Eve sat surrounded by strangers, her mind in the particular cast of deadness that came with all subterranean journeys. The paleness of the riders on the subway, the way they pointedly avoided acknowledging each other, made her long for a place where people were passionate, often confrontational, but warm, always warm. She wondered if she had grown up in Tokyo and known no other place––would she have come to accept this particular form of coldness? Would it have driven her slowly mad?
Here in Tokyo people got on and off of subway cars as if ghosts, blanketing all serviceable places with their quiet, determined presences. Not human, not flesh and blood. People coming and going from cracks in the earth, taking sustenance in the flicker of pale sunlight through tall buildings. Motivated by longings that left her cold and shut out. Wrapped in a communal desire for––what exactly––money? Not only that. Recognition. A recognition of the mass and of its irresolvable ambition. An ambition for Japan to be… what? More. More than Japan. She shut her eyes and still the subway rattled on.
Most of all what Tokyo made her feel was lack of human contact. Part of it was her newness here––she had given up on old habits and friends to stay in a place that had come to her through osmosis, anime. But the hikikomori phenomenon of shut-in otaku reflected a pervading sense of quietness, distance.
And that could be deadly in a position where (doh!) human relations were not easily intimate. Money had a way of putting a damper on desire. Feelings were now to be measured by the minute, which made no sense on a physiological level. The only reason it was bearable––why she accepted it in the spirit of the experiences one had in one’s twenties––was Lise.