right now our room is dim and it’s hard to tell what time it is. the light attempting to push it’s way through the frosted glass is weak, as the cloudy skies pour a steady stream of rain on tokyo this afternoon. I can hear the faint sound of rain outside, but the aircon heater hum is drowning out the delicate sounds. sometimes a large gust of wind rattles our cardboard house.
I love listening to the rain. no sound makes me happier or warmer than listening to rain outside the window. it’s december but it feels like a brisk fall. I’m still in denial it’s the month of holiday christmas spirit, even though I’ve spotted numerous christmas trees set up in public places and restaurants play midi-covers of american christmas music. I’m still in denial that it’s winter, only cold because I’m layering what small amount of fall clothes I cling to. it’s time to give in to the giant heavy coats, the beanie hats to pull over the ears and get some thick wool socks.
last year at this time in Seoul it was already snowing. it dropped to negative celcius alarmingly fast and the climb back up to tolerable weather took 6 months. it was the coldest I had ever been, the longest winter I ever experienced. the entire time I was in Seoul I had a pink nose and it wasn’t cute. it was a struggle, falling asleep at night and getting out of bed in the morning. sometimes I would sleep on the heated floors but stay there till the point of near bladder explosion by avoiding going to the ice chamber of a bathroom.
gas bill was out of control while we still froze our toes off in those harsh months. we would all try to leave the apartment to attempt to buy food but the thought of bundling up in everything I owned (not cute) to step outside to possibly break our necks on the ice that seems to never melt for weeks was not very appealing. when I was forced to venture outside, I witnessed stylish korean girls in skirts and heels attempting to walk on the ice. were they used to the cold? were they some sort of magical mountain goat of seoul with special fur coats and pointy amazing feet to grapple the slippery un-walkable texture? it was not fair. I was wrapped up in 6 layers topped off with a sleeping-bag jacket. my nose was still pink under the scarf pulled up to my eyeballs.
the first snow was beautiful, as it always is. you forget about it’s beauty because it’s been probably a year since you saw it last. I only enjoy snow for about 20 minutes, when it falls at dusk and it falls only for me. everything is silent, quiet, cinematic, nostalgic, making you realize the beauty of the world as it refreshingly transforms the landscape before you. everything is covered in white. the sound of your warm boots crunching the virgin layer of soft snow, sparkling under the fluorescent street lamps. a white wonderland of magic. narnia, maybe.
but after people start waking up and go about their day, sloshing through it, the pureness is gone. it becomes ugly and messy and all the flaws it covered up the night before is now rearing it’s ugly head and pushing it’s way to the surface, reminding you the reality of how gross everything is. noisy trucks and neighbors are salting and scraping the streets. the once pure blanket of white has now been crumpled up with the garbage, pollution and mud of the city. brown piles accentuate the side of walkways in frozen lumpy chunks , refusing to melt for weeks. it could be frozen vomit or dog piss, who can tell at this point. I have shit I have to do, this is inconvenient for everyone.
I’m glad I am not in Seoul right now, as it’s been snowing already for a week or two. Tokyo is still feeling like late fall. there are still leaves hanging on the branches for dear life, entangled with holiday lights till the new year. I hate being cold. it’s time for a warmer jacket and some bigger boots. as least Tokyo has a gradual season change, and all 4 of them very prominent. I am going to put off visiting Seoul as long as I can until it becomes tolerable again… but I miss my friends, the handsome mens in long coats and the kimchi. eat lots of seolleongtang to stay warm, Seoul! See you in March!