At around 3 or 4 in the afternoon yesterday, I was on a ferry somewhere in the waters between Japan and Korea. I checked my cellphone to see what time it was. It said it was 9:42 a.m. on February the 25th.
I was confused and wondered what year it was. It turns out the year was 2042. Here is a picture.
This morning it seems to be the first day of February in 2011. Tomorrow being Groundhog Day, and the day after that being New Year's--if you believe in that sort of thing.
I am typing this in bed. It is cold outside and the tea is warm.
The last ten days I was in Japan. Six days in Tokyo and four days split among Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.
Today, I will tell you about Tokyo.
It is place I have wanted to visit for a long time.
From the age of 14 to 22 or so, I spent a lot of time watching a lot of anime. Not as much as some, more than others. Sci-Fi channel, back when it was called such, used to show an anime movie or two around midnight on the weekends. Most of these I don't remember. Some of them had scary trees. Almost all of them featured a Tokyo of monsters, blood, robots, and girls who never had on what seemed a practical arrangement, or amount, of clothing.
As time went on I discovered things like Cowboy Bebop and Akira and Evangelion. I discovered Miyazaki and Ghibli.
I also watched Kill Bill and Lost in Translation.
Tokyo was the place that made these things--or, at least, made them possible.
So, when I say that Tokyo is more than I had imagined--please keep in my mind that I put a lot of time and effort into imagining it. I dreamed of flying trains and funky hair, of precisely sculpted trees and living sex dolls. I wanted to believe that friendly demons walked the streets and quiet, lovely temples with fox spirits really did give one a welcome respite from the hustle and robots of the modern day life.
And, well, here are some pictures of the real thing. You can decide which parts I imagined.