We lived a bit away from downtown Tokyo - it took about 40 minutes to get there by bus or train. Our nearest little city was Shibuya, which from what I understand has retained it's charm and still attracts a lot of the younger business crowd.
Japan was so different for me...everything I did or saw felt like a new experience. In retrospect, I wish I had learned the language faster than what I did. I never became totally fluent, but I learned enough to shop, speak a little with Oka-san, order food in a restaurant, and tell taxi drivers where I wanted to go (granted I had to say in Japanese first "Watashi wa shingo no Nihongo desu") translation is "My husband is Japanese"...that statement made them actually stop & listen to me.
Anyway, Shibuya was my favorite place..it had narrow side streets just loaded with little shops of all kinds. The little restraurants have glass encased showcases that have plastic replica's of their food, the yen amount is shown...so everyone can pick what they want before they even enter. For a gaijen this was a wonderful easy adventure..because I could see what I wanted and knew I was not getting octopus!
Shibuya was also loaded with little bars, and of course bar girls. Well, my Mama didn't raise a fool, however, I'm broad minded and I was then too or perhaps just a little too inquisitive. Sometimes Tom & I would go to a couple of his favorite places and everyone was very friendly. On occasion a couple of the girls taught me how to do some of the bar tricks that they do...you take a napkin, a glass, a coin - wet the rim of the glass, putting only one layer of the paper napkin over the wet rim and pull gently so that it forms a tight fit. Then you place the coin in the center, you take a lighted cigarette and burn little holes trying not to be the one to drop the coin. It passes time and was good for a bunch of giggles.
I loved Japanese food, still do and I'm glad that Tom and his mother taught me how to cook it. I guess some things are totally genetic...my son & daughter both are excellent cooks.
One time I had to report to a police station in Shibuya because I had neglected to show some documentation when I first got married..if anything changes on your paperwork you have so many days to get a stamp or something...I kind of felt like a criminal. Anyway, Tom was able to smooth it over...he should of been a diplomat instead of a salesman.
I also remember Shibuya because of Kawashima-sensei...happy memories of his painting at his easel, regaling me with tales of his youth..his travels....just a wonderful man.....I have to smile