Since I moved here, I have wasted no time in growing my book collection. Except in Singapore when I was a snob and only bought books first-hand (and would wrap them in plastic the moment I got home), I now settle for dog-earred used books that go for a third of the price.
The economics of living alone in a foreign country.
Still, in the span of less than 2 years, I have managed to amass a full medium-sized IKEA bookshelf worth of novels, textbooks and what-nots, and I am rarely without a book in my bag.
I have come to realize that secondhand books have character- that someone had picked it up at a bookstore, finished it and now it is randomness and fate that brings it into my possesion. It might cost me a tidy sum to ship them all home, but these books are a reminder of my time here in Tokyo and I couldn't possibly leave them behind.
In the meantime I am slowly getting rid of the odds and ends in my apartment. Jo is taking most of the appliances (otherwise we'd have to pay the city karang-guni officials to pick it up) and Hiro came and took most of the clothes and bags I had set aside (except for my 10 year-old long-sleeved Backstreet Boys tee with a glittery dragon on it... don't ask) and apparently she has friends who have just moved to Tokyo and would be happy to take my kitchenware etc.
And this pretty much sums up how I feel now-
" 'When you were there, you wanted to come here. Now that you're here, you want to go back.' It was when I first realized I had a new nationality: I was an exile. I am an adulterous resident; when I am in one city, I am dreaming of the other. I am an exile; citizen of the country of longing."
- An excerpt from Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta