May 26, 2016
Ode to a Backpack
Since trying to drive in Japan near gives me a panic attack just to think about (I understand it’s an irrational level of anxiety, that knowledge doesn’t fix me) I instead adopted a much more pedestrian lifestyle while we’ve been living in Nagoya. Dare I say; I love it.
I feel more active and healthy, hoofing around has made me more navigationally savvy, I see more cool stuff because I can let my eyes wander a bit instead of focusing on the road, and it makes everything I buy a VERY intentional purchase. Because I’m walking. And if I have to walk a mile or more back to our apartment, whatever I’m carrying better be something we actually have a use for.
ah yes, these tiny plastic 100¥ figures were all absolutely vital purchases
Since I’m physically carrying everything we need around this city (examples: groceries, clothing, dog food, laundry detergent, that one time I bought a bookshelf and carried it back home and pulled every muscle in my arms but felt so triumphant about it), I’ve ditched the idea of carrying a purse and have converted whole-heartedly to taking a backpack with me everywhere.
Backpacks on adult, non-student people are much more common here than I’d ever noted back home. However, because it’s Japan, if you’re going to carry a backpack it needs to be fun and cute. When we first arrived, my backpack was a takeaway gift we’d received from when the Kellogg Cereal company hosted a Navy Ball.
note how nice and fancy we look...
five feet from a cardboard cut out of tony the tiger in fatigues.
Needless to say, it was not adorable, and I am a little ashamed to admit how quickly I became wildly self conscious about my totally not cute backpack. And so I made an investment and purchased my beautiful blue starry backpack, roughly a year ago.
This blue starry backpack has proven to be the most perfect accessory in my life: It’s star pattern is cute, but not like, over the top for my American sensibilities. It has side-zippers so I can reach behind me and rummage through the main pouch to grab stuff without needing to take it off (very handy on trains). It’s got a padded back piece so that weirdly pointy thing I just bought won’t stab me in the back while I walk. It has two side pouches that hold my phone and my house keys/rail pass respectively. It’s big enough to act as an overnight bag on weekend trips, even with the way I chronically overpack. It displays my collection of pins from all the touristy places I’ve visited here (my solution for wanting souvenirs from cool places without accruing clutter) And I can fit $100.00 worth of groceries inside without the straps giving out while I walk or bike home. It is so choice.
And now after a year of dutiful service, it’s finally time to retire my trusty blue starry backpack.
Actually, maybe retirement has been due for a while now, but I couldn’t bring myself to make the decision. I figured my blue starry backpack would tell me when it was time. But it’s been looking a little rough for a while now - in fact, while my mum was here visiting she insisted on buying me a new bag even though I was adamant it was fine and the way the bottom seam was fraying was totally fine. I am a creature of habit, you see, and I didn’t want to have to get used to a whole new system of zippers and pockets. This blue starry backpack is perfect… how could I ever find anything that could replace this perfect bag!?
How do you carry all your stuff around with you? What do you look for in a new bag/ purse/ wallet? Tell me in the comments!
Long story short… I ended up getting the exact same model.
Thus, tonight I will be moving over my wallet, pocket umbrella and sketchbook. My lip balm, tissues, and schedule book. My sweat rag (if you live in Japan in the summer, you have one, don’t judge), hand sanitizer, and my pin collection. And tomorrow will dawn a new era - the era of the black starry backpack.
today’s little language lesson
この かばん は、同じ ですね？
kono kaban wa, onagidesune?
isn’t that the same bag?
The name is Kp or KpMcD (Kristin, actually, but for the sake of continuity let's stick with the nickname, shall we?) Hailing from the Midwest US and living in Nagoya with my husband (The Mister), my dobermutt (Mac) and an elitist marmalade tabby who answers to no one (Bubba).
Yes to no car. To answer your questions, I put my wallet in my pocket or use a canvas bookbag (with a giant cassette screen printed on it) when I'm getting groceries/carrying too much. I also have a durable black 'school bag' (Hello Kitty) for looking more professional and bringing my work files around. It's still good four years later. I look for products that are going to last forever.
@helloalissa I love that your professional bag is hello kitty.