Regretfully we left behind Osaka, a fabulous city that is up day and night, where the map in hand someone doesn’t find the 173-meter high building because of other tower blocks that are all over, where we first reached the land of Japan and where we met the history in perfect symbiosis with modernism. The next destination? The world technology and innovation engine – Tokyo. The distance between the two major cities is 500 km, but with Shinkansen – the high-speed train – we have reached the world’s largest city in exactly 2 hours and 23 minutes.
Although all the means of transport in Japan are running according to the hourly schedule, we arrived at the station earlier, because it is an adventure to get from the subway lines to the surface of the train. Even if the time is very generous and you see that you still have 45 minutes to get the train, you get to the busy train, after a teleguided slalom between in black suits, escalators and staring at shoe displays (I still think about blue shoes which I didn’t have time to buy and which I saw somewhere underground, running to the train). They were splendid!!!
Just as I took a deep breath being sure to arrive in Tokyo as planned, Shinkansen arrived, and we were getting ready to climb. We stopped in time because, being end of the line, the wagons had to be cleaned. Cleaned Why?!?! Because they were already impeccably clean. However, in 7 minutes I saw the whole process. The specialized teams are waiting for the passengers to descend, then one person deals with a wagon that has 100 seats. It is incredible how dexterous they move, with a precision similar to that of robots they wash the floor, gather the debris, wipe the dust and turn the seats automatically towards the direction of walking.
I left Osaka and I admired the beauties of Japan on the glass as much as it could at very high speed. We crossed many “small towns”, in some we stopped, others just we passed by, but I couldn’t but note that all could be considered capitals. We have seen and admired the Japanese people not only to develop large and important cities, but each city itself has skyscrapers, huge shopping malls, impeccable cleanliness, well-groomed trees, chic homes and amazing gardens.
I was ready to find Tokyo as an unreal city, but the reality went beyond my imagination or the scenes watched on TV and YouTube. I’ve been overtaken and in the face of reality of the city’s 35 million-inhabitant, I felt a “human baby fallen from the Upper Paleolithic”.
We have descended to Tokyo Station, a true underground city where you can find everything you need, with restaurants, kindergartens, banks for those who are out of money, 2 malls, and where the Emperor has his own entrance. The dimensions of this station are huge and everything looks very confusing at first sight, though things are simple, because everywhere there are indications to escape from that whirlwind. But the speed at which everything happens, aggitates you and you don’t know where to go, especially as there are 23 platforms. In all this aggitation, my husband was ironic with me, knowing that in such locations only he could guide me and told me that I could come to a holiday here alone. After two days of moving around in the central station, I would abandon the idea of looking for an exit and I would go back home. I’m thinking seriously about this.
Me waiting for the emperor at his entrance from the central station:
However, I would have to write here for hours, but I will go through the adventure faster and tell you that we stayed in Villa Fontaine Ueno, a beautiful and confortabile hotel the Ueno Park area and although we knew we werent in the center, the impression was that we were in the heart of the city. And I had the same sensation in every area I visited.
In the afternoon I walked around the hotel, a little by the Ueno Park, but it started to get dark and I didn’t linger too much. We quickly found Hard Rock Cafe and we went in for a drink and buy the guitar key ring as we do in every city we set foot for the first time.
The next morning we were planning to visit the imperial gardens. We did not succeed because the Emperor went out for a ride, and if Hig Highness rinsed his eyes with the beauties of nature, then no other mortal man could do that the same day. Well, what power do we have? He’s the Emperor … we took some pictures out of the realm of the kingdom and we went to see other places.
I have surprised this combination of old and new: on one side of the river is the kingdom and on the other proudly rules the city of Tokyo.
Then we left feet hurting toward a very beautiful Buddhist temple, Senso-ji. In the subway, an old Japanese lady made me fall in love with her:
The road from the subway to the temple revealed other beauties of the city.
Once in the Asakusa neighborhood, it was easy enough to find the Senso-ji temple, because the building was seen from afar.
Though our feet almost kept us immobilized, we went further, and wherever we got we felt we were still in the center, imposing buildings, alongside a carousel and a water slide, a superb terrace near which stood a scene where it could hold everyone’s performances, while on the right a dance fountain, where I saw a very beautiful rainbow.
We gathered our forces and headed for the Tokyo Government, a 242-meter high building, where we climbed to have a panorama of the city. The climbing up there has cut our breath away: buildings very tall next to each other, no attempt to take pictures didn’t succeed the way I’d have wanted. That’s what part of Tokyo looks like. Superb!
All this time, I was experiencing another reality; real life confused with phantasmagoric one. At the sight of the Government building, under which we passed so that we could reach a passage for access inside, I told my husband that I saw that place as a runway where very shortly flying cars would take off and land. It was very strange; I couldn’t think of anything in the past, my imagination was crunching the future … as I thought it would look like. No personal picture can render reality, and I apologize for that, but I couldn’t do more. I found, however, a nice photo on the internet; it seems that other people are very talented…
The city at our feet was fantastic.
I got up again with my feet on the ground and, with great difficulty, I convinced my husband, who was exhausted, to see the last sightseeing set for that day: Tokyo Tower. Named by some people the Eiffel Tower, it is the almost faithful copy of the famous Paris tower, but it exceeds it by 13 meters. Seen from a distance it seems an ordinary tower, nothing spectacular, but as you approach it, things are changing. At the base of the tower there are many restaurants, shops and a real shopping mall. And because we were hungry, we chose a cute restaurant and ate.
As soon as we left the subway, the phones started to ring out: grandchildren, cousins, parents-in-law; the whole family. I panicked because it’ true that they call us when they’re going to ask us how we are, but at this time … and all of them??? There had been an earthquake in Japan, but it hasn’t been felt in Tokyo. Anyway, scared by the earthquakes that occur everyday in Japan, I felt an earthquake even when the wind was blowing. Not this time!
Until next time, I will leave you with the promise that the next article will be about how I spent my day… uniquely.