It's pretty amazing how every sliver of space is put to use in this city. We were walking around in the Akihabara district and I notice a line of shops was built into and under an overpass and bridge. The bridge supports formed the main walls of the buildings. Also, every alley way, no matter how narrow or winding, had shops and signs just like the main streets. The taxi driver that Aiko hired for us took a couple short cuts through some of these back alleys as he drove us around the city. I'm sure he did it to avoid heavy traffic on the main streets, but both Angie and I were glad he did so we could see a little more of what city life is like here in Tokyo.
I posted earlier that while it was hot and humid, it wasn't oppressively so. Wrong. It was crazy hot yesterday and felt like a sauna at times. Everyone had small hand towels or handkerchiefs to keep the sweat at bay. Hopefully today will be a little more comfortable. On the other hand, we know Beijing is going to be hotter and more humid. I don't see that we could ever get used to this kind of weather. I don't think the Japanese are all that used to it either. Every shop, car and indoor space had the air conditioning on high and cold.
One of the things Angie and I both noticed about being surrounded by so many people but not being able to understand what they are saying is that it is very easy to allow the din to become almost white noise and ignore it. It was interesting when we'd be walking around and all the sudden hear a snippet of English conversation. Even if it was quiet and from a distance, it would grab our attention.
A couple other things:
The taxi doors are automated and controlled by the driver. I kept opening and closing them out of habit and the driver seemed to be getting a little irritated with me. It took 3 or 4 times before I started to remember to let the door alone.
The crows sound different. They look the same, but aren't as harsh sounding.
While we were walking around Shinjuku last night, there were people standing out in the walkways handing out flyers and menus trying to get people into their shops. We weren't the target market apparently because we didn't get handed anything.
There was a 3-person jazz group performing outside one of the entrances to Shinjuku station. They were actually pretty good. It was a little odd to be hearing soft jazz in a crowd of people with construction going on and heavy traffic on the street.
Today, we're heading out into the suburbs on the train. Hopefully it will be a little cooler.