Monday, 24 January 2011


The Emperor's back yard

Like most of us, I presume, one tends to have some idea of what Tokyo is like before one arrives. Whether these notions are true or not really depends on the amount of research one has done beforehand or whether one is basing one's ideas entirely on hearsay, on people they met at school when they were 13, Manga movies about football on Spanish TV and rumors about vending machines with dirty underwear in them. I fall into the last category.

I spent years with Japanese schoolmates who had CD players before we had Walkmen (remember the Walkman?), who ate seaweed while we were eating pretzels and who beat everyone at maths with their brains shut. Needless to say, I arrived in Tokyo with bated breath.

Yet, rather than arriving into "back the future", I felt like I was arriving home. The cobbled streets, the clear blue skies and the tiny little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shops all felt distinctly European, and rather un-Asian.

Somewhere in Tokyo with large screens and a square. Rabbit-head is yours truly.

The modern architecture interspersed with old fashioned buildings were, well, a little Catalan?

Street in Ginza next to Joel Rubichon, where one can eat the most expensive savory crepe on earth ever.

That said, there is a whole other side of Tokyo which is the farthest thing from Europe that you could ever imagine. Blonde wigs, fake eyelashes, the shortest skirts on earth, love hotels (yes, by the hour, yes in the busiest of high streets), S&M outfits and glam boy bands that would make Jem wince.

Oh.. sorry.

Of course, the food was to die for, and I almost skidded off the treadill today trying to work off the 6 meals a day I enjoyed there.

But, why would you have waiters take your orders when you can use a slot machine?

Santa's workshop disguised as a French bakery

We will be back! And the warm toilet seats will not be forgotten.


  1. It's rather cold here these days. I think I wouldn't object to heated toilet seats.

  2. Sydney's had 7 days in a row of almost 40deg temperatures and humidity in the high 80s. I'd happily take all that snow to ice over the toilet seats before use!