As I wearily stepped off a plane in which I’d been sandwiched between the two fattest Germans since Goering for ten chuckle-filled hours, my first sight outside the airport was the smiling visage of Web Directions organizer and all-round nice guy John Allsopp, who assisted me on the 70kms journey to my posh Ginza hotel.
Like two years ago when I travelled to Jakarta for the first time, I was weirded out by how familiar it felt: the elevated roads, skyscrapers and purposeful crowds reminded me of the four years in spent in Bangkok.
Just like two years ago, it was extra-strange when I realized that I had no language. I’m fluent in Thai, so it’s immensely frustrating not to be able to speak to people here.
Of course, after the superficial feeling of familiarity, the differences became apparent. The streets aren’t full of pot holes. The food is very different. There are ten bajilion vending machines where n Thailand there would be noodle vendors. The toilet in my hotel has more controls than the bridge of the starship enterprise. It’s not all different though: the women are, like Thai and Indonesian women, jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
The Japan-resident HTML5 Doctor, Oli, picked me up and we rode a pleasantly non-crowded train to Satoshi’s house, where I’m drinking a very welcome cold Kirin beer before dinner and writing this on John’s iPad.
I’ve wanted to visit Tokyo for twenty years and now I’m finally here. Yay!