Day 7: 東京. When I get Lost in Translation.
So, Tokyo. I knew it would be a challenge for my brains, but on my very first day I was simply lost. I guess two things to know about Tokyo: there are too many subway lines and they belong to private companies (I am still not sure how that happened), and a lot of economy is still cash-based, which I realized when I couldn’t pay for my train ticket with the card. I barely made it to my hotel by around 1am in the morning, exhausted from what was supposed to be a fairly short trip.
It seems like life here is very structured — people go to work, people drink, and the culture and tradition is very strong, meaning you can’t do a lot things just to save your face (and not because someone is watching). It’s good for people like me, who may do things others can’t simply because I don’t understand it. But as days go by I’m conforming too (and bowing often).
First time in 4 days when I can catch a break and spend some time writing. I think that writing is a skill like any other — even if you aren’t good at first, keep on writing to get better and better. So when my head is full of thoughts and I have no paper, laptop, or time (the latter occurs quite often on what is supposedly my vacation), the thoughts go stale. And no one wants stale thoughts.
There was an amazing transportation from my first day in Tokyo to the current, fourth, day. The confusing and very random subway became less confusing and somehow I find myself even calling it convenient at times in my head (but never aloud). The trick is to repeat the same process a few times, to acquire muscle memory, and then not to spare brain cycles on that any longer.
Some things in Tokyo are indescribable—i.e. girls (or women) in their late 30 that look like they are 15. It’s nearly impossible to guess their age, and I think they don’t want you to. The complete look takeover with coloured contact lenses, fake eyelashes is everywhere.
Tokyo architecture is very different from anything else, yet, very repeatable. It’s like Toronto is known for it’s boring boxy glass towers from architectsAlliance, same in Tokyo, the architecture follows a specific pattern, born either from culture of conformity or specific parts of the building code.
The good part are the rooftops, I guess—it’s very easy to access the roofs, so the view of the neighbourhood is always on point.
My daily yoga practice suffered a bit, partially because at my place in Shanghai and at my hotel in Tokyo there is simply no space to do it. Space it a scarce resource in this part of the world, and the lack of thereof makes me appreciate my tiny place in Toronto a lot more.