One of my all-time favorite movies is Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, but I get a lot of slacks when I tell this to my Japanese friends. The flick, for some reason, is not too popular among the Japanese crowd, who feels that the movie makes a mockery out of the culture, and depicts the city in a negative light. One friend said that it’s unrealistic for Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson’s character) to be in Tokyo, one of the most exciting cities in the world, and still manage to feel alone.
It was very interesting that he said this, because that is the exact reason why I love this movie so much — that you can feel lonely even in a city so crowded that you can’t walk down the street without rubbing shoulders with strangers. New York, to me, was exactly that kind of place, where, despite thousands and thousands of people sharing one small space, everyone is alone and in their own, solitary world.
Next stop on my whirlwind of business travel was Manhattan — not a huge departure from Sao Paulo which was equally metropolitan, but definitely a change from my everyday life in the quite suburb of Los Angeles.
To me, New York seems not a city, but a living, breathing being. When I walk by all the famous landmarks alas the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, etc., I couldn’t help but to acknowledge its existence, as if I’m greeting an actual person. Each location has its own distinct personality and charm, and sometime I want to smile, hug, wave, bow, high-five, or just applause because it’s truly magnificent.
My favorite spot in the city was the Bryant Park, located right across from the office, and only a few blocks from the hotel I was staying. I often escaped the office at lunchtime, grabbed food at a local eatery (Pret A Manger being my favorite … thank goodness they were all over Midtown) and just hang out at the crowded park watching the other office escapees – in a complete peace and solitude.