Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Sep 06 2014

Tokyo ’14 part 7

I needed something to lift me out of yesterday’s doldrums, so I took the subway to Asakusa and bought a one-way river cruise ticket. Sure enough, once we cast off and were plying the Sumida, my spirits rose. Canals, apartment buildings, offices, bridges, all slid past. Even the weather improved; it had been cloudy, but when we finally docked at Hinode pier, the sun was out in a brilliant blue sky. I spent a few minutes photographing the riveting of the old airstream parked there while passengers lined up for a dinner cruise next door, and then set off inland to the World Trade Center building that I visited years ago. This time, instead of going up to the observation deck, I wandered around the streets I’d photographed back then, as I’d wished to do, and indeed have surrepticiously done via Google street view while in the office from time to time. I was happy again by this point, almost giddy even, or at least as giddy as I am capable of being. It was lunchtime and the bright sidewalks were crowded with office workers, the bright sun causing their white dress shirts to shine and glow. I walked through a hulking black shrine complex to Tokyo Tower, which I’d never been up before. So I bought a ticket to the top platform to have a look around.

It occurred to me that Tokyo is at its most wonderful when I am not trying to accomplish anything, not having meetings or bringing things here or there. It’s a society that for the most part leaves me to my own devices, while providing a certain amount of impersonally convenient infrastructure for the loner. I also get the feeling of being a solid outsider, increasing my isolation in a way I don’t experience in many other countries. It’s a great place to think and wonder and wander for that very reason.

After the tower I walked to Roppongi, recalling the last time I strode up the balconies of the Mori Tower it was snowing there. The light was reflecting off the office towers  into the streets as I returned to Tokyo Tower via another route, past a high school  where kids were shouting and hitting baseballs against the netting.

Louis had told me about a particularly interesting bookstore called the Komiyama, near Jimbocho Station. They had many lovely photobooks. Unfortunately, they also closed at seven, so I was out on the streets again in far too short an order. I was about to have some gorilla curry when Louis called and invited me for sushi in Tsukiji. We met in front of the Hongan Shrine, and walked past a few restaurants, one featuring a man playing a Japanese flute for the customers sitting on the sidewalk, before finding a place to eat. It was quite good, and dessert was had at a Denny’s just across the river. I hadn’t been to a Denny’s in decades.

So now I’m back at my hotel. Tomorrow I’m flying back to Taipei, to start my regular life again. But for now, I’m still living in my little fantasy vacationland, so I’m not going to dwell on those depressing details just yet.

posted by Poagao at 12:26 am  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment