The mad rush after nine and a half hours of sitting on the floor before the gates of the train to leave Narita Airport ended yesterday afternoon about 1:30, and in a daze induced by lack of sleep, invasion of privacy, hopelessness, and hunger, we got on a crowded car and made our way through fields covered in light snow until we reached Ueno Station in Tokyo.
Tokyo never looked so good.
It truly is a miraculous city, in the literal sense, having been rebuilt twice within one hundred years, first after the great 1923 earthquake and later post the world war two bombings. Currently, its architecture both numbs and stimulates the senses, its modernity unparalleled in the ability to evoke desire, discontent, and hope all at the same time. You might say its buildings capture a part of the Japanese heart and soul.
The view from here on the 33rd floor of the Conrad is of the harbor and river, and no property in the city has a better point from which to see the start of commerce.
The lounge below of the hotel has lighting, drinks, and service that make it so that one feels content.
But we had to leave last night for food, which we found on a couple of subway rides. Yakitori, one of my favorite places, too, where my very estimable friend Shinji ordered fourteen sticks and draft beer and cups of cold sake from Kyoto, Hiroshima, and another region in the middle of the country. Simply the best chicken imaginable. Grilled in a light sauce and served, too, with beautiful vegetables with sprinkles of numbing peppers and crushed ginger and red pepper flakes? Perfection.