I have been walking through Tokyo to the rhythm of David Bowie’s Where Are We Now. My walks, like the song, are a steady rereading of place names remembered, retreaded; names that are memories and walking through them just to feel their familiarity.
Just walking the dead.
When he sings, “had to get the train from Potsdamer Platz. You never knew .. that I could do that.” I recognise that odd sense of achievement in reaching the familiarity where you make a city your own. A city that you trust you have earned your right to wax nostalgic about. A city to whom you can say Tadaima! (I’m home), when you arrive at it’s airport for the first time in years. Or, a city that can be the focus of your comeback single when no-one has heard a peep out of you for nearly a decade and it makes sense. Nürnberger Strasse, Aoyama, Dschungel, Azabu Juban … the places are a part of you.
I can get a train anywhere in Tokyo. I can glance at the Metro map and compile a route, including transfers, in seconds. You could drop me on a street anywhere in this city and my feet would find the way home.
Ah, but home, It’s not really home anymore though, is it? I’m just walking the dead.