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Sunday, 01 March 2015

10 days in Tokyo - Page 5

Written by Ben Gould
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I'm thrilled by innocuous tasks, a trip to a 7-Eleven, for example, made cinematic through the use of my camera. I begin photographing an array of water bottles in a refrigerator like they're an assortment of Katsushika Hokusai paintings. It's clear that I'm undoubtedly enamored with the place, in the throes of an all-encompassing elation that I've experienced before on exotic sojourns. Of course, this has sometimes segued to ennui and disillusionment after staying for too long or rushing my itinerary. Tokyo, however, I suspect incapable of being boring. The city simply … mesmerizes.


          Evening Rush Hour


What are the Japanese doing that we aren't? I try and study their ways, discern their whims. The city is a conundrum to me, and I (attempt to) approach it as the proverbial scraped tablet, without prejudice or presumption. I eventually deduce their grandiose achievements to work ethic. This is certainly a lazy explanation, but they always appear to be doing something – perpetually 'plugged in', up at dawn and impeccably attired, utilizing the morning train ride as a temporary office, constantly thinking, moving forward, and, dare I use cliché, grinding away, driven on by the possibilities that lay ahead. The future never built itself through excessive theorizing.


During my ten-day stay I spend such an inordinate amount of time wandering the streets, gazing up at buildings apropos of nothing, and exploring peculiar cafes and bars, that I neglect to visit some of the much-trumpeted must-see attractions. I missed out on Tsukiji fish market, Meiji Shrine, and a sumo match at Ryogoku Kokugikan (National Sumo Hall), amongst other would-be highlights. I'd like to think I did this unconsciously, providing yet more reasons to return.


Downcast, I set out from the hostel to Narita Airport in what I think are the very early hours, but soon find myself stacked like a tinned sardine on the Limited Airport Express train from Aoto station for 45 minutes during rush hour. Sake and sushi purchased in the airport, I prepare myself for the lengthy journey back to London Heathrow, and plot my return.



©Ben Gould





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Last modified on Sunday, 01 March 2015

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