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Tokyo

Tokyo is a huge city even for the Japanese. It’s more of a megalopolis than metropolis. One of the main complaints from many Tokyo residents is that Tokyo has very little in the way of nature. At times it can seem as though every square meter of Tokyo has been covered in concrete and a convenient store placed upon it.

Tokyo was bombed to pieces in the second world war and so the entire city had to be rebuilt. As such even the traditional stuff you see is new.

For a culture whose roots lie in the nature-based spirituality of Shintoism, places like Tokyo can be difficult even for the Japanese to bear. However, what is not shown in the film, and is often overlooked by visitors and foreign residents alike, is the way in which many Tokyo residents have brought nature, albeit on a small scale, into the big city. Countless small but elegant gardens dot the entirety of Tokyo. Flowers are everywhere from temples to train tracks. The city may be crammed with buildings but it does possess parks where one can completely lose themselves and forget that they are in one of the largest cities in the world.

The movie ““Lost in Translation”:http://www.roadjunky.com/japan/lostranslation.shtml” epitomized the urban loneliness that affect both visitors and residents alike in Tokyo. At times Tokyo can feel like it is crushing one’s senses with all its buildings, neon lights, noises, confusion. oddness, traffic, and massive amount of people. Tokyo is definitely a city that one has to come to terms with on their own.

Tokyo is a busy city for busy people with busy plans. For those who are in a transition or in a stagnation period of life, such “busy-ness” can be overwhelming. The Lost in Translation effect is the alienation that anyone stuck in a rut can feel not only about Tokyo but in any place that is new and strange.

The cultural imagery is Chinese and Korean but the style is Western and it seems an unlikely match at first sight. Shopping centres like Shibuya and Shinjuku seem almost futuristic in their daily exhibitions of rampant consumerism. There are anime cartoons for strip clubs and talking video ads on giant screens overlooking the thousands of streaming customers like ants. It’s no wonder that Bladerunner was inspired by Tokyo.

Gosh, you really have some nice toys here.” (Roy Batty, Replicant 6, Bladerunner)

Tokyo has 23 ku’s or centres and you should check out a few of them to get the flavour of the city. Apart from Shinjuku you should also check out Akihabasa and it’s electronics market. If you’ve ever dreamt of an electronic device there’s a good chance there’s a working prototype here. This being Japan there’s good business in toy robots and mechanised pets (Kawaii! Cute!).

Walk around areas like Shinjuku or Kabuki at night and you’ll be assailed by Nigerian guys trying to drag you into strip clubs. If you slip through their clutches then the massagee girls might get you. Tokyo is kinky Japan at it’s most extreme and every taste is catered for somewhere. If you’re looking for a more traditional nightlife then you can either look for a quiet bar somewhere or join the rest of the gaijins in the meat market that is Roppongi.

Tokyo is modern Japan at it’s most bizarre and disturbing. Why travel to Tokyo? The following clips of modern Japan have the answer:

– elevator doors that squash you

– revolving doors that kill you

– asking fast food staff to hold an ingredient like mayo from a sandwich/burger and receiving a look of severe confusion

– drunk salary-men vomiting everywhere on Friday nights, especially, on the platforms trying to catch the last trains.

– drink vending machines everywhere

– the seemingly pre-recorded programmed speech of “irraisai maisen.” you hear from service staff every time you enter a convenience store, restaurant, department store, brothel, etc…

– tissue packet people who make it impossible to get by without taking a packet.

– those lovely, photogenic Sunday Harajuku goth freaks in front of Yoyogi Park

– the orange skin girls with day-glo make-up

– massage girls in the street harassing men saying: “massagee? massagee?”

– pampered neurotic little dogs

– huge monstrous crows – the governor of the Tokyo area has made it his personal crusade to rid Tokyo of these winged pests after two crows viciously attacked him on a golf course.

– people walking and emailing on their phone all the time obvious to everything around them.

Junky @dmin