Going on a Tokyo trip will reveal to you just how well-oiled the Japanese megalopolis moves with an energy that is borderline manic and with an obsession for innovation and new that seems to make any idea obsolete as soon as one writes it on a piece of cyber-paper. Fashion trends appear and fade away as soon as clothes are plucked from their hangers and when it comes to keitai – mobile phones – these are traded up on a constant loop for latest tech advancement as soon as it hits the mass market.
However, despite the throngs of tech-savvy and smartly styled Tokyoites slog through subway stations, there’s also a traditional side to this incredibly hyperurban cosmopolis, a facet of the city that is not immediately evident.
Behind the insane amount of consumption that can be found in its shopping districts and shiny facades of the latest architectural achievements, Tokyo throws in some unexpected glimpses of its solid cultural core. For instance, at a Shinto shrine a young man purchases a fortune and after reads it, ties it to a strung frame whose many paper fortunes rustle like leaves in the breeze.
Then in a neighborhood sento – public bath – in Asakusa you’ll find an old woman bathing with her tiny granddaughter, just as she once did with her own grandmother.
It is quite possible that the city’s unique vitality actually is a result of its intertwining of the new with time-honored old.
Tokyo is as much the wellspring of Japanese pop culture while at the same time is where the patrilineage of its imperial family is still a tightly held institution. This is where Japanese non-conformists flock to but it is also the place where individuality is linked to an older form of small-group identity.
We’ll talk more about Tokyo, and Japan in general, in future articles, but till then consider some Japan car hire services for when you get there.