It’s oddly refreshing to be in a country where the language is so completely alien to me. And besides, things in Tokyo are just damn cool, though goofy. Start with the hotel. The automatic doors at the entrance are supremely silent, and the lobby of the hotel is actually on the 16th floor of the building, which makes me wonder what’s going on below. The hotel has a modernist bent, like so much of the city that I’ve seen Tokyo. Modernism has it’s drawbacks, particularly in the suburbs in between the city and Narita Int’l., but when it’s done well it simplifies everything. In my room, I was impressed with the automatic toilet, which heats the seat and has two different sprayers (fountain and direct), which make the automatic flush seems trivial by comparison.
Alternatively, Tokyo seems strangely lifeless. Although your senses do get overloaded, it’s not with emotional pleasure. I’m reminded of arriving in Stockholm. The airport there, in Arlanda, was too quiet. And it was a long, pricey express train into the city. I know the Swedes have character, as do the Japanese, but you just don’t feel it when you arrive in these countries the way you do in Latin America, India, Africa, and some places in Europe. I feel as if an outside force is constantly organizing and directing me. That force is similar to the one that lead me to a small cafeteria called Azuma in the Ginza District, where you can get a signature dish of an omelette on ketchup-seasoned fried rice. I opted instead for the curry rice (mmm…see? Japanese curry rice is not a Mexico City creation) with a soya flavored hamburger steak
These thoughts aren’t anything new, but a reminder that sometimes the search for a place called home can seem like it’s perpetual.