Thursday, August 21, 2008

TOKYO TOKYO TOKYO


Five days in Tokyo involved more than a modicum of carnage and a lot of interest.

At one moment watching a Bulgarian wipe up at the grand sumo tournament, at another walking around the huge fish market a 6am before nearly being sick into the first sushi of the day - me and the innards of sea urchin do not get on at all well. Strolling the crazy neon streets of Shinzuko, hitting golf balls from high up into the abyss of the Tokyo skyline and missing baseballs in the arcades. Such a fascinating place.

I met loads of interesting people, from American photographers to local film directors. A place in which things happen. More to the point, a place where interesting things happen. A bit like New York in that you only have to put a little energy in and you get a chunk of it back. A place to go with the slightly quirky flow.

At the end of a simply lovely day strolling the streets, gardens and palaces with a really nice English lass called Helen, we had the opportunity to gaze at just how immense, how insane this city his. From the top of the Tokyo tower (a rather tacky Eiffel tower type thing) we had a full panoramic of by many counts the biggest city in the world. Bar where the sea encroached, stretching as far as the eye could see in every direction was density of mankind. Building upon buildings that would house more people than I could hope to meet in my short life.

And then to the night life....

From a brilliant engagement party for Andy, via a number of clubs, Karaoke bars, private drinking rooms of the highest sophistication - from wine, to decor, to music and ambiance, I'm not sure the people we were with knew who we were, but they invited us in just the same and were remarkably hospitable even if my get-up was tardy at best. There were kinky freaky bars with ghouls and waitresses wearing PVC nurse uniforms, clubs full of Geijin (Westerners)and attractive Geijin-hunters, an infamous shot bar and even a Ukranian model bar at dawn. Fascinating times that always seemed to end up with me and Portia or Dom chatting until way after the sun rose on their balcony.

Tokyo is a mind-blowing place. Somewhere I have not even started to get to grips with. Even if I lived there I think it would take me years to start to get an idea of what makes these intriguing people tick and even then I would almost certainly be blocked out. From the people I have met it appears a Geijin is only permitted so far under the skin of the country as there legendary hospitality masks the fact that you will always be different.

......oh and P.s. "jumpers" on the metro when you are trying to catch an international flight are quite an embuggerence. I have to thank this lovely girl for saving my skin (or at least USD 1,000)!!
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