Friday, October 13, 2017

Yumeno Hajima Ring Ring

Charmed by Kyoto the last time we went, it wasn't hard to decide that our next trip would lead us to the other end of the renowned Tokaido road which is Edo. Otherwise better known as Tokyo 東京都 these days. A brand name known the entire world for that captivating mix of the ultramodern to the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers and futuristic androids to age-old ryokans and ancient temples.

With my debilitating insomnia coupled with an innate fear of flying metal boxes, the first days are usually miserable experiences for me but this time, a mixture of steroid-powered caffeine and the scent of autumn in the air spurred me out into the bewildering subway system of Tokyo the moment I dropped my bags at the hotel ( ironically called Innsomnia ). In a bid to avoid building train lines under the Imperial Palace, most transportation tracks belonging to two different companies go in tangled circles all around, which in a city touted as the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, leaves a bizarre, mind-boggling spectacle that takes several minutes to sink in.

And a couple of exhausting days to adjust to.

That's not even counting trying to make sense of the kanji, hiragana and katakana script written all over the maps.

Though it's rare to find a train carriage just that empty in Tokyo - well maybe at really unseasonable hours. 

Judging from the endless concrete towers surrounding us threateningly, we were definitely nowhere near provincial Kyoto at all. Even the crowds seem to have quadrupled with masses of suited salarymen pouring out of every nook and cranny of the train stations in perfectly timed intervals.

But I've never been one to hibernate on my travels so it was off to nearby Omotesando with their tree-lined avenue full of branded boutiques for a quick walk and dinner. Charming Calvin wasn't terribly amused to be dragged out of his extensive unpacking rituals but he certainly wasn't going to be left behind so off he went. How were we to know that the Japanese aren't too fond of modern-day conveniences such escalators and elevators? Steps and stairs everywhere we turned with the elevators tucked away in forbiddingly concealed corners.

Apparently the Koreans must have learned this bit from them.

So with our mildly befogged brains, we walked the length of Omotesando gaping at the beautifully dressed Tokyo hipsters in their trendy leather jackets and skintight selvedge denim. Fortunately we'd managed a quick shower and change otherwise we'd probably be hounded out of that posh enclave for dressing like abhorrent hobos.

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