Swirling, twirling, curling lights. Clashing, thrashing, bashing sounds. Stomping, romping, clomping people. Laughing, smiling, frowning faces. Dizzying, flowering, screeching streets. Towering, soaring, looming buildings…
Such is how I imagined Tokyo; like an Asian New York city. When I arrived in the Narita airport at 6:30pm I was too excited to stop. With the time difference it felt like 2am but the night was only beginning. Fortunately the airport had staff that spoke a bit of English, but I very much had to find the right people to talk to. Using buses to cross between terminals, I found somewhere to stow my bag overnight. I then hopped onto the train with my backpack and ski boots feeling a little tall for the trains.
Figuring out the train systems was a bit of a puzzle. I stared blankly at the different maps and signage. It made little sense to me; crisscrossing tracks and ticket booth systems that I had never seen before were throwing my brain in loops. Fortunately the odd Japanese person capable of speaking a little “eigo” was nice enough to help me, the dumb looking blond guy with ski boots standing a foot taller than the crowd. I rode on various trains to various locations throughout the night. I got used to the process but on multiple occasions I had to seek help.
The train system is incredible and the stations massive. I got lost on multiple occasions in the massive labyrinths of underground passages under the city streets. Everything was incredibly clean other than the odd drunken guy lying on his back in a corner belting out songs in Japanese.
I wandered alone randomly and found incredible roof gardens in the metropolitan area of Tokyo overlooking the busy streets and lit up buildings. I wandered in the “nightlife” area of Tokyo known as Rappongi with Nigerian guys constantly asking me to join them at their club that night. Japanese girls walked around the street in short skirts, platform heels with hair often died a reddish brown. The Japanese guys walking down the streets often had coifed hair or something elaborately sculpted.
I was happy wandering the streets and sitting at the intersection watching the hordes of people moving in all directions. By the time I got back to the airport at 3 in the morning, I had spent an all-nighter in the big city of 13 million considering it was then 10am in Vancouver.
The dazzling, buzzing, spinning city of Tokyo did not disappoint.
The next morning at 7am, I boarded a flight to the northernmost island of Hokkaido for the next leg of the Japan adventure.