Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seven days in Tokyo

There is one regret coming from my recent visit to Toky0. Simply a regret that I never visited before.

It is a bit of a cliche to say that Toky0 is unique. It is unique, but it is still worth saying in a world where so many places start to look like each other.

The first thing that struck me was the procedure for waiting for the bus from the airport. I stood any old how but was told (very politely) to stand in a certain area marked out by white lines. Everything in Tokyo seemed to live up to the expectation that it would be clean and organised. The dual carriage way from the airport had a neatly pruned hedge in the middle of it. There was not a piece of litter in sight.

Refreshingly the Japanese share the minority taste that the British have for driving on the left !

Thinking about it, two weeks after having returned home, I think the things that appealled most about Tokyo were its great energy, its organisation and cleanliness and last but not least its people.

Tokyoites (or Edoites as I am informed is more correct) are an incredibly friendly people. They exude a style and an energy I have rarely seen before. In short I did not find Tokyo an alien city seen in "Lost in Translation". I am sure the fact that I was visiting the office of my British employers helped here. However I found an echo of British eccentricity but a style that was authentic and unique, something that could only be made in Japan.

My week in Tokyo shot by. I was entertained at virtually every lunch and evening. This is really one of the few cities that never seems to sleep. I was struck by the order of it all. My commute in the morning involved descending 48 floors from my hotel room and then going back up 41 floors in the same building to my office. I travelled in a total of 4 lifts to make that journey. Still it definitely beats the sub-urban commute in London.

I am sure my view as a well pampered visitor was not entirely realistic. However the energy, vibe and charm of the place and its people has certainly left a lasting impression on me.

As the plane left the snow capped peak of Mount Fuji behing it I found myself sad to be leaving this great city after over 7 days (most of them hard at work). I hope I have the privilege to return again one day.

Below are some photos taken during my seven days in Tokyo.

The entrance to the Meiju Jingu shrine

City view from a 48th floor window

Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay

Tokyo Tower looms over a night street scene

Chef at an Okonamiyaki restaurant

Outdoor beverage machines- they are everywhere in Tokyo

Neon lit street at Shibuya

Daytime at Roppongi crossing

No comments: