After three weeks drifting from one Inner Tokyo Neighbourhood to the next I move to the outskirts. A different Tokyo surfaces. Less polished. Less dense.
I team up with a bilingual fellow traveller. She charms a restaurant tip from the hotel manager. The dream of every tourist: A place where only locals go. No tourists … Wait a moment. … Logic? Never mind.
The place is unspectacular from the outside. We enter. Dim lights. Small tables along the walls. No English, no plastic replicas or pictures. Just plain handwritten Japanese. What looks ornamental to me is actually the menu. With the help of my companion I order the dish of the day. It’s excellent.
I feel cut off from any language based form of communication. People are really friendly. That much I get. I smile and wave, whenever I am addressed in Japanese. In one case, literally smile and wave. For a reason unknown to me I find myself playing rock-paper-scissors with the waitress. After we’ve left I ask my companion what just happened. She waves and smiles.
The next morning I move back to Asakusa that has become a kind of home base to me. In the hostel I meet another fellow traveller. She is travelling alone. … She is 82 years old. … She uses a battered tablet computer. Tomorrow she is taking the over night bus to Sendai. I like the japanese attitude towards ageing.