‘Where Am I From’: Performative and ‘Metro’ Perspectives of Origin
This past is not a ‘what’, but a ‘how’, indeed the authentic ‘how’ of my Dasein. (Heidegger 1992)
I am sitting at a desk in ‘my’ room in Tokyo. It is the desk which was passed on to me from my father. Next to the desk, a doll that was bought on one of the family trips to Italy when I was a primary school student is sitting on top of an old upright piano. I open the lid of the piano and I touch the scratches on the space beside the piano keys. I can hear my piano teacher’s voice: ‘Play ten times for each piece every day.’ The scratches must have been from ten yen coins when I transferred them from one side of the piano to the other each time I practiced a piece. An old fashioned bookshelf is half opened and First Love by Ivan Turgenev, The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, and Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima are peeking out. As I further open the bookshelf, the smell of old papers tingles my nose. On the wall, there is my oil painting of Queens Park in Edinburgh, the view from my window when I was living there at the age of twelve, with five sheep of identical size between the top and the bottom of the hill; I also see the picture of Shwedagon Pagoda that was given to me when I was backpacking in Burma at the age of twenty. This is the room where I stayed up all night struggling to write an essay on Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time regretting that I started at the last minute. I used to belong to and played a big role in constructing this culturally ‘schizophrenic’ space twenty years ago when I was a university student. Now this room is used as a guest room and I also have been an occasional sojourner for almost twenty years. Theoretically, I do not ‘own’ this room anymore, but whenever I find any traces from my past, I feel as if I have found a precious shiny marble in the bottom of my drawer. I write in this room in 2008 back from Sydney visiting my mother to spend Christmas and New Year.