Yes, I’m finally in Japan, consummating my long-standing love affair with this country.
I had the fortune to arrive in Tokyo after sunset, meaning that my first glimpses of the city matched the romantic image of it I’ve had in my mind all this time – namely, columns of bright and flashing lights streaking into the night sky. It feels incredibly strange to be here at last, but it’s sinking in bit by bit. I’ve been here 5 hours and it’s already living up to expectations.
I ventured out to Roppongi (one of the more popular districts for nightlife in Tokyo) for supper, and spent the first 10 minutes after I exited the subway station staggering around gawping at the multi-coloured madness around me. Typical gaijin.* Much to my delight, both Roppongi and Shinjuku (like Roppongi but times 10) are on the same subway line as my hotel, only a few stops away.
The people here, as to be expected, are polite, helpful and respectful. It’s very refreshing after the stifling lack of etiquette and personal space in Beijing. I haven’t had much chance to practise my Japanese yet, as everyone I’ve come across speaks English, but my time will undoubtedly come.
Tomorrow I have a city tour, which finishes at 1pm in Ginza (shopping district), at which point I plan to run around frenetically throwing yen everywhere in a fit of consumerist ecstasy.
*A small language lesson – ‘gaijin’ is the Japanese word for foreigner, but when written in kanji it actually means ‘outside (gai) person (jin)’. However, this is a very literal translation, and what it really means is ‘barbarian’. Telling, no?
Eva (monkeyface): Don’t fret, I am currently still planning to return to England, if only to swat away the monkeys from your shoulder!