#02 Why not Osaka?


series WHY U GO LOCAL?


This title is not intended to offend anyone from Osaka, and actually, I myself spent the longest time of my life there. When I came back from Germany at the age of 9, the first thing that struck me was the unfamiliar Osaka accent that surrounded my table. Since then, during my 9 years of adolescent years spent there, I could not grow affection towards the place somehow. It's definitely not Osaka's fault, as the sheer number of foreign visitors and proud Osakan locals would prove. It was more about my personal narrative. I believe that the localism movement in Japan has much to do with each people's personal narratives. If I would have grown up there, knowing the language, culture, and history, keeping the kinship and friend's circles, I would probably have felt home there. But as long as I remember, I spent my 9 years in Osaka in a bedroom suburb's lame residential district, close to everything necessary but nature.


The more I spend time in Akita and the more I learn about the daily life of the local people, the more I realize how ignorant I have been all my life.


My parents knew nothing about Osaka, and unfortunately, they seemed not to have many friends as they moved into. Our house rarely welcomed guests from outsides, which made the atmosphere more enclosed and shut out. Like the majority of Japanese households, TV programs became the main door to the world and the resource of our conversation. I honestly do not remember any memories related to the physical or natural environment of the place I lived. It is a fact that I lived in Osaka, but it is not part of my story. I had no channel to inherit the Osakan narrative, as I was too busy to be adjusting in the Japanese society in school. It was a useful place to live, I admit. But I do not think it is a place where I would dedicate my life story.


But this is not to theorize the localism movement as a counter movement of suburbanization and standardization of commodities. For me, it was not Osaka but Akita, and for some others, it should have been not Akita but Osaka. For one thing, it is true that if you are a stranger, you would find value in the most ordinary things in culture. But the more important aspect is that of the individual paths and the processes of connecting dots into a story.



(next article on Wed. 24)