BIG IN JAPAN.
You come out of Shinjuku Goen Mae station, bang in the heart of Tokyo. All around neon signs dance to a silent electronic beat. They twinkle and flash and advertise gadgets and drinks. Some announce restaurants, bars, discos and love hotels. You spot the odd gaijin. This means “foreigner” in Japanese. All around swims a shoal of busy people rushing to God knows where.
The sharply suited “salary men” running to a bar to grab a beer before they take the train home. A gaggle of giggling school girls in check dresses and white knee-length socks have their passport photos taken in a photo cubicle. A couple of long-haired teenage boys in outlandish velvet coats on top of glittery ensembles listen to an iPod, an earphone per head.
In the café right next to one exit, a couple of elegantly dressed moms sip their milk tea while showing their latest purchases, a slick Louis Vuitton purse and a Hermes scarf.
Taxis crawl by, white-gloved hands steering them through the thick, pulsating traffic that is Tokyo at dusk. Down the road, delicate spring blossom falls upon the lawns in the Shinjuku Goen Park. A deluge of customers goes in and out of shopping centres, wallets throbbing, tills jingling. At the entrances, employees bow and greet them, “irashaimase,” - welcome.
The city will eventually wind down. Come dawn, a few elderly men and women will stir, doing their Tai Chi movements in the open spaces, signaling a new day in the land of the rising sun.