Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oyasumi Tokyo.

We ended our adventure in Tokyo at the same place it began.

Because of some miscommunication and our own weary bodies, today ended up being our slowest day yet. Four of us girls ventured out at 12:30 to hit up one last clothing store (I have practiced the utmost willpower in this area the past few days but broke down when I came across an adorable $5 belt). Ginza, the neighborhood we were in, is just a five minute walk from our hotel and, like so much of this area of Tokyo, requires a lot of neck-craning to take in full views of buildings. We fed off the energy of the flowing foot traffic and busy car engines, keeping a steady pace and commenting on the adorable outfits every single Japanese woman seems to possess. I will always be amazed at how far those women are willing to walk in high heels.

At dinnertime we navigated ourselves along the above-ground transit line known as the JR line to get to Shibuya. The Shibuya Crossing is famous because it is a crazy intersection with crisscrossing walkways that all turn green simultaneously. Cars stop and the street is flooded with people. Three friends and I joined the flow but with people coming from the opposite direction it was amazing that we were able to find each other on the other side.

We saw two sides of the area of Shibuya and over our dinner of udon noodles and tempura discussed which area we could picture ourselves living in. The side we saw when stepping of the JR almost reminded us of Europe. It was quieter, there were back alleys and steep hills. The roads had patterns to them, reminding me of cobblestone, and there were even some pubs around.

Above the roofs of the pubs rose Shibuya`s central skyscrapers, and it was easy enough to find our way there toward the udon noodle shop we were craving. The transition from one neighborhood to another was startling. All of a sudden we were ambushed by neon lights and giant images of Cameron Diaz`s face advertising for Soft Bank.

This is what we all expected Tokyo to be like.

I am glad to have discovered every square foot is not so big, flashy, and frenzied.

Shibuya is energizing and stimulating, but I could only handle that sort of thing for so long. We are staying in Shiodome, which is still a central part of Tokyo, but mixed in with all the skyscrapers are peaceful pockets of foliage, and the architecture is so well done that I do not hesitate to call all this glass and steel beautiful.

As I said, we ended up right where we started.

After letting the sardine packed JR cars empty out so we could get a spot inside, we rode back to our hotel. It just so happened that we arrived at 7:45, fifteen minutes before Miyazaki`s enchanting clock was set to bring in the hour (it only comes to life five times a day). Our first day here, on July 3rd, we had all gathered as a group to see the giant clock play out its magic, and it was so fun to stand there in the darkness, leaning against the glass railing and feel like we had grown older and wiser with all that we had experienced in the last five days, as quirky little characters clanged away a playful rhythm.

Oyasumi Tokyo. Good night big beautiful city.

1 comment:

GrantJM said...

Amazing clock! Something to visit at night when you can't sleep... glad to hear you're having some good times.