Last month, Cheryl and I visited Tokyo for a quick break. I found Tokyo to be what I expected it to be: culturally vibrant, predictably orderly and possessing a never dissipating buzz about the city.
This buzz is nothing more than the gigahertztic pulses of information that course through both the wired and wireless veins of the city. While this information travels quietly as digital bits, zipping across the city, hopping from senders to recipients, Tokyo is generally a city where its people do not casually hangout in public places to chatter or share a laugh.
Perhaps technology is the underlying thing that makes Tokyo sane. It probably has been a force of liberation to its people after thousands of years of introverted self restraint on public displays of emotions. Ultimately, it may have fulfilled the need for the Japanese people to connect to one another meaningfully while maintaining stoic normalcy in their perception of the real world.
This can be seen everyday as Tokyo inhabitants safely navigate through seas of people in the crowded streets while their faces are buried deep in their widescreen mobile phones playing a game or texting with their friends. It can also be felt through the efforts that Tokyo put into replacing tedious manual labour through the use of machines to sell everything from water to food coupons but proudly reserves its highest technological showcase to robots that mimics the inefficiency of the human form.
Yes, Tokyo is a city of contradiction and conformity. A city where ying lives peacefully with yang.