So with Mercedes’ birthday on deck next week, we’re heading down to Ochos Rios, Jamaica. It will be my debut in both Jamaica and in the Caribbean. Apparently, Item 73 in my bucket list won’t be my only trip to that part of the world. I told Mercedes that this trip to Jamaica is all about her because I’m not a big fan of beaches and I don’t like going places where skyscrapers don’t exist. I’m a city guy at heart and I love to be around my element. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the Nishi-Shinjuku skyscrapers.
How I first came across this moment? As I wrote last year, the date of significance is June 2, 2007. That’s when I boarded a Tokyo-bound Chūō Rapid out of Fussa Station. It was my official Tokyo debut and I was going to Tokyo Tower to get a view of the big city from up top. When the train left out of Nakano Station for the 5-minute stretch to Shinjuku, that’s when I started seeing more and more of the city portion of Tokyo. As we rounded a bend about 2 minutes into that stretch, I saw this cluster of skyscrapers. I was intrigued and I later found out that they comprised of the Nishi-Shinjuku Skyscraper District. I ended up visiting that area of Tokyo a couple of weeks later to see the city from the observation deck in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
What it meant to me then? I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment I first saw the skyscrapers on the train. I remember just sitting in my seat, jaw in palm, looking out of the window. And then I saw the massive buildings and I sat up and intently looked. It was almost like a reflex.
What it means to me now? Today, that inbound stretch between Nakano and Shinjuku is arguably my favorite part about the Tokyo train system. In the hundreds of times I’ve taken the trains from Fussa and Tachikawa into Tokyo, that view of the skyscrapers as we round the bend never gets old. I absolutely love it.