Sunday, 14 July 2013

TWO DAYS IN TOKYO


Seki-san prepares Tempura
Well, it had to be done, as I had to get back. So flew on Monday landed Tuesday and got back on Thursday. But Tokyo never fails to fascinate. The long train ride out from the airport gently eases you into a city of 13 million people reminds of you of the brilliance of the Japanese railway systems with its staff dressed like a guardsman in the Grenadiers.

A tide of commuters
MY TRAIN SET: I look down from room 2816 and see Shinagawa Station all laid before me as if it was my own personal train set. Red trains, lines of green trains and blue come and go through Japan’s sixth busiest station. They were all set out and ready for me to play: Where did I put the handset?

TEMPURA discovered: Fighting off the fatigue from only four hours sleep and we went to the and was pleased to see create tempura, a wonderful way of 

cooking fresh fish and vegetables in hot oil  - a batter that is so light as to almost float away. We watch the owner of the restaurant IPPOH, Masaru Seki, prepare and cook bits and pieces that will soon be on our plates. We are advised by Seki-san as those those to dip into the sauce and others best eaten plain.

DRINKS at the 7–11 store: As much as I love the Zen-like quality of The Strings Intercontinental Hotel I am stingy about the mini-bar prices. So the discovery of a 7 - 11 store on the way back from the office is a blessing and I stock up with Asahi Beer and what I later find out to be the Japanese equivalent of Twiglets and vegetable chips. Back in my room I watch the sun set twenty-eight floors up towards Mount Fuji.

WHITE SHIRTS AT RUSH HOUR: The hotel and office are both a few moments away from the station and the district is intersected by a series of aerial walkways from one building or tower to another.  One walks on the left hand side of the pavement or risk serious collision. I pause on the way to our workshop in the morning and on the way back that evening, to watch this tide of commuters ebb and flow into the Station. This site is made all the more fascinating because all the men wear white shirts and dark trousers, which leads the whole chaos a delightful uniformity.




Looking down on Shinagawa Station




When back? Well who knows?