Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying. It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though! But after a couple of months of being back in England […]
Archive for May, 2007
I’m back in Okinawa now after a really good weekend in the big city of Tokyo. And I’m happy to report I didn’t get too lost (although my friend/guide had much to say about that!) and wasn’t too scared by the bright neon lights and flashing sounds. It was actually a really refreshing trip and a great way to recharge my batteries in the middle of this rather mammoth working stint. I got to see a few new things and take in a few new experiences, which is always good for the soul too. So without further adue, I will begin…
Flew out of school as soon as my classes finished and headed straight for the airport. I got into an immensely rainy Haneda Airport (complete cloud cover up until about 150m up) at 7:10pm and got straight onto the monorail into Hamamatsuchou (one of the many business districts in the capital). My friend was running a little late, so I arranged to meet her in Saitama, in the North West of Tokyo. While I was on the train, I realised how much the concept of distance has changed for me since I’ve been in Okinawa. The train ride was about 30-40 minutes, which is considered nothing around Tokyo. That, for me, can mean travelling almost half-way up the island if I go on the expressway, and it was strange to hear people saying that any journey of less than an hour is “short”. I suppose it’s like that in many big cities around the world though, and I’ve just got used to small land masses. Let’s face it, prior to Okinawa, a long route in Maldives would result in a 4 minute walk across my island rather than a 3 minute one!
I made it soon enough and met up with my friend. I was a little weary after travelling, so we went out for a quick dinner before heading back and relaxing for the rest of the evening. We were both pleased to wake up on Saturday morning to bright blue skies and literally no clouds visible. It was a beautiful day and would have been a waste to stay indoors, so we elected to head to one of my favourite haunts in Tokyo… Harajuku. Although Saturdays attract eccentric fashions much less than Sundays, there were still a fair few impressive looking folks out. Quite a few were looking warm in the 29C sunshine, but other still managed to keep a very cool looking exterior. As we walked from Harajuku up to the designer boutique area of Omotesando and back again, it occurred to me how many foreigners I noticed around me. The foreigners in Tokyo are also much different from the average (i.e. military foreigner) here in Okinawa. That’s not to say they’re better or worse in any way – just different. You see a much bigger range of foreigner in Tokyo. You get the “gap-year” looking students, the rich, self-proclaimed beautiful people walking around with their Prada shopping bags, the English teacher (getting more easy to spot these days), the foreign tourist to Tokyo (looking quite bemused and struggling to take in everything around them), just to mention a few.