Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US

Dec
02
2006

Day off, Tokyo.

Woke to another cold, bright blue sky and the joy of having an actual full day off. Got up slowly and met a few other Vertigoans in the hotel lounge, in various states of post-Tokyo-night-out damage, which left me feeling quite smug at having had an early one.

Joe and I headed to Shibuya on the subway with the intention of meeting Bruce 'outside the subway entrance'. On arrival we came up to the surface to find ourselves at an enormous intersection surrounded by department stores. The traffic would flow then periodically all the lights would go red to allow for pedestrian crossing. With no exaggeration there must have been ten thousand people in this intersection alone and when they got the 'go' the human swarm was absolutely terrifying. I can do crowds. I live in Londons West End and I spend my work life on a little platform in the centre of 50,000 people every night, but this.. this was something else; an absolutely retail scrum.

Chances of ever seeing Bruce seemed slim, but happily our video phones came to the rescue as we could navigate by mutually observable landmarks ('show me what you can see', 'whats that over there? The giant coca cola sign?' etc.) Upon hooking up we joined the retail throng firstly here and then on Akeharbara, the home of all things electronic. This proved to be equally overwhelming, particularly inside the electronics superstores where a hundred TVs, hi-fis and computers would all have their volume turned up to eleven, with sales persons barking and announcements being made over the shop tannoy. It was like a Star Wars Vegas casino floor - I could feel my eyeballs vibrating. It was truly sensory overload and, to be honest, quite exhilarating for it. Back at the hotel I was ready for a quiet one, so ended up getting takeaway and watching 'Troy' in Elizabeths room. Id never seen Troy before so quite enjoyed how hilariously, irredeemably awful it is. I confess to not making it through to the end.

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