Thursday, July 18, 2002

The train was full of somber, inconspicuous commuters; working people; young pigeon-toed women clutching their handbags, paunchy men with their arms crossed. After we shared perfunctory background information about ourselves – he's "going to university" for physics, I'm starting a new job – Roger managed to steer the conversation to Her Majesty the Queen: she has more power than you might think actually, and I thought, what is it with the English and their queen? Here we are in Tokyo and I have to hear this. I looked away during a pause in the conversation and perceived a wild burst of fiery red light in the darkness right outside the window. I turned to see a hovering, laser-projected logo on the tunnel wall and it said:


The ride took about an hour and a half and we still weren't there. We got off at some arbitrary station that seemed deep in the city but then we realized it was the business district – a forest of office buildings with corporate logos on the top, empty for the night. A sweaty man with glasses offered to help. "Where are you going?" he said haltingly. We tried to tell him and he said OK, and he made some strange remark about girls, were we looking for girls, and we said ha, no no, but he did tell us what connection to make to Shinjuku Station. We thanked him and he bowed and nodded and thanked us.