Pregnant six months and change, traveling with my adult baby and my three-year-old for close to seven hours from Singapore to Tokyo with heartburn and indigestion, I am welcomed by the refreshing musk and salty air of the Pacific Ocean, warm smiles & semi-bows, and repetitious greetings of “Domo Arigato,” (thank you.)
After gathering our luggage, I consumed my surroundings as we waited for clearance through Customs. Everyone was moving quietly in slow motion like the somber receiving line after a loved one’s burial; just soft murmurs under the breath. I kept thinking of traveling through any U.S. airport, but especially New York, & the contrast in the volume. Most everything about Americans is clamorous. This felt like we mistakenly walked into a museum.
We stepped into the tidy taxi that awaited us and I noticed the meter started at $7.30 USD & ended at $72.50 USD by the time we navigated through rush hour, an unusual occurrence our driver repeatedly apologized for and tried to explain as we arrived at our immaculate hotel. There would be no expense spared on this trip.
The first impression I have of Tokyo is one of sterility, perfectionism, kindness, and reticence, even in the architectural design. The monochromatic skyline was only varied by hues of beige and shades of gray. I’m looking forward to all of the other tones left to discover here.