Tokyo – so what?

Tokyo, I do have a question.

A street crossing in Shinjuku with lots of people

Shinjuku’s humming

Tokyo, what makes you so luring?

Stacked motorways in Tokyo Roppongi

Roppongi – city limits

Tokyo, stacked streets are winding endlessly through buildings.

On the hunt for the TV tower in Roppongi

Roppongi – still, has anybody seen the TV tower – signpost of every city?

Tokyo, buildings just cluttered around, placed somewhere by incident without emanating a clear plan or goal.

The Tokyo TV tower - before - a little toy around the corner. Afterwards, in its full glamour.

Tokyo TV tower, is it you? Got you after minutes.

Tokyo, where do you hide the TV tower?

A little traditional red house in Tokyo in the midst of a cozy park

Hours later, a little cozy park in Tokyo.

Tokyo, where is your civics?
You know, these little nice areas where you can rest and lock out all the hustle and bustle.
Are you like Hongkong?

Tokyo, so what’s on offer today?

The ubiquitious display of food and delicatessen - ice cream at the Tokyo TV Tower

An invitation to pleasure – ice cream at the Tokyo TV Tower

Whenever I look at you, you offer me something to buy.

A stand selling white flowers for Michael Jackson to be placed at a little altar in front of the TV tower.

A ceremony for a star at the TV tower: ‘who is it’?

Tokyo, you even offer me to buy flowers for a bygone star.

And not to forget your ubiquitous vending machines offering me some liquid milligrams of something.

Canned coffee

Canned coffee – you can see it everywhere, even close to working coffee machines

In all honesty, never buy this canned coffee stuff, it’s taste is, errm, awful … for a committed coffee drinker.

And suddenly it struck me: Tokyo, you emerged and exploded in the 70’s and 80’s. Since then people have come to look into your face, the face of the Japanese industrialization and modernisation. The miracle of skyrocketing growth and the centre of Kaizen and Kanban. You could not stop and count 23 wards (?), totalling 12 million inhabitants and 2,200 square kilometres. You grew too fast in the rush of manufacturing expansion and perhaps W. Edwards Deming – the father of Japan’s outstanding quality management – should have taught your inhabitant’s how to apply his renown “Plan-Do-Act-Check” cycle to city planning since it could improve your living quality.

Tokyo, you are a good city, no doubt, but something is missing. Your face is still well maintained but most of carries the wilted shine of bygone days of glory.

Priority seats in the tokyo metro as they look today - maintained but worn out and depreciated.

Maintained but just a shadow of the good old days – Tokyo metro. (Photo by Wikipedia)

But Tokyo, what’s behind all your advertising walls and apparent technology fondness?
What are you waiting for? What’s the next big thing?

Or does change come only from the top?
How would its outpost look then?

Tokyo, so what?


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