[Ma lettre d'amour à Tokyo!]
In normal times I tend to flee from everything like concrete-built towns, huge crowds and neon lights. But Tokyo...yes, Tokyo, yes !
Not if you resist her. Not if what you’re looking for is to fill your travel with a set number of whether real or fancied compulsory visits. Not if you try to see as much as possible within a few days. Not if what you dream of is coherence, well-prepared itineraries and big programmes, then definitely no, Tokyo, no. Tokyo will wear you out and knock you down as you'll barely begin to sense her mystery. But if you let her do the work, if you can stop and wait for her, if you allow her carrying you away, then yes, Tokyo, yes !
I like everything and nothing in particular in Tokyo, her facets, excessivness and gigantism, all her tentacles, lights and noises. Tokyo is a dancing city, a beating city, a choreographer. You've got to take her pulse and follow her beat, watch her dance and dance with her.
She may make anything of me and I ask for more. Squash me under boundless glass and concrete skyscrapers. Move me under the pompom blossoms of a cherry tree blooming later than its already withered neighbours. Spin me like a washing machine in the temple’s crowds. Make me feel like a clueless mole turning with no direction inside the Tokyo Station. Bash my eyes with neon signs and flashy colours. Swallow me in swirls of black suited businessmen.
There’s something in Tokyo that makes me forgive her everything. Her inhumane scale, her reckless consumerism, her troublesome contrasts. I take everything, I soak everything up. Tokyo can make anything of me and I want to make everything there. I want to laugh and cry and feel dizzy. I want to drink sake with strangers til the wee hours of the morning. Cover my feet with fishy fluids wandering around Tsukiji market, buy dried fugu and touristy souvenirs, daze myself in the pachinkos and amusement arcades, eat in caffs and in grand hotels, go up, go down, look out for Fuji-San, be at the very top and at the very bottom, spend my life in the underground and the elevators, sleep with the tramps under the bridges of the Sumida, feel attracted by the junk geishas and their shrill kimonos. Flirt with a pink haired cosplayed heroine or with a worn out, dull faced salaryman.
Tokyo is the mad beats of a big-hearted robot, it’s an anthill, it’s crude light and heavy noise, it’s a never sleeping monster. She takes you, embraces you and stirs you up and down before dumping you after a few days.
And you can take no more, you ask for mercy, you take the first train for Kamakura where you throw yourself in the first temple that you come across with to see something else, soothe your heart rate, retrieve some spirituality and breeze an air that dwells birds.
Or you sit on the banks of the Sumida and wants to do nothing, you don’t want to move or visit anything anymore, just listen to the crazy noises of 13 millions of humans teeming with activity around you on this urban isle. Listen and look and feel and be surprised by the harmony you discover in the motorway interchanges, the railway bridges, the traffic jam and the ballet of people reaching their cruising speed on the world’s busiest crossroad.
Tokyo is for me like loving at first sight the person who’s nothing like you, the one that seems your exact opposite, the one with whom you have so few common values that you doubt the existence of a language in which you could speak to one another and maybe there’s none, the one you keep on leaving but to which you can’t help going back again and again. Living a life together would not be an option but dancing yes, making love yes, so yes Tokyo, yes, you keep on and on going there, heading back there and marrying her again and again for a few days, a few nights, a few weeks’ honeymoon. Until next time.