Saturday, April 3, 2010


What can I say about Tokyo? I suppose that I can't say much about Tokyo without saying first and foremost, that it is HUGE and has a shit-ton of people. Imagine the population of Canada (30+/- Million people) cramming themselves into a space the size of Puerto Rico (or 2 Rhode Islands). Walking around yesterday gave me a sense that I cannot wrap myself around Tokyo in the way I am able to in New York, Paris, Rome or London. For the most part, you have to pick an area in any of those cities and make that your hub and then go out to the other boroughs, arrondissments, vincinatos, or neighborhoods (although, I am sure that Londoners might not call Holborn, The West End, Clerkenwell or Westminster neighborhoods... I am just at a loss for what they are called there).

One of the Cherry Blossom Viewing Parties (Hanami) that are held all over Japan during this time. People bring box lunches with sweet dumplings, yakatori and of course... beer.

I have yet to find a rhythm to Tokyo yet and I am guessing that I won't before it is time for me to move on. For one thing, it is not a city of straight lines. You have to zig one way, then zag the other just to get past some park, monument or other obstruction. From what I can tell, there are parts of the city that are built on a grid, but the rest seems to flow with the meandering rivers and waterfronts and then extend out into a series of tetrahedrons bordered by an arc with a trapezoidal circumference of unmeasurable proportion. Very confusing to me (and to you too by this time). Perhaps not being able to read the street signs has a lot to do with it, but I am certain that even if I could read the signs, I would still get lost!

Ninjubashi is this area where the two bridges span the moat before the Imperial Palace beyond.
This palace was rebuilt in the 1960's to replace the previous palace that was burnt down in the 1945 bombing raids. There are still structures inside the palace grounds that are intact that were built in the 17th century.

One of the busy intersections near the Shinjuku Station.

Josen-in Shrine
Monks for Mac. Even monks know that Mac is more Zen than PC!
There are a few things that have nagged me since I arrived, but the most annoying thing thus far is the Little Paper Problem I seem to be having. It doesn't matter where I go, how long I have been gone or what my activity is, but the one constant is that whenever I am in contact with someone here in Tokyo I acquire a little piece of paper. Mostly it is in the form of a receipt, but other times it is a business or greeting card. It is almost comical at the end of the day when I have emptied all my pockets to find a little mountain of these taxi, restaurant, subway or store receipts. I suppose that if it gets really cold while I am riding that I can burn them to stay warm.

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