What country is full of young people drowned in work, awash in money, obsessed with fashion, equipped with the hottest mobile gadgets, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, sugar and fried foods, and displaying a relentless penchants with all things cute?
The United States? No, actually, Japan.
Nippon Air Flight 723, departing from Beijing, touched down at Narita Airport on the outskirts of Tokyo. As the plane came to a standstill on the tarmac, Erick and I gathered our things ready to sample exquisite sushi, sip fine sake, nap in quaint Japanese inns, tip toe through delicate temple gardens and bow softly to passing geishas—boy, oh, boy, were we in for quite the case of outdated-stereotype shock!
Tokyo is a pulsating and bubbling cauldron of millions of obsessive Japanese preoccupied with the glowing objects of modernity, the city ablaze in radiant neon, speeding trains, shimmering towers, and the occasional glowing lantern—the whole scene awash in modern progress that is not content with bowing to anyone. Leave your images of anything quaint behind, cause baby, this is Tokyo. Temple crawls (complete with sake chasers), tube hotels, all you can drink specials (the infamous 飲み放題 “no mi ho dai”), Japanese saunas, door-to-door love hotel searches, and fish semen. That, in a sentence, sums up our time in Tokyo.
For more explanation, you’ll have to keep up with the next few posts as I begin to share our adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Domo arigato. Welcome to Japan.