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Sunday, 01 March 2015

10 days in Tokyo - Page 4

Written by Ben Gould
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Japanese people are the politest, most mannered and introverted I've ever met. On subways they're engrossed in their iPads and mobiles, in bars and restaurants they calmly pass the time waiting for their order by reading a book or engaging in quiet table chat – all of this is in huge contrast to our 'people-watching', often grimacing denizens back home, It may be empty-headed to surmise this, but they are as alien to me as anyone I've encountered. A person practicing yoga by the river would produce a group staring session in Edinburgh; over here I'm the only one gawking. 


               Tokyo Skytree


On many a holiday I've been guilty of descending into a lazy, sometimes alcohol-aided stupor after three or four days in, electing to spend an extended period of time lying in bed on my netbook or hanging around the hostel watching TV. Tokyo, too charming to be insipid, never has me lukewarm or exhausted. It doesn't seem to sleep all that much, and I see no reason to, either.


I increasingly marvel at how a city a mere 14-hours' journey time from my doorstep appears – not even haughtily so – as the comic book becometh. My Virgin Atlantic plane is a veritable time machine. Not since I was a young child on his first foray into Manhattan's FAO Schwarz have I been so enamored with shop interiors, their peculiarities and (for me) comedies. I have no interest in fashion but still drift into clothes stores, seduced by dazzling lights and alien sounds.


I've never before encountered beer in a vending machine; I'm flabbergasted, an accidental discovery, I tell myself, emotionally akin to Fleming's unearthing of penicillin. I'm almost disappointed in the Sky Tower when I don't have an in-depth chat about death and taxes with a verbose robot in the restroom or experience an android serve me noodles and a coke at the restaurant bar. 

(Page 4 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 March 2015

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