Tokyo is amazing. It is a contrast between the manic and the serene. One minute you are surrounded by a seething mass of moving humanity, splintering this way and that. Yet one step off into the lane is a tranquil oasis of golden ginkgo trees, sleeping cat and parked bicycles.
It took us 4 hours to get to Tokyo by the time we navigated the airport, obtaining our rail passes and boarding our train. Arriving at Shinjuku station we must have looked lost as station attendant came to our rescue; different train one more stop. Off at Shin-Okubo, down a quiet lane to our hotel.
To our Australian sense of space, everything here is on a compact scale. Our hotel room is little bigger than the two single beds it contains. The bathroom is a capsule with taps. I have kicked, knocked and crunched my feet into my sprawled suitcase a dozen times. But we adjust to this new paradigm of life.
Every travel blog you read says how friendly and helpful the Japanese people are and they are. They go out of their way to help, often to their own detriment but if you live in such close quarters then as a society you would have to have this sense of selflessness for it to function. The old “I’m right Jack, bugger you” is just not going to work. On top of this they are very positive and much like Aussies they are quick to laugh and see the funny side of things. Last night in our hotel’s funky little bar I spotted this sign above the sink (see below): “Cleaning everyday makes you happy”. So even cleaning is made happy. No wonder that a city of 35 million people is so spotlessly clean.