Arriving in Japan I was ready for a glimpse of the future. Of bullet trains and tall glimmering towers, of technical advancement, robots and super slick efficiency. It certainly was all that and more. Filled with quirks and contradictions, it took me a while to get my head around both the city and the culture.
The first thing to observe entering the airport was how clean everything was. Four bins lined up to separate out rubbish for recycling. No litter, sparkling floors. For the first time in months I wasn’t in mud, dirt and flies! Instead I had traded by bucket of water and hole in the ground, for a toilet that not only provided you with a warm seat and music, but would spray warm water and dry you too!
The next thing I would start to notice, was how ordered everything was. People stood patiently in lines to board the metro. They generally kept themselves to themselves, quiet, reserved. Later I would experience how much so, when getting stares for crossing the road- not a car insight, but people would wait until the light was green to cross. They respected the system. They were well dressed and presented, smiling, friendly. It would seem they didn’t often show much outward displays of emotions, no holding hands. Just small notions to recognise each other. Soft uttered words. Modest people. Though here lay a city screaming with adventure, a playground of lights and oddities, anything but reserved and modest. High fashion luxuries, harajuku girls, the skater goth crowd with purple streaks in their hair. Cat cafes, maids cafes, love hotels, 7 storey sex shops covered in sexualised anime characters, manga, gaming centres, rows upon rows of bars, magic bars, massage parlours, puppies parlours, naked Onsens, geishas, robot kabore, robot run hotels, sleeping capsules, comic stores with sleeping capsules, kareoke booths, vending machines serving meals….the list goes on.
Here lies a city that could keep you entertained for years. Incredible art exhibitions, beautiful parks, even better food. Behind all of its tall glimmering buildings, something to please your every desire!