Didem Doğan

Tokyo: A Walk from Akasaka to the Hills of Roppongi

Tokyo is hardly a historical city; most of the city was destroyed during the Second World War. It is a miracle of Japanese discipline and hard-work that it thrived into one of the most developed centers of the world in such a short time. Although some historical sites remain, they are limited to the Asakusa region and Chiyoda region that includes the old palace. I am staying in the Asakusa region; to the south of here is Roppongi which has recently become popular, especially with the art museums and galleries that have mushroomed there. My first impression is that the city is unbelievably quiet and clean; no honks, no loud voices, not a single cigarette butt or any rubbish on the streets. A calm and a cleanliness impossible to achieve in a city with a population of 35 million people...I am coming across a park which I am entering at once; it is the lunch time on a week day and workers who brought their food are watching the red leaves. Although it is the second week of December, autumn is lingering here; I will be witnessing throughout my vacation here the many faces of autumn in a myriad of colours, a state of calmness and tranquility… People who take their time to watch the trees, paying attention to the passage of time… I am walking down from Asakusa to the district called Roppongi Hills. Although Tokyo is a planned city, it may be difficult for a tourist find her way around here; there are no signs in English in some areas and not many Japanese people speak English, though they are so helpful even when they don’t speak English, they still try to give you directions, opening up maps on their mobile phones.