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Shinjuku Crowds

The more time I spend in Tokyo, the bigger and more crowded I realise it is. Many of the new parts of the centre have a slick, polished feeling like in The Matrix; everything is so clean and angular it feels computer generated. Other parts, in contrast, are grim, sleazy, and ablaze with neon.

The other evening I went over to east Shinjuku, the area of Tokyo which inspired the film Bladerunner. Even in Bangkok or London, I've never been in such crowds in my life. Shinjuku has the busiest railway station in the world, with over 2 million people going through it every day. At rush hour guards are employed on the platforms to push commuters into the trains just to get the doors closed. Stepping off a train you're instantly in a swarming mass of people heading frantically in every direction whilst you try to figure out which one of the sixty different tunnelled exits you should be heading for. Basically, it's a mad, mad place.

The Japanese are incredibly polite and friendly, however, and don't push and shove, but still, it's the first time I've ever felt a bit freaked out by being surrounded by so many people. Luckily, I managed to find an electric toilet nearby to nip into and compose myself.

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