January 22, 2013

Season of the Sakura

According to South Korean government regulations I could only apply for my work visa from another country, so I found myself in Japan. I spent a few days in Tokyo waiting for the South Korean authorities to process my visa application. It was a rather delightful inconvenience to have, providing me the opportunity to explore the world's largest metropolitan area.

The Japanese are extremely well mannered, or at least act the part with great authenticity. At the visa application centre, a Japanese beauty entered the elevator after me on the way up to the office. When we reached our desired floor, she stood to one side and let me exit before her. The tension that would have otherwise existed between us if she had leapfrogged me in the application queue never materialized. She had followed the First In First Out (FIFO) principle with grace and dignity.

With my application submitted, I had several days to see the sights in Tokyo while awaiting official recognition of my expert status in South Korea. Near to my hotel in Shiodome were the historic gardens of Hamarikyu Teien and the Tsukiji Fish Market. As cherry blossom season was winding down, I visited the park first to see the sakura in full bloom.

I walked at a swift, but not strenuous pace, till I reached the shopping hub of Ginza. I passed a capsule hotel on the way. The capsules provide a night's sleep for weary souls in tiny compartments that share more similarities to a washing machine than to a room. As darkness approached, the Tokyo lights began to shimmer. I went up to the top of Tokyo Metropolitan Government in Shinjuku to properly assess the scale of the vast city from its highest viewing platform.

For dinner that night, I feasted upon a raw meal at a superb sushi bar. In Vancouver there are a lot of all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants, but this was Tokyo. The à la carte approach found here was dangerous, as I quickly gobbled up dozens of pieces of sushi and was hit with a bill much larger than my sizable appetite.


Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon. Experience the beauties of nature, and in doing so learn about yourself. ~ Japanese proverb