Is this Tokyo? Am I really here? The plane ticket says yes. The signs say yes. The hotel attendants say yes. My eyes say no.
I always thought Tokyo was one of those mythically large cities, represented in my imagination by thousands of skyscrapers and millions of residents stacked shoulder to shoulder in suffocating localities.
So I was a little confused and underwhelmed this morning as I left the hotel and was presented not with a Blade Runner-like future metropolis but instead with a clean, comfortable, scenic, and spacious landscape.
I expected this type of serene atmosphere in Nagoya (see my Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 Nagoya posts from last October) but I always thought Tokyo would be much more claustrophobic and gritty. What I have come to find, at least on this first day walking through Midtown and Roppongi, is a city that is way more intimate and unblemished than its size should allow. Maybe my experience will evolve over the next few days as I travel to other places in the city, but for now, color me impressed (and a little confused).
By the way, I found myself subconsciously walking more upright and delicately today. It's as if I'm afraid I'd stick out like a smelly-barbarian in a city of well-mannered nobility if I allow myself to walk around in very relaxed, semi-lackadaisical nature as I normally do in China. Maybe it has something to do with current participation in Kendo classes and how I am now in the habit of moving around in a civil, respectful, deferential manner when I'm in a Japanese state of mind.
Below are a selection of photos from the first day. Go to the gallery for the complete collection of Day 1 photos.