The trip has been incredible so far. For me to include everything that has happened would be impossible, and seeing as others have already talked about the different districts that we’ve been to (Shibuya, Roppongi, Akihabara, etc.), I’ll give my take on the unique things I’ve noticed about this city.
This city is immaculate. Everything is extremely efficient, clean, and convenient. The first two days it rained profusely, and the first morning it didn’t, I woke up and looked out my window to see a man cleaning up every leaf and petal that had been knocked to the ground by the wind. The subway/Metro system is incredible. It’s never late and is so vast, having a car seems entirely unnecessary. Fortunately we have not been on it at a time of day that necessitated the security having to push people into the cars like sardines.
First off, the greater Tokyo area is massive. There’s literally no end to it. No matter what floor of the skyscrapers I’ve been to, the horizon seems to curve before I can find where the metropolis ends. Yet it’s not a concrete jungle; on the contrary it’s quite easy on the eyes. There’s green everywhere in the form of trees lining the streets, random parks dispersed among the streets and on top of buildings, and vines and bushes in almost every available spot. I’ve never felt far from nature here even though I’m surrounded by huge metal structures. The fact that there are huge rivers running through the city in certain spots helps that feeling. Speaking of the buildings, the architecture here is so unique and attractive, partly as a result of the lack of space and creative response to it. From the street, entrances to buildings can come in the form of traditional sliding wood doors or claustrophobic stairwells to basements.
Another contrast similar to the green and grey of the city has been the old culture among the new. Squished between the beautiful towers and offices are quaint restaurants and shops that sell traditional items and food. We’ve visited multiple temples in Tokyo and an old-school market in the heart of the city and oddly, they don’t seem out of place.