The BVG, the main public transport company of Berlin, is perhaps the most hated company in the city. They may not be perfect at doing their job of smoothly transporting people from point A to B, but they are really good at something else that prevents me from really hating them : their trains are a beautiful shade of yellow – one of my favourite colours. Thus – even on a typically grey Berlin day, one can catch a glimpse of the reminder of the sun, which is hiding somewhere behind all the clouds. Therefore each passing train brings a smile on my face.
I have recently returned from Tokyo. It was such a great experience to be surrounded by a city that is painted in different colours; for two weeks I kept staring at all the small things that make up a city, which Germans tend to paint in different shades of grey. But in Tokyo trash bins are pastel green, streets lamps are pink, fire escape stairs are orange, and slowly I started to realize that I was becoming a kind of chameleon. My shoes were matching with the trash bins, my skirt with the fake flowers in the entry of a Pachinko parlour. I felt very much at home in Tokyo ; because I identified with the city, as it is as colourful as I like to dress.
In Shimokitazawa – , a heaven for those who love vintage and second-hand clothes, there was a pink little truck that kept driving past me in the streets. It also brought a smile on my face. And it matched the skirt I bought there. It was as if the city was talking to me and sending me little hints. Oh, wait, there’s a word for that: inspiration.
I was also impressed by the politeness of Japanese people. They give you back your credit card holding it with both hands, for instance. Not only do they show respect toward all people, but to objects as well. I felt like a cavewoman by comparison. Hundreds of people cross the intersection at once, coming from all directions, but nobody bumps into anyone, and if they do they regret it like it’s the worst thing they have ever done in their lives, as if they accidentally killed you.
Maybe the Japanese paint everything in colours other than black and grey because they want things to be lively. As Haruki Murakami writes in his book “Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” : “Every person has their own colour.” Maybe Tokyo is more suited to my personal colour, but dear Berlin, no matter how grey you are, you are still my city.
All Images: Eylül Aslan