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Tokyo Exists So The 1st World Can Live Comfortably

Tokyo Exists So The 1st World Can Live Comfortably
Baz Hart
  • On September 24, 2013
  • http://www.tailormake.me

So I recently went to Tokyo and the insights I came back with may not sit well with some people.

sleeping-japanese-workerAs any seasoned traveller can tell you, the journey is what you make of it. And as we are all made up of various morals and beliefs conditioned by life experiences, its not hard to accept that your eyes will see what it wants to see. I came to Tokyo armed with a romanticised childhood portrait of cyber punks, robots, hyper-sexualised animation and some of the best ghost stories the world has ever known.

Thanks to a mate who lived there for two years, I was well equipped for the weirdness and was clued up on the quirky details that would make even the most cultured bougies squirm. Unfortunately, all I could process as an observer, was just how shockingly productive the city was. It was scary and impressive at the same time; an ecosystem of efficiency.

Though an amalgamation of man and machine, the city itself operated extremely efficiently on a biological level, developed over thousands of years intertwined through enclaves of honour and emotional repression. And this isn’t just in my head… you can see it on their faces as they trudge along into packed subways.

“I came to Tokyo armed with a romanticised childhood portrait of cyber punks, robots, hyper-sexualised animation and some of the best ghost stories the world has ever known.”

sex_doll_trainTokyo was great. I got to see what I wanted to see and what we in the West know want it to be. But the Japanese working culture overshadows the techno charm 10 to 1 hands-down. It hit me the hardest when my fiancé and I found ourselves misplaced in a subway carriage packed with clones.

I know how racist it sounds to say ‘they all look the same’ but I’m not talking about their facial features. I’m actually talking about the business attire. Black slacks, shoes and white collard shirts, and I guess it didn’t help that they all have the same hair colour (yeah I know the Japanese practically made Dragon Ball Z hair styles popular but we’re talking about grown-ass-men with bills here).

I understood that we were probably on a line typically commuted by the loyal worker bees, but even then, being able to witness this social stratification so graphically was a visual treat. Since then, I wasn’t able to view Tokyo as a city of experimental fashion, birthplace of tech of which its residents drip-fed sexuality into clusters of love hotels. No, those days were gone. Everywhere I looked, all I saw were clones.

“I wasn’t able to view Tokyo as a city of experimental fashion, birthplace of tech of which its residents drip-fed sexuality into clusters of love hotels. No, those days were gone. Everywhere I looked, all I saw were clones.”

japanese work cultureIt all made sense though. Look over to your TV. If you’re not a cheap-skate then its probably a Japanese brand. If you’ve got automotive acumen then you’d know that having a Japanese car saves you loads on maintenance and aftermarket parts. Your fridge, blender, microwave or most of your electrical appliances. If they’re not Chinese ripoffs then they’re top quality Japanese muscle, developed right here in Tokyo.

You can’t help but feel sorry for them. Apparently they work an average of 65 hours per week. Then again its not like we’re much better off in the West or wherever else you’re from either, assuming you come from a country that rewards the lazy. Having to put up with subordinates and colleagues with little to no respect for privilege can be the most annoying thing about the Western workforce. That wouldn’t fly in Japan. Its almost as if they have a strict no-dudebro policy in companies.

Conclusion.

Tokyo exists so the 1st world can live comfortably. Their electrical superstores are littered with gadgets to replace almost every human motor function. What would appear on awkward startup TV shows, are on the shelves in multi-levelled labyrinths of luxury. And you best believe they all have legitimate buyers.

What ends up onto the shores of the Western world, is a result of the trickle down effect governed by what we deem weird and unnecessary. Though sometimes its just a matter of demand.

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