Perhaps you can relate to the following experience: You’re browsing a book, a magazine, the newspaper, when suddenly and unexpectedly you stumble on it: your London – that is, London as you know it, whether gritty, whether gorgeous, whether revealed to you in the portrait of a pub or the narrative of a trip down a seldom travelled side-street. Whatever the description, it somehow rings true. And so you drop whatever it is you’re reading, throw back your head in wild abandon, and pump your fists enthusiastically in the air.
No? Just us?
No matter, we still suspect you of being a London junkie, which is why we feel it our duty to tell you about Hitotoki. A Japanese word, hitotoki is often translated as ‘a moment’. The website Hitotoki, which launched last year, aspires to be an online repository of little literary narratives about singular moments in singular cities – London, New York and Tokyo thus far, although the site hopes to expand into other locations. The stories are less about the city itself and more about an individual experience or interaction as it relates to the city. London is setting, not star. And so, for example, we read narratives about the unacknowledged intimacy in a Tube train, how city landmarks come to signify personal events, and a moment when after becoming embedded in the city, we revisit our earlier selves. Plotted out on a narrative map and brief enough to digest in a single sitting, it’s a concept we applaud. Will we ever tire of literary London? Doubtful.
So check it out, support their efforts, and maybe even send in a submission if you so fancy. Go. Now. Did we say please? Please. Find out whether the London you love has made it into a Hitotoki narrative. But please don’t drop your laptop.
Image courtesy of devmonkey00’s Flickr photostream