Back around the time I came to Japan, there were tourism promotion posters that used "Exotic Japan" as a theme, and it was indeed an adventuresome place for me for the first two or three years. Then I began to get used to it, and it was just an interesting place. After twenty-two years though, it's just an ordinary place and other areas of the globe now seem much more exotic, including some of the places I lived in before coming here. I've been saying this same thing for several years now, but the same line of thinking hits me again every time I am in the position of showing a visitor something in Tokyo - this time a man from China, which calls for a different mindset than with people from the West.
Typically, tourists from Western countries are interested to one degree or another in seeing the old aspects of Japan - the old temples and whatnot - which often have their roots in old China (and the Akihabara electronics district - always Akihabara!). So, I'm sitting here tying to imagine what would be most interesting about Tokyo to a man from Shanghai (who I'm sure has already been to Akihabara), and I'm drawing a blank. Culturally and architecturally, Tokyo and Shanghai have much more in common than Tokyo and San Francisco/London/Amsterdam, etc. I guess I'll just have to make up a list of possibilities and give the guy a list of choices. With that in mind (in the order that they come to mind, not in the order of significance:
1) The ramparts near Yotsuya Station. All a matter of viewpoint whether this is interesting or just... just... something else:
2) The Tokyo Bay ferry that crosses... um... Tokyo Bay, from Kurihama to Kaneya. Personally I always find this interesting and always find myself wishing the trip was a little bit longer:
Well, there I go - getting warmed up to the idea of going out and seeing/doing something other than the usual sardine run into work! Yes! There is interest in this spot of the globe yet!
Now to get ready for yet another painful ride on the sardine runs to my awaiting work desk....
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon