How many nights have I dreamt about walking the streets, eating the sushi, mingling with the Harajuku girls, riding the subway, de-coding the language? How much longer can I endure imagining myself there without actually going?
I am going. I promised myself that Tokyo will see me by the end of this year.
I have an automatic radar that ignites whenever I hear something about (or anything associated with) Japan. It automatically triggers this acute desire to grab a passport and catch the very next flight.
Similar to what I feel when I think about London, although memories and mentions of London are mainly overwhelming nostalgia.
I am eager to be submerged in its vibrancy, its distinctly-Japanese organized chaos, the sheer magnitude of people, places, new culture – which I imagine on the completely opposite end of spectrum form anything I am familiar and comfortable with. But I crave that level of unease as a challenge to myself!
This is what I’m most looking forward to:
- Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Ginza, Akihabara, Roppongi neighbourhoods – the hyperurbanity, the insane fashions, the onslaught of consumerism and trendiness,
- Tsukiji fish market, here I should say I blame that National Geographic Magazine’s November 1995 article for all the hype: the biggest, liveliest fish market in the world where the most coveted seafood is sanctioned each morning for the millions of residents and visitors. As this capital of the East is the capital of sushi, that makes me trust what’s going on in Tsukiji every morning.
- and, as it follows, some real, raw sushi! I’ll even have it for breakfast, if that’s what the Romans in Rome do.. I hope they don’t drink sake at breakfast though.
- a visit to the baths, and especially the renowned Ooedo with its traditional hot pools, steams, massages, treatments, and conduct, I hope. Wooden slip-on shoes?
- the Shinto shrine, the Meiji shrine, and numerous temples; and perhaps I’ll learn how to read/write my fortune in Japanese, so that I can tie it in the wind there for future luck;
- the everyday-is-a-Halloween in Harajuku fashions; looking forward to photographing them!
- maybe have someone commission a Manga drawing of me?
- buying underwear and bananas from a vending machine (not from the same one? or .. who knows)
- sleeping in a capsule!
- partying at Womb, the legendary nightclub;
- going to the high-tech wc (silly, I know.. but what the western world doesn’t know…)
- riding the metro at rush hour; oh, yes, I am, among a sea of grey suits;
- and all to-be-discovered hidden spots, tiny places that locals would know about and where they would head.
But mostly, I would just like to be there, and just be.
And so, I did..!