always be a big part of my life, keep motivating and giving me hopes towards my future. It is so sad to leave, but I am sure I will be back soon. Until then, I will cherish every moment of my time in London and keep on going.