Tokyo / Lingering Alone
the difference between seeing a place and being in a place
And there we were. Somewhere, deep in it. Two microscopic men in mankind’s most gargantuan sprawl. My friend had flown in with bags of valuable knowledge about Japanese culture, and all I had brought was cheap curiosity. Japanese people and culture, even the food, had only ever made the faintest appearance in my life. And I seldom read up on places before going. Somehow I like my explorations naive and unburdened by background information. There is a certain unbiased and unprejudiced freedom in that.
After I had fed off of my friend's insights and Ramen tips for two days, he was knocked out by the flu. But before he crawled under the sheets to hide out from the virus, he lent me a pair of long johns to save me from the same cold destiny. So I was back to my uncharted steps of discovery. Neon-lit night glare, hectic ant-crossings, and placid Japanese cherry gardens flecking the concrete carpet didn't make for surprises and confirmed the few cliché facts I had picked up over the years. Replicas of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower seemed oddly misplaced, on the other hand.