The years seem to have flown by. I first touched down in Tokyo a little over a decade ago. Back then, having spent relatively little time in the Far-East, everything seemed new and delightfully foreign. I was wowed by the towering heights, bright lights and narrow alleys of Shinjuku and nishi-Shinjuku.
But on returning to Tokyo this week – my third trip to the city – I found the buzz oddly missing.
That first trip, all those years ago, must have had an impact. It willed me on to spend more time travelling around Asia. In doing so, it meant that now Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bangkok all seemed to offer more buzz and a more impressive urban skyline.
But still I enjoyed gently strolling around Tokyo in the warm autumn sunshine. It felt civilised and refined. And then somewhere south of Shibuya I found my way into the bijou neighbourhood of Daikanyama.
With less buzz and a much smaller scale, I found myself in love all over again with the city and the small intricate feel of the neighbourhood.
With relatively little traffic, modernist architecture and lots of space for bikes, it felt quiet and relaxed; dare I say it – a little European. And that felt refreshingly foreign too.