Tokyo: Zen City
Despite being the largest city in the world, I have felt completely at ease (excepting an increasingly frequent claustrophobic feeling) everywhere I have been thus far. Most everyone is audaciously welcoming, friendly, and polite. The streets are absolutely safe and it seems almost unthinkable that anyone would steal anything – bicycles are not chained up, umbrellas are left outside shops, and certain street-side fronts rely on the honor system for transactions. Not once have I had the feeling I often get in Canadian cities of looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not being followed too closely.
Most everything is kept immaculately clean and orderly, shop keepers meticulously pick up the smallest of leaves off the street, shoes are removed before entering many buildings and slippers are provided for guests. The train system in Tokyo is incredible, you can get anywhere fast and precisely on time underground; though, I’m always completely disoriented after re-emerging above ground. Thank god for cell phones and google maps.
Tokyo: Claustrophobic city
Today, to combat the lurking feeling of the closeness of everything, I visited Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and the Meiji Jingu Shrine which are both in very large parks with huge trees in the middle of Tokyo. They were very zen, although I’m sure the gardens are much more impressive in the spring/summer. It’s 3am. Capsule 515 is snoring their lungs out and keeping the whole flat awake, so I’m glad that at least I don’t have to wake up at any time. Just laying here, listening to dubstep on my sweet sweet Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Headphones, and working on the website.
Some more firsts
- My hotel’s WCs automatically turn on lights, lift and preheat seats, and have electronic wall panels that include, in addition to the usual flushing and bidet assortment, buttons for lifting/lowering seats and for toggling various ambient background soundtracks to mask any potentially awkwardly noisy jobs.
- Riding the midnight train, crammed in literally like sardines in a can, for 40 mins.
- Being directly propositioned by the same street prossy, twice.
- Most ever paid for a haircut – but worth every yen! The barber was going for perfection. He had an assistant to take me coat, hand him various tools, sharpen scissors, layer various capes on me to keep me completely clean of clippings, etc. 2 glances a picture on my cell phone, 4 hairclips, 1 very quiet electric razor, 5 pairs of scissors, well over 1000 snips, 2 straight razors, 1 face brush, 2 combs, 1 blow-dryer, 3400 yen, and many “arigatous” later, I was out the door.