UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
Last Supper

One year ago today, I broke up with New York City. I sold all my furniture, packed up all my things into many, many boxes and with the help of Erin, managed to clean and just barely move out of my darling little Brooklyn studio. A year ago. Today.

I showed up to NYC in 2002 just out of college with one suitcase. No friends. No apartment. No job. But the city took me in, held me, consoled me. Loved me. And I loved it back. But it wasn't always a candy-coated wonderland. We fought a lot-- NYC can be so harsh, spiteful. At times abusive.

Like any all-consuming, all-too-comfortable relationship, it was the hardest act of my life to pick up and leave the city. It took a lot of haggling, ball-busting and heart-breaking. It would yell at me, "You can't leave me, you have such a great life here!" Some days I would cry, "You're right. We know each other so well. I love you so much." But then gradually I would simply scream back, "Fuck you, I hate you. What did I ever see in you??"

It's been a blur of a year here in Techyland Suburbia. I've watched countless hours of television and literally did not leave the house for months. Instead of images of past lovers, often the last thing that would flitter through my mind before dozing off to sleep have been visions of yellow cabs zooming down Broadway and Houston, the Adidas store on one side, and the Angelika right around the corner.

How fucked up is that?

To this day, I still get phone calls, emails, texts from friends asking me where to eat. "I'm in Chelsea and craving a taco, where should I go?" It is with a level of pride, true New Yorker pride, that I can still suggest, quite accurately, where to go. It is priceless information, and it's a gift that New York bestows upon people who are truly obsessed with eating. I've got the gift!

What now, though? I suppose it's time for me to turn off the tv, take all the boxes in the garage that I never bothered unpacking from NYC and move out of my parent's house. Will I ever know the Bay Area food scene as intimately as I know NYC's?

New York, I miss you. I'll never forget you. But you know I had to leave you. Your sushi, pho, and burritos just weren't cutting it for me. Please let me go. xxxxxk



*Song by LCD Soundsystem, NY I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down. Thanks, @totallymatt.

**Above photo: Last NYC supper at Two Tom's in Brooklyn.

***Kayoko
currently lives in Cupertino, CA. She will be baking some of her famous Break-Up Bread to commemorate this one-year anniversary.

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8 comments

  • I feel you so much on this post. I am doing the same thing with Tokyo in two months. It is/was so good to me, yet so unhealthy as well. I will be packing up to move back to the Bay Area with one very special piece of luggage that I didn't have on the way there though — a lovely native Tokyoite husband.

    yoko on

  • かわいそうだろう!

    Right now I too have to decide wether I move away from the best city on earth to Tokyo, my まあまあす好きな街. How will I ever leave the Royale Burger?!?

    Jason on

  • awwww… i can't wait to have you and washi here with me. we are gonna tear the city apart!!!

    before you leave though, please enjoy tokyo til the very last drop. it is a special place, and you know it the only way a true resident could.

    love you!

    kayoko on

  • Jason- Oh man, the Royale, def one of the best burgers in town. Ahhh…

    TBO- I'm gonna bake break and watch Annie Hall tonight!!! That montage at the end breaks my heart every time I watch it.

    Anders- You are too kind, thanks for reading. California was always the boyfriend I left for the hotter, sexier NYC. It is now the man I've come back to because I was craving comfort and ease. I'm such a philanderer.

    It's trippy though, I haven't lived in the Bay Area for 10 years, so like a curious child, I'm trying to relearn all the wonders that this place has to offer. Most important, are the superiority of the 3 Major Food Groups: Sushi, Pho and Burritos.

    Can't wait for your visit!!!

    kayoko on

  • Beautiful post, Kayoko.

    It's funny how your birthplace stays so close to your heart. Even though you grow up and slowly become another person, and you run out into the world and take what you want, and you live, learn and experience everything you were taught by movies to experience. And yet it still lies there in the distance. Patiently waiting for you to find your way back in, like putting on your old worn out favourite shoes. You might have changed yourself, maybe so much that you'll never settle down in this place again. But still, coming "home" is a feeling that can't be replaced by anything.

    Hopefully I'll see your famous Bay Area home with my own Scandinavian eyes within the coming 1-2 years. And taste some mean Californian kitchen with you guys. Cause home is where the heart and the warm dinner is, remember?

    Anders on

  • Sigh. New York. Every time you go back after you leave, it's like that last scene in Annie Hall, the shot outside of the restaurant where Alvy and Annie are inside, catching up. It's like trying to stay friends with an ex, but you've changed and they've changed and nothing will ever be the same. Great post, kayoko!!

    saaara on

  • Can't believe it's been a year. I totally empathized with your story of parting with NYC…I waver every day.

    Hamamama on

  • Anyone who has ever lived in NYC and have left should feel me on this post. NYC truly is a living, breathing entity that does not let you leave easily once you've passed the 2 year mark.

    It gives you hell for the first year or two though. It's always testing people. Oh, NYC.

    kayoko on

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