A Walk Along the Streets of Tokyo (part two)

After spending the first couple of days under the mercy of a gloomy sky, the sun finally appeared in all its shining glory on the third day. The bright daylight coupled with the wind of the autumn season made for a perfect brisk walking condition—and walked I did—for miles and miles over sidewalks and subway floors. Every thump of my feet got audibly in harmony among the multitude of Japanese commuters’ rickety medley of footsteps, that sounded like an orchestral beat box.

Japanese Food-tripping

While I practiced a bit of common sense by avoiding high-priced sushi bars, I didn’t hold myself from trying out several joints the locals seem to frequent—even waiting in line just to get a seat. Sometimes, an uncrowded charming cafe would catch my attention and without ado, I’d step right inside to also take the chance to rest my feet.

I was amused by the vendo machine of some restaurants where you just punch in your order selection from the photos displayed on the screen before inserting your money. Afterward, the machine prints an order receipt which you then hand to the chef. I had fun using these ordering machines although sometimes, it becomes a hit or miss thing—just like when I selected a Ramen dish with red soup—that turns out to be too spicy for my tongue.

Eating with other Japanese diners meant having to eat fast, like you need to slurp all that noodles and soup in a continuous fluid motion. I reckon, it’s because of their way of life of being always on the go. Not only do they walk fast, they also eat swiftly, perhaps so they can go back to their respective jobs as quickly as possible. Despite all their rapid movements, it is not uncommon to see people lining up in an orderly fashion—as evident in their busy train systems. You will never see any shoving and pushing happening. In Japan— there’s no room for slacking around. Everybody’s in a hurry but in a disciplined manner.

Bright Lights, Big City

Feeling like a character in “Lost in Translation”, the quintessential display of Tokyo’s animated neon lights quickly captivated me in a trance-like existence. Despite being a morning person, the night vibe of Tokyo became my favorite time of the day. Whilst I’d spend most of daytime walking around, my wanderings turned notches more fascinating as I strode the intersecting alleyways of this city of 9 million souls, under its bright lights.

Like a blood flowing through a vein, I’d always find myself heading to the heart of the city: Shibuya Crossing. This rambling intersection is the personification of the city of Tokyo: where one witnesses a scene of repetitive loop of movements forming and dispersing quickly like waves of the oceans.

Wanting to feel the pulsating throb of Tokyo, I inserted myself into the sea of people—embodying a synchronized marching band—we ambled sashaying not to a musical tune but to the conducting of the strobing lights of giant electric screens.

Pushing my way through the busy streets and into smaller alleyways had me passing by skillful street buskers humming melodious tune in Japanese. Everywhere I go, there’s always an enthralling street scene unfolding. “This is the Tokyo I came to see”, I told myself and as an added wonderful surprise—the city itself, came with a more stimulating effect on me. The only thing left wanting out of my brief experience in Tokyo, is bumping into a Scarlett Johansson’s troubled but appealing character.

The rest of my Japan series