First published with Sunny Side Adventures –

As I head closer to the heart of Tokyo on its notoriously complicated but efficient train system I can’t help but think, ‘wow’…. so many people live in this city.

Thousands of apartment blocks pass by in a blur. The streets are packed, every inch of space taken advantage of. For an Australian, it is crushing. I wonder how there is room to breathe.


It is almost as if the city extends eternally. I feel at its heart, but I know an hour remains of my train ride from Narita Airport to my accommodation near Magome station.

This country’s people have made me smile since I stepped foot on its land. From the bubbly airport staff – one controlling the cue laughed as she directed foreigners around the long trail to the customs line, “this is your evening exercise, move, move, move” – to the beautiful mother and her young boy on the train. She looked up to notice the train had arrived at her station as her boy was playing with toy cars on the seat and had his shoes spread across the floor. She quickly gathered his toys, snatched up his shoes and whisked him into her arms in a mad rush as she ran off the train.

Looking down onto the street from the fast moving train I see a glimpse of the vending machines I have heard sell just about everything.


And I get my first glimpse of Japan’s obsession with cuteness, a toy store covered with flashing lights at 9pm on a Saturday night.

The country seems accommodating of foreigners, supporting the stories of those who have travelled before me, with English translations at train stations and stores. I am smiled at on the train by warm faces who welcome me in a language of their own.