Tokyo Travel Guide - SMILING TOKYO
Japan’s capital charms visitors with its crowded but orderly streets, dizzy high-rises and colorful culture.

Four days is not enough time to explore a city as large as Tokyo. While my stay was too brief it provided a great introduction to one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

Upon setting foot in Tokyo I was struck by the rows of conical trees on both sides of the streets and the tree-covered hills, as well as the dizzy skyscrapers and the worlds most advanced subway system. Everything was neat and state-of-the-art. The people walk quickly and eat as they walk as though racing against time.

Superficially, Tokyoites seems like wind-up robots governed by tight schedules. I recount a memory, both funny and embarrassing of a companion who ordered a ticket to visit Fuji Mount. The tour guide told us to meet at four o' clock for our return journey. Having done some sightseeing, taken photos and enjoyed some eggs of longevity, this man was five minutes late. He rushed to the meeting place only to realize that our group had already left. The terrified man managed to return to Tokyo alone. Is this punctuality the reason for Japan's giant leap during the Meiji Era or its miraculous success after the Second World War?

When it comes to Tokyo, we may think of flashing express trains, polite men in black suits carrying briefcases, and legions of poker-faced pedestrians flooding the streets like zombies. However, my weekend experiences totally changed my views. From high rises, express trains and residential areas, people from every corner of the city occupied the streets like ants to enjoy their private lives.

Their steps were no longer fixed and their faces no longer bleak. They laughed shopped ate and played. Japanese girls with porcelain complexions dressed in stylish miniskirts and high boots. It seemed that they had waited so long for the weekend gather date and makes the weekend to gather, date and make the most of their vibrant lives.

Having enjoyed a delicious bowl of ramen, I walked to Shinjuku, long regarded as the most hectic quarter of Tokyo. Apart from jungles of modern high rises and a huge network of subway routes, Shinjuku, takes pride in its City Hall. The City Hall is a favourite destination for visitors who ascend to the top floor for panoramic views of the city. When visiting Shinjuku I was sorry not to have time to stop in the many small taverns. Some of these places had just enough room for two tables. In such crowded quarters, customers feel cozy. Total strangers grow close.

If you like to sing, you can bring your guitar and sing your favourite songs, from romantic pop ballads to Japanese folk songs.

Tokyo is a city of parks! These open spaces feature a wide variety of bonsais or straight rows of pine trees that display cultural characteristics of the Japanese Ueno Hybia, Koshikawa and Korakuen are vast where spaces people of all ages stop and rest. I was surprised that this modern city had many homeless people who lay strewn around in public places. In the morning when the sun peeped out and people were rushing to work, these aimless wretches lay buried in blankets slumbering in the city's park.

My week-long trip to Tokyo seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. As I travelled to Nezu station the rain poured down and strong winds blew.

Everyone took shelter underground. Here, in this underground world, I heard the pounding footsteps and laughter of passers-by and saw the loving eyes of love-struck couples. These experiences and memories will stay with me. Tokyo will stay in my heart, forever!

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