Yup! We’re heading back to Tokyo. After getting all our COVID booster vaccinations and updated health documents and customs and immigration apps filled in and ready and getting a positive pre-flight COVID test, we’re headed back to Tokyo from Los Angeles. Pictured above is our plane parked at LAX as we were getting ready to board the 11-hour-plus night flight to Haneda.

Of the all the mega-cities we’ve lived in — London, New York, Osaka, Los Angeles — Tokyo is probably our favorite. It never ceases to fascinate and unfold new discoveries. For many years now — a couple of decades, actually — we’ve thought of and referred to the Japanese capital with the moniker “Impossible City.”

We call it it this because it’s so huge and dense, and its urban landscape is constantly changing, so much so that it seems impossible for anyone to fully take it in and experience, impossible to know all its neighborhoods and passages. Tokyo is simultaneously both a massive urban sprawl like L.A. but on a scale like no other on Earth. AND it’s a vertical city in the extreme along the lines of Manhattan or Hong Kong.

In other words, it’s a seemingly endless landscape of tall buildings spread out in a seemingly endless horizon in all directions. There’s no one central, downtown skyline — It’s all skylines. What’s more is that it’s a high-rise sprawl that comes with extreme urban density. Ten of millions of people living cheek-by-jowl in mostly small, if not cramped, apartments, condos, and houses.

Yet Tokyo also manages to be a gargantuan metropolis that works at an intimate, human scale, where huge office towers and shopping complexes are filled with tiny corners of activity and stand adjacent to narrow lanes lined with tiny mom-and-pop restaurants and shops, skinny multistory homes and apartment buildings, and minuscule bars that can barely accommodate five or six people.

In fact Tokyo is really an agglomeration of dozens of cities that grew into each other eventually forming a single contiguous built-up entity. Impossible City.

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