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  • eli




Hi everybody. My name is Eli and I will be soon leaving the “center”. After two-ish (it’s complicated) years of living in Tokyo, I am getting ready to welcome the next period of my life.


I will be based in Hokkaido, and moving to the countryside is scary as fuck.


Why is the “center” even fascinating? I ask myself this quite a lot. Sure, the center is associated with power, economical, political or cultural. The “center” is very well represented – everything seems to be happening there.


It’s almost as if the world (and by this, I mean the media and our social media bubble) is trying to convince us that there is no life outside the “center”. All the voices, all the eyes that ask me perplexed “Hokkaido!? What are you even gonna do in that cold place!?” stare at me as if I were sentencing myself to death.


My brain doesn’t really know what to think either and it’s quietly panicking. Luckily my heart knows best: it was him that put Hokkaido on that list as my second choice. To him, it doesn’t matter much if there is no Daikanyama in Sapporo, and he is more than ready to experience life in Japan that isn’t Tokyo.


After all, what does even “periphery” mean? Isn’t that a word imposed from the top, from the mighty people at the center? Haven’t we been taught that everyone is equal and to respect every point of view?


“Periphery”. It’s a word that comes up often in my books, mostly as an adjective: they speak of people, groups and communities having been made peripheral and marginal. Women, Minorities and LGBTQ. They taught me the importance of seeing things from their perspective, that if you look at something from outside it becomes easier to spot the flaws under the apparent glister.


The feminist dream is to eradicate a male-centered perspective; minorities fight the exclusion from a majority dominated decisional center, and LGBTQ people reclaim their right to love in a world that so far has been centered on heterosexual couples. I see them fight, and I think their battles are my battles. But when I get thrown off the “center”, I feel destabilized.


Giving up a privileged position is never easy. This happens even to people who want to live an ethical life: sometime we tend to forget how blessed have we been from circumstances and are blinded by our fortunes. I have been marginalized for being different and I have experienced what it means to be a female in male-centered communities, but I still tend to forget that if I didn’t have other kind of privileges, such as financial support and not being born as a minority, I could have not gone as far as I have now.


Deep down I understand that my comfort zone is my worst enemy - I want to live in new places, meet new people, experience new things. Perhaps not being able to stay here in Tokyo is a blessing in disguise - it’s as if the world is telling me that I need to start seeing things from a different perspective. Circumstances are pushing me to think about what does the existence of “centers” and “periphery” mean.


Perhaps this is an invitation to journey further into the “periphery”. The world is whispering: only by leaving the “center” behind one can realize how fleeting this concept is. Somebody told me that I will not be scared anymore once I am there – maybe whatever attraction I felt towards the “center” will melt like a castle made of sand.


Maybe this is an invitation to keep on dreaming about a world without “centers”, where center and periphery melt together until they start losing their meaning. Accepting that everyone is peripheral means that everybody becomes central at the same time, just as only by accepting the diversity in every human being is the only way to be truly equal.



Written / Translated by Eli

All Images from Beautiful Maps

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