As I am writing this I wish that I could tell you that I’m on my last flight, that soon I will be home with my plants and my cat, my friends and my boyfriend. However, this is only the second flight.
The night was spent on a hard concrete floor at Narita International Airport. At first I thought that I would have a 14 hour wait in Tokyo during the day sadly I did not read my ticket thoroughly enough and what it really said was that I had a 14 hour wait at night. With no money a hotel wasn’t an option and I did not feel comfortable walking around in Tokyo with my heavy baggage at night, what if I dropped my bag and my precious Umeshu bottle broke?! Thus the night was spent alone on a hard and cold floor, well I was not really alone, there were farting and snoring people all around me and a strange annoying American who kept on playing “smooth” lounge music really high throughout the night.
During my stay in Japan I have tried to get to know something about the gay culture, where do you go? What do you do? How is it like? Thus I have been scouring the Internet for a non Japanese website for gay guys in Japan, since the trend among guys in Japan seems to be to act a bit “feminine” my “gaydar” has been totally out of order. I finally found Badoo two days ago and through that I was able to talk to a guy also spending the night at Narita, he was going to Taipei. This cyber encounter was about al I got to know about the gay culture in Japan; sometimes the gay guys go to Taipei (or more properly one time a Japanese gay guy went to Taipei). I’m a bit disappointed, what I have learned on Wikipedia however is that gay culture in the nation goes back to the 1100th century and that gays today have almost the same rights as straight people. However, your not expected to flaunt your homosexuality and there still is a lot of hush-hush about the whole thing. I guess it is the same as in Sweden (pretty much), expect the 1100th century thing. The straight Japanese guys (well I think they were straight) acted pretty much like Swedish straight guys, calling each other gay, teasing and making fun, well well… heterosexual boys will be heterosexual boys, one day the gays and the women will rule thus peace and prosperity will be upon us.
As I am writing this I’m sitting besides a Japanese businessman, he has a mask to protect himself from germs I and is currently in a deep state of sleep. Some turbulence just set in and as usual I’m feeling a but anxious.
The week in Hiroshima has thought me a lot of unexpected things, I don’t like Sake, Japan is a very humid and very hot country, everything is cute, sadly I got the feeling that some things were a game, or a charade, some things were not real. I cannot elaborate more on that feeling since it was just a feeling. I have learnt that it’s quite hard to be a vegetarian in Japan and that bowing acutely is more respectful than shaking someone’s hand, of course I always bow and shake hands. I have also learned that Sweden, or Malmö University is quite unique in the way environmental issues are handled and discussed in a holistic way. The anthropocentric and ecocentric values are dealt with combined and the notion of sustainability and its three core dimensions; economical, ecological and social sustainability are jointly considered. This also forms a new broader way of thinking by the students, a property I saw lacking in others when attending the summer school. The gender perspective was non-existing, and some of the lectures and students where surprisingly uneducated in this area, also the treatment of women colleagues and fellow students was sometimes appalling, oozing of patriarchy and male dominance. There was also a great sense of double morality where some students and lecturers would say one thing and do another, some of the students did not really seem to be engaged in environmental issues they were simple there as engineers dealing with a single problem. I missed the overall engagement and burning passion among the students, I missed the personal engagement.
However, all was not bad, and I have learnt that the environmental issues facing many parts of the world are very similar, though they differ in severity we can all learn from each other. And as I am writing this on my 9 hour flight with my Japanese guy by my side, a cute guy in the back of the plain, a constant fear of exploding, falling, drowning, dying, I cannot help to wonder if that was the most important lesson, or maybe it was to pack a fan the next time I go to Japan.
One flight left, from Helsinki to Copenhagen then I am home.