In its sprawl, its relentless redevelopment, love of concrete and lack of any real continuum in building on any physically-present past, it can be confusing as to exactly what the attraction of living in Tokyo is. Rural Bordeaux was the destination of my favourite holiday, Ravenna's church mosaics stopped my breath, and London's river and Amsterdam's canals talk to my European heart. But I live in Tokyo, so what are the reasons for my enjoying the city? A lack of laddishness (nor just the oft-quoted relative safety on the streets), a love of street festivals, the welter of 6- or 8-seater bars or eateries (many with good or even high quality food at an often affordable rate), its odd discoveries and expected histories – all make Tokyo a worthy favourite for Guardian readers.
Pico's piece is here. It's illustrated, of course, with travel-style imagery of a pagoda and a Ginza city-scape, yet that's like illustrating a London guide with a Buckingham Palace guard and a shot of Oxford Street. OK, Piccadilly and the Thames I could understand. But there's a different cityscape and especially other details which I would choose to illustrate such a celebration of Tokyo. Above is a random choice of 6 of my images for why I like Tokyo – and its details.
By the way, you could try the latest bilingual (Japanese and English) edition of the magazine Pen and its Tokyo Guide 2011 issue for a produced-in-Tokyo, alternative guide to the city should you be intending to visit.
Captions for images at top: Explore the back streets; yes, you can find the Japonesque – this bamboo is next to a cafe in Fuchu; dolls at local a museum – in a room for children to draw and copy; street festivals – an in this case having water thrown on you as part of the tradition; I told you it's a mess – but you can still sit and picnic while you ponder how it all got there; the old and the new – a shrine reflected in the office building it's under in Toranomon