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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Econapocalypse

At work on Friday, alongside my regular tasks, I had the EU referendum poll results open on my desktop, which I was refreshing intermittently. 

There was a brief moment early on, when I checked and saw that  "remain" was ahead. This lead me to breath a sigh of relief. I thought about the thousands of people back home seeing this just before heading to bed, expecting to wake up to a UK that would continue to be part of the EU.

But as we all know, this is not what happened. It was a slow and anxious day as I watched the results slowly unfold. By the point at which the voting outcome was clear, I felt the severe sense of disappointment, shock and worry that I knew many people back home would be waking up to. 

Then, the influx of opprobrium began. My private conversations over messaging apps, and the public spaces on social networking sites where people air their thoughts and opinions, were quickly filled with the strong reactions of family, friends and acquaintances back home. I can only imagine how strange the atmosphere in London has been over the last couple of days.

Why did this happen and what now?

I voted to remain. I felt a vote to leave was one based on nostalgic, nationalistic pride and to remain was based on economic reasoning, reliable logic and the opinions of intellectuals and professionals. This is the rhetoric which I have been exposed to and had put my faith in after listening to podcasts, news articles and think pieces posted online over the past few weeks.

However, in spite of what many of my fellow disappointed remain-voters are claiming, can having voted "leave" so simply be dismissed as a case of ignorant emotion over logic? Of course not...well I hope not at least. Can the people of my generation, who are well informed and taught to think analytically, be politically sensitive and open minded, really believe that any political argument can simply be that black and white? Was it really such an obviously stupid decision?

One cannot deny there is genuine worry and a lot of uncertainty for what is to come next for the UK. But, what is done is done. We now have to believe in the decision of 51.9% of British voters, however daunting that might be. We have to embrace whatever is to come next, even if we really don't want to.

All I know is that I'm glad to be in Tokyo. Returning to the UK at this time is a worrying prospect. I was confident that the British economy was strong, and that I would be able to find secure work upon my return. But now, I'm not so sure. I'm not even sure if the UK is a place I really want to be at all anymore. I don't feel angry with the decision made, just estranged by it. If I leave Japan, is my only choice the UK? Who's to say I can't find a future home somewhere else altogether. 

After an emotional day, I went out on Friday night...I had to. Well sort of. I started drinking umeshu with my landlord and got the sense that she might be in need of it.  At times when I feel at a loss, I can embrace the spontaneous fun that Shimokitazawa so generously provides. 


And for those having a hard time with it all, here is my current musical obsession to help put yourself at ease:




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