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Noted in Passing: There’s cities and there’s megacities… and then there’s Tokyo.

Click here for a very very detailed shot of Tokyo, 2021 from the Sumida River to Mt. Fuji 62 miles to the west.

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  • John Venlet July 11, 2021, 8:07 AM

    The city I live in, with a population of just over 200,000, is too big for my tastes, let alone a mega-city like Tokyo, though I imagine there’s a plethora of restaurants I wouldn’t mind visiting.

  • David July 11, 2021, 8:32 AM

    I very much hold with Thomas Jefferson, who said “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe”

  • Dirk July 11, 2021, 8:40 AM

    Kerin Beer sucks, Saki is nasty, hiking up Mt Fugi was kinda cool, twice. 1976 the dollar was crap.

    Loved the Japanese people, loved how-clean the sidewalks the streets were. 19/20 yr old sailor, awaiting flight to the USS Coral Sea. Even then I really really enjoyed new cultures, new ways, and foods.

    Took a few days to climatize to the Asian heat. Loved the sudden afternoon storms quickly learned they nylon shorts and silk Hawaiian shirts were perfect storm weather apparel, dried off quickly.

    Tokyo on a USO sponsored tour, for a weekend. Spent the entire time wandering alleyways, or their equivalent. Staying away from the tourist traps, we met folks our age wishing to learn English we hung out with them, those folks took us to places, most Americans hadn’t seen.

    The traditional Japanese music is amazing. Still have several Cassette tapes, “ bad shape” but later replaced with CD’s many years later.

    Remember thinking can these really be those brutal people my grandfather and uncles fought in WWII.

    Finally caught a C-1 Cod out to the carrier, after many stops, caught the boat just before our Australia port of call. Another amazing adventure.


  • Casey Klahn July 11, 2021, 9:32 AM

    My sort of storied life includes a summer in Japan. Tokyo was just a stop-over.

    The Japanese love/hate Americans. That needs no explanation.

    Didn’t we firebomb the livingfuk out of Tokyo? Look at it now!

    My dad, having escaped death time after time fighting the Germans, in 1945, skipped the points line to come back to the states and train to invade Japan from the sea. That would’ve been the shitshow of all shitshows. As it was, he pulled into NYC on the troopship, knowing that he’d dodged that large bullet because Japan had surrendered before he made port.

  • enn ess July 11, 2021, 9:46 AM

    Never setting foot on anything but asphalt and concrete, no trees, no nature unless it’s fabricated, every environment controlled, all your moves and actions dictated by others. All your “needs” having to be supplied and relied upon by outside supply lines. Having top spend your not working off hours living like a rat in a tiny cubicle of an apartment. You are simply going through life to support a machine. NO THANKS.
    I hate going to town and the one nearest me is under 1000, and it’s too damn big. It’s especially miserable during summer when the tourist (terrorists) are in season. I have nothing against people, just haven’t found much use for the majority of em.
    The older I get the more I like my dog – and he’s dead.

  • James ONeil July 11, 2021, 10:07 AM

    I’m so old I can remember, way back in the day when common folks were allowed to travel, making eight or ten trips to Japan.

    Tokyo was fun for short visits, lots of back alleys to explore, Akihabara, etc., but getting out in the countryside, up in the mountains was pure delight.

  • gwbnyc July 11, 2021, 10:54 AM

    “and there’s Tokyo”


  • AlfromChgo July 11, 2021, 11:21 AM

    Trying to find Base Camp Fujl on the photo. 1964 360 yen to the dollar and pay in MPC. Fine time to be a 20 year old.

  • Zaphod July 11, 2021, 5:57 PM

    It’s a big old joint for sure. Best to think of it as made up of a number of cities/wards/major station junctions. You get to know your local area and one or two other places. Could live somewhere like Shimo-Kitazawa or Azabu-Juban and feel pretty much comfortable in a village/town environment and not feel the huge metropolis pressing in upon you. The weirdest thing is that I had a subway map of Tokyo in my head and would pop up here and there gopher-like — sometimes to be be surprised by how close how far apart two surface locations might be.

    But to live out in the sprawl of Chiba or Saitama Prefectures and have to commute all the way into Tokyo to work every day would be hell.

  • Steve in PA July 12, 2021, 3:44 AM

    Is this posted in answer to your perennial question, “Nuked too much or not enough?”

  • waitingForTheStorm July 12, 2021, 5:40 AM

    We had several exchange students from Japan.

    Anna was from Tokyo. She came to us in late November after having been bounced around several households because she was too Japanese and was having trouble adjusting. We lived in a small rural community. One evening she came in and asked me to accompany her back outside. She looked up and asked, “What is that?” Meaning, of course, the stars in the sky. Being in Tokyo, she had never seen the relatively dark night sky. She was amazed. We spent several weeks walking on the evenings when the weather was not rain. She stayed with us thru late May when she left early dues to a death in the family. She was an odd young lady.

    We hosted 8 or 9 Japanese students over the years. Hosting is an eye opening experience; and, the Japanese students prompted us to question so much about the cultural norms that move us through society.

  • gwbnyc July 12, 2021, 6:08 AM


    -back in those days it was typical for a father/grandfather/uncle/cousin to be mailed the black silk smoking jacket with a dragon embroidered on the back from a corresponding son/grandson/nephew/cousin “kid in the service”.

  • Dirk July 12, 2021, 7:31 AM

    I’d kill for another of those silk smoking jackets!, don’t smoke so guess I can’t have one.

    Above regarding exchange students, we hosted a church exchange, had a student stay for a month, she spoke not one word of English. Interesting exchanges. Was amazed at just how quickly our children learned to effectively communicate, a sort of pig Latin, a lot of acting out what was wanted/ needed.

    Living in Tulelake Ca, we debated taking Her to the Tulelake Japanese internment camps. We finally did, and she lit up, spent days wandering. When I took her to the camps old dump, she spent a day just digging thru piles of discarded cans, other items discarded. She collected several treasures cleaned them packed them,, mailed them home.

    Her last week we went camping in the high lake wilderness area. Took a chance and stopped at the site of a Japanese ballon bomb, which killed several locals a youth church group out of Bly Oregon we’re on a Sunday outing when they came upon the deflated ballon.

    The group approached the ballon and the explosives blew, killing most of the group. That was 44/45 the Japanese we’re attempting to start fires in the forests on the PNW, to draw men and supplies away from the war effort.

    Our guest must have taken twenty rolls worth of pictures-prayed, cried prayed some more and cried. We’ve lost touch with her, in fact me nor my wife remember her name. She did have an impact on our worldly views. I’d spent a fair amount of time in Japan prior, already had embraced the people, their culture. My wife and children still speak of the experience. Believe her being her was a great influence on our kids, more a great adventure.

    That was 34 years ago. We still visit the memorial site yearly, when we enter the monument, I always experience a peaceful almost zen like inner peace. Like the spirits are greeting us. My daughter just walked in, the girls name was Hisako.

    Apologies, as I age, I find I write way to much, it’s almost as if I’m rekindling myself with my youth, trying to refresh these wonderful memories, preserve them for the next thirty year stint.


  • SgtBob July 13, 2021, 1:08 PM

    Dang! That will take at least two nukes.

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