When you live in the US and you are accustomed to the Pacific time zone, east Asia travel means that you are wide awake and ready to go very early in the morning (4 or 5AM), and are ready to crash at 5PM.
When I was in Tokyo last month, the early mornings were good to take walks between parts of the city where the locals usually will take a train. (I was unable to make these into runs because of doctors orders to lay off running for 4 weeks after some surgery).
One morning I set out from my hotel (the New Otani, Tokyo) out to Dogenzaka Hill. This is an area known as “love hotel hill” because of its reputation of hourly-rate domiciles. It is adjacent to Shabuya station, replete with shopping and a 2-story Starbucks commanding a view of the pedestrian action.
Above is the view out of my hotel room before I set out. Below is the first thing I laughed at, a building-high ad for safe sex.
Well of course, STDs are no laughing matter, but it’s proximity to the love hotels seemed pretty obvious.
Other building-high ads showed the local interest in computer gaming. The building with the “XX” on it is marked “XMAS CHAMPI”, one of the more unusual Christmas displays I saw anywhere in the world.
Actually, other than these building ads, Love Hotel Hill was pretty disappointing for my morning walk-through. There was very little to differentiate it from other neighborhoods in the city. There was only one time that I was approached by a group of boozed-out revelers. I kept walking!
En route, I walked through the Aoyama neighborhood, which is much more sedate, I loved the mixed language signs. The hair salon below was complete with a waterfall. They seem to take hair care quite seriously in Tokyo.