The area of Tokyo I live in is famous for its natural display of autumn colors. Some of them seem determined to make it through winter.
Today I leave Japan. I think I hardly scratched the surface. As easy and fun as it was for me to live around here, as hard it seemed to understand what lies beneath. From my perspective in some ways it reminds me of a theme park.
In the early morning I start my fourteen hour train ride back to the heart of Japan. I have to change trains several times, but all trains I have taken so far were on time. Punctual to the minute. After one hour the train slows down to walking speed. After another half hour I start to worry. (more…)
I see a lot of concrete travelling through the cityscapes of eastern Honshu. Plain grey, piled to great heights. The only evidence that once it must have been different seem to be the intricate wooden structures of temples and shrines.
The Osaka aquarium is basically a functional concrete structure build around a pool big enough to hold two whale sharks.
The Metro has become background, like breathing. I use it every day. All it takes is a chip card. The lines are colour coded, the stations numbered.
I share the Metro with a host of men who uniformly wear white shirts, black suit trousers and a leather suitcase. I change my plans. I get off the train with them.
Nihombashi. Glass and concrete. Business Central.
Tokyo bristles with activity. Everybody moves. They don’t stop. They can’t stop. Tokyo seems to tell me: If you want to sit take the Metro, or eat at a restaurant. Or do this:
I guess the weather is at the very soul of any country. People have to adapt to it. It does not work the other way around. … Not yet, at least. One of the first things in Tokyo that strike me as odd is the abundance of umbrellas.