Sweden with Love

What happened to the days when I used to yearn for the bright lights of Tokyo?  Recently, I must confess; there has been a new love entering my thoughts, and it’s a place very different to Japan. Unlike most people who find love in people, I find love in places.  This unfortunately means I’ve been in love at least 5 times. I’m not saying I’m the only one who thinks this way. Finding a city, you feel comfortable in,  building a sense of familiarity and establishing a relationship with it; is much like that of people seeking relationships.

After cheating on London for a while, I found I preferred the intimacy over the flash. Now, all I can think of is Sweden.  Some of my peers have said that it’s just my taste is growing, or at least changing. Possibly, after 4 years maybe it’s about time to break my liaison off, before and I and Tokyo start getting bitter with one another.  The truth is; I can’t think of any place I’d rather be at the moment.  Fortunately, I can now understand why a place like Sweden appeals to me so much more than Tokyo. As much as I love Tokyo, the relentless fast pace of life here is something that I’ve come to despise, and that feeling has become quite unpleasant over time. However, my main woe I have with the city that gave me so much;  is the lack of progression.  The same sentiment goes for London, London with all it’s culture and history still has a lot of distance to cover in terms of equality and environmental issues if it hopes to be in the same league as Sweden. The more I read about Scandinavia and – Sweden in particular, the more I find myself – falling in love.  For example, Sweden’s energy source runs on 44% hydro-power that is a surprisingly large percentage in comparison to other developed countries, while their health and education systems are some of the best in the world.  Stockholm also being awarded one of the cleanest cities of the world numerous times. The list goes on and I think I’m done with the praise.

I have to admit that I’ve never been, so maybe all my commending of Sweden is unfounded. One can only find out by first hand experience and that’s why I have to take my chances. There are a couple of qualities that I look for a city, the main three are;

1. History, I can’t stress how important it is that a city has architecture built before the 70s.
2. Good restaurants, yes I mean ones with authentic cuisines.
3. Bohemia, which I mean places to go market shopping, little cafes, and nice bars with live music.

Unfortunately being in Tokyo and even the thought of returning to London has made me realise that my needs have changed slightly. I was thinking that New York could meet these needs, it has a bohemian side, and in the last ten years, it has become greener, and just last year they began allowing gay marriage. However, like Tokyo, the sheer size of New York is putting me off. I want a city, without the chaos of the 1000s commuters trying to get work, bags slamming into folded arms, fighting to make it to tops of escalators, slips of coats trapped between subway doors, it all gets to one after a certain period of time. A lot of my friends are unconvinced, of course I’ve given them enough reasons to believe that I might not go through with it. Only last year did I apply for NYU, only to stay in Japan for yet another year.  The year before I had prepared myself for the idea of immigrating to Norway. I fear that the reason is that I’m running out of time to continue my studies.  Unfortunately, no matter how good the academia might be in Tokyo, I’m not at all convinced that it suits my independent style of studying.

At first I thought like my friends and acquaintances that it might have been just a far distant crush, but something tells me even if that is so I have to play the field a bit before I decide to settle down.