Diary: 11/20/2012 Tue.

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After the classes in the morning, I went down to Chelsea, to see one Japanese photographer’s exhibition. It’s still Tuesday, but the train was more crowded than usual. Some of them had luggage with them, and I guessed they took off a few days earlier before the Thanks Giving holiday to go back to their home. One of them was with his pet, french bulldog, and she showed us her head from his bag. I and other two passengers around him, the owner of the french bulldog and asked about her, and then chatted for a while. Actually she was so cute and I really enjoyed the time with them, but at the same time, I found, I’ve been accustomed with the way of communicating with others, here in NY. It’s slightly different from that of us Japanese. In Tokyo, we don’t talk with ‘strangers’ so casually at the train or some other public places. This difference may come from the difference of our idea about the ‘public.’ For New Yorkers, public places may be open to ‘everyone,’ where are supposed to be built by themselves, while for Japanese, public places are for ‘no one,’ or owned by someone other than us. We are not supposed to ‘disturb’ the public place such as train, by chatting or laughing with others. It’s not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ matter. It’s just a difference of culture, and their behaviors in public spaces represent only one aspect of each culture. But for me, it is interesting, and somewhat ‘good’ experience to have a sense of being here in NY.

火曜日だが早くも電車がいつもより混んでいた。Thanks Givingの木曜日より少し早めに休みをとって帰省する人たちだろう。ほどほどの大きさのスーツケースや旅行かばんを持っている乗客がそこそこいた。うちの一人が、かわいいフレンチ・ブルドッグをショルダーバッグに入れて連れ歩いていて、バッグのファスナー部分から愛嬌のある顔がひょこりと飛び出てきた。「可愛いですね」なんて言って、僕とあと2人、彼の周りにいた乗客で愛犬を囲んでしばし談笑する。こういう場面に出くわす度に、「あ、ここはニューヨークだな。」なんて感じたりして、そこにだんだんと馴染んでいっている自分を発見する。東京もニューヨークも都会だから、生活の便という意味ではそんなに変わらないのだけど、公共空間でのコミュニケーションは、だいぶ違うものがある。この街の人は、それぞれがてんでバラバラ自由に過ごしていて、でもそれでいて他人に完全に無関心でもなくて、刹那の交わりを楽しむ心の余裕がある。それは深みのある長期的な関係とは別種のものだけど、そういう軽やかなやさしさが街全体に染み渡っていることが、この街の明るさを形作っている一つの要素なんじゃないかと思う。

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