My preconceived view of Tokyo is one of hustle and bustle all the time, everywhere. Taito proved to me immediately that this view was partially false, however this idea was formed somewhere… Shinjuku, clearly my preconception was influenced by Shinjuku. A place that must be barely comprehensible to anyone visiting for the 1st time, even if the signs were 100% legible, Shinjuku is to me the most hectic combination of malls, train lines and crowds I could imagine. Shinjuku is the uber confusing Japan I was expecting, the bright lights and an extraordinary volume of pedestrian traffic. Above ground there are shopping centres that link underground within the cavernous pedestrian network that feeds the train lines.
If I had just come to Shinjuku to take in the view from the Tokyo municipal building and to leave, that would have been fine, I could have understood the navigation, it way was very well sign posted. Yet a new place is always worth exploring, I’d love to say that in spite of the hectic-ness of Shinjuku I dominated the exploring and had a great time uncovering some cool stuff in the area. The truth is so different, I cracked, mentally crawled into a ball and rocked myself in the corner. I’m not proud to say I was overwhelmed by a station area that handles over 3 million people a day, and made a hasty retreat. I will try again!
At least I made it to the Tokyo municipal building before I melted and I got to enjoy the stupendous view. From the top of the Tokyo municipal building the city seems to go on for ever, from each window there is a similar scene, after dark the twinkling city lights reach the horizon, in every direction, it was a bit hazy around dusk so I couldn’t make out the mountains or the sea. I didn’t stay in the viewing room for long, in spite of the cracking free view, it was stiflingly hot up there and had an odour, a bit like a clean portapotty and a dirty deep fryer combined that made me feel ill.