July 3, 2014
Being born in Tokyo and having travelled the world, Hikaru Komura finally felt at home again after opening her Japanese stationery shop UGUiSU. “There are many little interesting towns all over Tokyo and each area is so different from one another that it is always good fun to explore new areas. Tokyo still surprises me and never stops to inspire me.”
Since I was born and raised here, Tokyo has been home to me for almost all my life. I grew up in the Setagaya and Meguro area that has a good balance between city life and relaxed atmosphere. My after school hangout was usually Shibuya or Daikanyama because my high school was in Shibuya. Until I left Tokyo for the first time at the age of 15, I had never thought about Tokyo being anything special, it was more like just everyday life for me.
I went to stay in Darwin, Australia for a year as an exchange student, and this is when I was hit by a huge culture shock. I had never been away from Tokyo (or from my family) for more than a week before. This was the first time I saw Tokyo from a (totally) different perspective. The Tokyo of a 15 year old girl probably only had been a very small part of it, but still I got to realize that this city has so much to offer and how convenient and exciting life in Tokyo can be.
After a year in Darwin I returned to Tokyo, but again I decided to leave. After spending 2 and a half years in Melbourne I ended up moving back to Tokyo after all. Although I really loved Melbourne, Tokyo seemed amazingly wonderful while living away and I missed it a lot and so I came back. But when I did so, I somehow wasn’t happy. It was supposed to be my home but it felt like it wasn’t and at least for a few years I felt like I didn’t really belong. Reverse culture shock.
But as time passed, Tokyo started to feel home to me again. I am not crazy about the crowds, queues, packed trains, or getting along with possibly-at-times-can-be-quite-unique-and-frustrating Japanese society that all seemed inevitable for living here – yes, life in Tokyo for Japanese can be quite stressful, but especially since I quit my job and started working as a freelance web designer 5 years ago I have been lucky to be able to avoid it as much as I want to.
Without those things, Tokyo actually is an amazing place to be! Although I must admit that even that said, I considered moving away from Tokyo again after the Great East Japan Earthquake happened, but I decided to stay. This is when the opportunity came up for me to open my own store. What I love most about this city is that there are countless of options to choose from, whether it’s about places to live, eat, shop or things like cinemas, gigs, exhibitions, etc. There are many little interesting towns all over Tokyo and each area is so different from one another that it is always good fun to explore new areas. And there are new places opening everywhere all the time, but at the same time it is never too difficult to find a peaceful place surrounded by nature while still being in the center of this metropolis.
My shop is in a well hidden quaint area that even many Tokyo natives are surprised to stumble upon. Tokyo Tower is right there and it’s surrounded by high rise buildings, but once you are in this particular little corner you’d forget you are in Tokyo. There are many little corners like this to find everywhere and this is what I really like about it. Tokyo still surprises me and never stops to inspire me. I enjoy dispatching from Tokyo, through my work and my store and web shop as well as my blog, as a Tokyoite. After many twists and turns I now am happy to be living and working in Tokyo. This is the only place I truly can call home – it has always been and it always will be.