There's nothing like the sound of Facetime in the morning...sounds like...well, it sounds excruciating really. I didn't even try fooling Cynthia and the kids: clearly the night had been somewhat...eventful. My eyes and gravelly voice wouldn't lie.
By the time we had finished talking and my brain was back in gear I'd missed the hotel breakfast window. So I just got dressed, drank most of my bottled water and walked out, no clear destination in mind other than trying to find Shinjuku at some point.
I was expecting Tokyo to swallow me whole but it hasn't happened so far. I had visions of fighting massive crowds, of an almost claustrophobic sensory onslaught but instead I've found respite. There's a hush that permeates even the most busy streets and a calmness all around. I think it comes from respect being an integral part of this society—something severely lacking in 21st century North America. No one shouts, no one screams angrily at the guy shoving everyone to get ahead faster...because no one does that. No one shoves. No one tries to get ahead faster. There's an order to how things are done: if the light is red, you wait. It doesn't matter how big or small the intersection, it doesn't matter if there's traffic or not; you wait. I come across a cop giving a ticket to a biker and he's almost apologetic, clearly providing a very detailed explanation while the biker nods and listens. They're still at it several minutes later, both still calm, like two friends having a quiet chat on the sidewalk.
I'm not exactly sure when or how but I've strayed off the path and find myself on a deserted street, almost an alley. A residential area by the looks of it. I'm still smiling in spite of my feet getting sore, still in awe of how exotic the mundane becomes in a foreign land. This is a simple road, with simple houses and simple shops.
And still that calmness.
And still that hush.