My first visit at Tokyo left me with mixed feelings.
Everywhere I went, I saw a strange mix of the new and the old. It only shows that although the Japanese have adapted to some of the modern cultural trappings, they still live in the world of ingrained disciplined life and take pride in the rich heritage.
There is a generation gap too, but it is not as wide as you see in most of the other places. The younger in Tokyo have adapted to the new social life but are proud of their traditional cultural leanings.
This was quite evident when I got off the metro and saw the shopping area within the station premises. It was vast and ultra-modern; something like the biggest malls that you see anywhere. And yet, when I came out of the station and went to my friend’s place- a Japanese home, I witnessed the traditional ceremony of having tea together. It was a totally different world far from the one I saw at the station.
On the streets of Tokyo during my first day, as I walked towards the Asakusa Kannon Temple I came across many young men going about in business suits and yet at the temple, they were lighting incense sticks and tying the wish cards in the time-honored way of worshipping their gods
Compare this to the scene at my next destination, the well known Akihabara district- a famous Marketplace for electronic items. You get a bewildering assortment of all type of electronic items. The attitudes were different and it was mostly business that was being done without any traditional rituals!
Similarly, in the evening the view that I saw from the top of the Mori Tower at the Rapongi Hills, was that of a typical modern city dotted with skyscrapers.
Everything seems to be organized right from the entertainment to the way they carry out their business and all other activities.
Although Tokyo seems to be modern in many ways and has adopted a global identity, the attitudes of the people still remain conformist to a large extent, as they hold on to their traditions and values. Therefore, while you see people adhering to the avant-garde styles in the City Streets, not many appreciate when it comes to intruding their personal space.
The Japanese take pride and adhere to the rules very seriously. I would go on to an extent and say that this type of discipline life is ingrained in them. This helps in imparting a great sense of dignity in whatever work they do.
They have a sense of tidiness around them and their tastes that are sensual as well as aesthetic. You will find this reflected in the buildings, the streets, the airports, etc; wherever you go.
Tokyo’s “Must-dos” activities: Visit the Roppongi Hills tower and Asakusa Kannon temple. Also see the Mount Fuji, which is a day’s trip, watch kabuki performances, shop at Shibuya district, buy yourself a kimono, and of course -eat sushi!