An oo­long high­ball ... and some space

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Alone among 13 mil­lion peo­ple, Richard Clap­ton sees the fu­ture in a Tokyo sub­way.

T’S the first trip to Ja­pan that makes the great­est im­pres­sion. As an afi­cionado of Ri­d­ley Scott’s science-fic­tion master­piece Blade Run­ner, my first visit to Tokyo was a sort of deja vu ex­pe­ri­ence. On a De­cem­ber morn­ing, I left my ho­tel room in Shibuya and stepped into an al­most ex­act replica of a Blade Run­ner set: the im­pres­sion­is­tic, melt­ing colours cre­ated by rain on a thou­sand neon signs, the noo­dle stalls, the over­crowded streets – it’s said that 2000 peo­ple tra­verse Shibuya’s main in­ter­sec­tion at any one time.

On that trip, I stayed for 10 days, an ideal amount of time. The pop­u­la­tion of Tokyo is more than 13 mil­lion but in greater Tokyo it’s al­most 38 mil­lion. De­spite this vast ocean of hu­man­ity – or per­haps be­cause of it – Tokyo is as vi­brant and ex­cit­ing a city. I wrote a song called Tokyo Sub­way in which I de­scribed it as a “post­card from the edge of time”.

I was in­tro­duced to sev­eral mu­sic busi­ness con­tacts on that first trip, the most gre­gar­i­ous be­ing Se­bas­tian, a Cana­di­anAmer­i­can who had lived there for al­most 30 years. He was based in Ueno, a dis­trict on the out­skirts of the city. It has one of the busiest rail sta­tions in Tokyo and is also home to mar­kets full of hun­dreds of lit­tle stalls sell­ing a vast ar­ray of knick-knacks. They be­came fa­mous for be­ing the big­gest

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