I spent all of one day in Tokyo on my trip to Japan a few years ago. In that day, I barely scratched the surface of Akihabara and Shinjuku, where I spent most of my time. It’s a city that is impossible to summarize or to understand. Prior to visiting Tokyo, the largest mega-metropol area I’d ever been in was New York City, and even as I felt awed by Manhattan I was still able to come to grips with it in a sense. Tokyo was just on another scale. This is why this travel article in the WaPo seems to familiar to me, even though I essentially saw zero of the Tokyo described therein. The introduction does a fine job of painting Tokyo in wide statistical swaths:
As a megacity, Tokyo has no rival. It has more buying power than Brazil, more people than Canada, more concrete than can be imagined.
With about 35 million people, greater Tokyo is by far the world’s most populous metro area, with nearly twice the people of greater New York. There are 80,000 restaurants here — six times as many as in New York.
Although it is the political, economic and cultural center of Japan, Tokyo itself has no real center. It’s a jumble of densely populated districts that are themselves big cities, hubs for the frenetic inbound rush and exhausted homeward retreat of millions upon millions of subway and train commuters.
The article itself is just a placeholder though, for three videos that focus on unique aspects of Tokyo micro-culture: Goth-Lolita girls, salarymen, and the Tokyu Food Show. In some ways, these videos give a better context for me to “fill in” the background of anime, supplementing my own personal experience.