One thing I believe that everyone has is a personal bucket list. Of course I have one too, (although my bucket is more like an overflowing shopping cart at BestBuy on Black Friday. It’s kind of embarrassing.) and one of my first ever “to-dos” listed was to “Live in the 4 major cities of the world.” What are the 4 major cities? New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo, of course!
Ok, I can already hear a few people pouting, “WHAT? How come MY city isn’t top 4? I object!!!” Let me explain. Although there is a global index indicating that these 4 cities are the top 4 (Singapore is 5th btw), the then teenage Leo knew none of that. He did however, have a fascination with the street apparel brand Stussy, which at the time, had “New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Paris” written on almost every piece of clothing they produced. There was an aura to this listing, an indescribable international playboy feel, and it was beyond cool (Cue: Lupe Fiasco). I would fantasize about becoming one of them one day; going from one international megalopolis to the next, hanging out with first rate creators and party people, living the life.
Yes, my ideals and values have slightly changed in the last ten years, but my goal of living in the 4 major cities still remains intact.
London I find interesting for various reasons. London is currently the capital of the United Kingdom, but it’s easy to forget it was the capital of the entire British Empire. This means there is 500 years worth of culture from all over the world (hence “the sun never sets”), which over the years, has all blended together into what we see today in London. I experienced one example of this is when I learned that the basic form of “curry rice” I eat daily in Japan was in fact not from India but from the UK, where immigrants brought in curry from India and transformed it into the style I see in my company cafeteria.
Another interesting aspect is all the child and fantasy literature that has been created by authors who at one point in time lived in London. “Oliver Twist”, “Alice in Wonderland”. “Winnie the Pooh”. “Wind in the Willows”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, “Harry Potter”-it’s crazy!! Absolutely crazy!! How many worlds and universes have been created? How much hope and imagination has been brought to children? How much money has Hollywood made from these books? Add to this, there are writers like, you know, Shakespeare. Oscar Wilde. George Orwell. Jane Austen. And so many many many more. You just have to start wondering, there’s probably something in the water. I hope I can gulp some of that down when I’m there. Maybe this site will find itself turned into a Hollywood film that way lol.