Today September 28th is an anniversary. Today marks completion of 29 always surreal years in Japan. I’ve now lived here more than half of my life but time operates at such an accelerated pace in this city of 35 million souls that I feel sometimes as if I’ve been here lifetimes.
It’s a fact that still hasn’t sunk in, that I’m a permanent resident but not a citizen of a country that will have me but won’t count me in their elections, or let me scoot through the express lane at Passport Control at Narita Airport along with my Japanese spouse, and finger prints me, and takes a photo of my unsmiling jet-lagged kao.
Being an outsider defines my role as a lifelong reporter, commentator and illustrator of this wild and whacky experience of being permanently defined by my blue eyes, big shnoz, and any hat that I can find to serve as a quasi-shetl. If and when I become Orthodox I don’t know. Maybe it will happen in another life.
When I started becoming Torah observant about 15 years ago, I did so because I was already accustomed to being an outsider in Japan. The prospect of upping my outsider (gaijin) status by getting my family to eat kosher food, observe the Sabbath, and look the part of a slightly odd middle-ager was quite interesting to me. I threw out my jeans and tight t-shirts in favor of a different kind of costume: saggy, half-ironed button-down collared shirts and long flared and gathered at the waist skirts that no woman in my family has worn since the early 19oos.
This is me. I’m The Wagamama Bride, here to share with you my anecdotes from a Tokyo Taoist marriage where you might find me de-stressing with a plate of hummus, gluten-free challah and a tall mug of stiff green tea.