Miura, Taro

I moved to Tokyo after graduating in Fine Arts from a university in the Kansai region. I rented a small apartment, but without work or money the situation was unbearable. I had always believed that if I managed to get good jobs I would earn enough to live comfortably in Tokyo. Now that I lead a somewhat normal life —still far from that comfortable life—, I have yet to figure out what my true place is.

Without resolving this question, we recently celebrated my daughter’s hatsuzekku, a ritual similar to the Christian baptism, in a small Shinto temple in our neighbourhood. I had the feeling then that what we were experiencing was part of a story, and I understood that what I needed to truly enjoy my life in Tokyo was that common story between Tokyo and me. While I was climbing a slope with this idea in mind, I suddenly felt that the slope was a more familiar place.

I think that what I wanted to communicate in this book has to do with what we call freckles or beauty spots. Although we look in the mirror every day we barely notice those tiny spots on our face; and yet, on others they seem so striking that we consider them an inseparable trait of that person. In the same way, there are things about Tokyo that someone from Tokyo is unable to see. Sounds, for example, that we do not pay attention to. While identifying the freckles of the city —which I have sometimes capriciously exaggerated and added some colour to— I think I have managed to recognise my own Tokyo better. It would make me very happy if this book would make readers observe and reflect on the city they live in, to appreciate it more, and even to doubt it.

Taro Miura

Self-portrait of the author