the orient

For most of my life, I’ve had an oriental fixation. Not the typical yellow fever kind–I don’t mean oriental as in Asian. But rather, I mean oriental, as in the opposite of occidental…as in “the east”. I’ve held two cities in unusually high regard most of my life despite having spent a combined 10 days in both places my whole life. The two cities are Tokyo and New York City. I have no connection to neither place, but for the longest time I’ve always put the two cities on  pedestal and have always talked about I could see myself living there. Why is that?

The whole Japan thing… I guess started as a kid living in Hong Kong. I loved reading manga, and everybody knew that Japan had the best video games, gadgets, technology. As a teen, I realized, though Japanese porn, that Japanese girls have the best natural curves out of Asian girls (y’all know it’s true), and as an adult, I realized that I love Japanese food more than any other cuisine because it tastes good and is relatively healthy.

Now as for the whole NYC thing, this is a bit tricky. I understand white folks from small white town looking at NYC with amazement, but I’ve lived most of my life in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, two cities that could rival NYC in any “bad ass city contest”. Yet, I still have this “whoa, it’s NYC, man!” attitude.

For the longest time I didn’t know why I had that fixation even though I’ve only been to NYC once, for 4 days. And that was in 2005–years after I’ve developed the fixation. But lately, I’m starting to realize why.

I recently read a NY times review of the show “How to Make It in America”. In the review, the dude wrote that the show glamorizes NYC and will no doubt influence a bunch of twentysomethings to go there to “make it in America”, just like how Sex and the City influenced many women to move to NYC wishing they could live like Carrie Bradshaw. The reviewer points out that those shows are unrealistic, and life there isn’t that much more glamorous compared to say, life in Chicago, or life in LA, or life in Cleveland (okay scratch the last one. Cleveland sucks).

I think I tried to deny it at first, because when I read the review I was laughing at those poor, easily influenced cats. But then I realized I’ve probably been influenced in the same way.

I think, as a kid, I’ve heard often how New York is the best in this and how it’s the center of that. Michael Jordan, the greatest athlete of all time, declares New York to be “the mecca of basketball”. Everyone knows NYC is the birthplace of hip hop. Superheroes in Marvel comics almost reside exclusively in NYC.

So although there some valid reasons I like NYC and Tokyo ( I am a city person, afterall. And I love public transport and being in a street full of cats), part of the cause for my fixation has to be because I fell for the same self-promotion, self-glamorization, arrogant “we are the best” attitude of NY media that twentysomething chicks fell for when they watch Sex and the City and Gossip Girl.

One perfect example: a NY sports writer and Cleveland sports writer have been feuding public lately (Yes, they were fighting over Lebron and the upcoming SUMMER OF BRON). This all started when the Cleveland writer wrote that Lebron is leaning towards staying in Cleveland. A harmless piece….but that didn’t stop the NY journo from taking offense. He wrote a rebuttal piece about how awesome NYC is and how the Cleveland sportswriter–who has followed Lebron his entire career–probably secretly wishes Lebron would jump over so he could also move to NY. Because you know, NYC is the greatest this an best that and everyone in the world wishes they could be there, right?

Okay, I’ve joked about NYC’s superiority over Cleveland the last five years (ever since we were all made aware of THE SUMMER OF BRON) but even I was thinking “STFU” at the NY writer’s arrogance. Granted, it’s the truth–there is no comparison between Cleveland and NYC, but the whole “we’re New York! everyone wishes they were here” attitude is annoying.

Of course, it’s similar to how HKers feel about mainlanders, and probably how Los Angeles residents about Sacramento residents. So I guess this “we’re a big bad city and you wish you lived here” attitude is just normal. Still, I can’t help but feel NYC cats sit on the highest horse of all.

But then again, you need swagger, arrogance, and attitude to be the GOAT. Ask Hova, ask Jordan.

Oh wait, no need to ask them, those two cocky mo-f-ers already tell us this on a daily basis.


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