|Shinjukus neon canyons
|I was Number 8018
|The Wonder Twins activate
Ever see ‘Blade Runner,’ the futuristic thriller with Harrison
Ford? Remember the city the movie took place in? Well I lived it this
weekend. Its called Shinjuku, and its only one section of the mass of
humanity called Tokyo, Japan.
Street to sky neon canyons, rivers of people flowing at the bottom and
more stimuli than a Thai sex show, Shinjuku is where the world is headed.
We’re at six billion people now, and if we keep on urbanizing, or worse,
suburbanizing, these neon canyons are headed to a neighborhood near your
great grandkids. And into this chaos, I dove headfirst. Actually, I dove
headfirst quite literally, for I stayed in one of Japan’s famous capsule
Built specifically for the high human density of this island, it crams
the most people into the least space in a very futuristic way. Imagine a
honeycomb, but instead of cells filled with honey and capped with wax,
they’re filled with a little bed, a little TV, and closed by a little
screen. With a communal bath, dressing room, and private lockers, its hive
living at its best!
I could’ve opted for the more spacious and more interesting love
hotels but my budget and unaccompanied situation did not warrant the
maneuver. I would’ve loved to see what everyone told me about though.
The love hotels, for the lovers with cramped apartments full of relatives
or even spouses, sport the best in anonymous romance.
You enter a corridor to be greeted by lighted photos (occupied rooms
being unlit) of the different theme rooms. You pick which fantasy you
wanna live, from office, to school, to Vegas, put your cash in the vending
machine money slot, and runway lights lead you to your pleasure dom.
Don’t think this automation is all that odd. Everything you could
ever want comes in a vending machine. The Japanese have automated the
usual beer, cigarettes, and condoms, but with a twist. The beer machines
turn off at 11pm, somehow stopping kids from drinking, cigarettes come
with a lighter, and condoms are available by blood type (I never did
figure out if it was the guy’s or girl’s blood type you’d
Also, food, train tickets, money, ice cream, coffee, and even porno and
dirty schoolgirl underwear come out of the omnipresent glowing boxes. Yes,
I looked for the panty machine, but could only find clean, not dirty
panties ready for my yen.
Oh, and yen did I need! Japan is as expensive as ever, though this
surprised me. See I’m used to the simple correlation of prices to
quality of life. Northern Europe is more expensive than Russia because the
quality of life is better, and Scandinavia, even nicer and more expansive
than Northern Europe. Japan, the most expensive country I’ve ever been
to (and arguably the most expensive on the planet) isn’t any nicer than
In fact, I found Korea to be a more holistic country, with better
layout, greenery, and social interaction, at a cheaper rate. Japan is not
expensive due to a higher quality of life, its expensive due to the
massive trade surplus and resulting exchange rate imbalance with the rest
of the world, and the USA in particular. We keep buying their technica,
regardless of cost, while they only import oil and wood in any relative
The really should import a personal touch. Yes, Japan has countless
greeters and random customer service reps, but no number of
‘hellos,’ matter when they are all fake. All that automation,
and the automated ‘hello’s,’ the real people say, add up to a
land where people are so lonely, men pay just to talk to a woman.
After a week wandering the country, I was ready to pay to talk to a
woman too when I rolled into Tooyoka, where my friend from DC, Dave
is teaching English. Thankfully, he, his Tooyoka friends, and even a
random Balinese are giving Japan a human
feel before I split on a slow boat to China at the end of the week