Tokyo Sushi!

There is an immediate change in the air in Tokyo – brighter, more effervescent. My own energy was imnmediately released. More westernized sophisticates at the airport.

What a vast urban ‘scape – a nearly two-hour ride from the airport to the center through an endless, tightly woven concrete jungle. The familiar names – Seiko, Toyota, Fuji – in their native habitat. The strangest architecture is usually on the seashore, and no exception here – as we pass by the harbor, strange shapes line the water; fabulous bridges, gherkin buildings – no time to find out what.

Now, NY and LA et al. are vast urbanity as well, so what makes this different? The amount of cement, for one thing, the desnity, for another, and the feeling that it is liable to pop up anywhere. NY has the density of Manhattan, pushing up skyscrapers like flowers, and it melts off into the communities of Brooklyn and Queens, and the bombed out wasteland of the Bronx. LA concentrates in downtown and Century City, but otherwise blouses cheerily down the freeways. Tokyo – at my first glance – seems unrelenting – the high buildings can be anyhere. Clean, efficient, and utterly endless.

The hotel room – no CNN, tiny by comparison with the Taichung room, but large in comparison to what I’ve heard about in Tokyo – let’s just say you can reach everything from the robotic commode so complicated and full of buttons that it seems capable of far more than dealing with my bodily waste – affords internet access for this post, but no email. My phone doesn’t work here either, so it’s all up for grabs for a few days. A higher quality tinkling music – Pachelbel’s Canon, already enslaved by New Ager’s, is tortured anew on an electric something in the elevator.

Here’s what i have found out about sushi in my first meal: you can eat it with your fingers or the chopsticks; it doesn’t come with wasabi (let alone mountains of wasabi), the salad has corn and cheese (?), and my hosts ignore my saki cup for so long I am forced to fill it myself. But, mm-mm, it was go-od.


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