soft Tokyo

Tokyo is a soft city. It is incredibly relenting. This is not a visual experience. I am talking about the cushion of space that people make way for you. The language, both bodily and spoken, is designed to ease the potential awkwardness of strangers crossing paths. Eventually the polite but ubiquitous "Irashaimase!" that store clerks deliver when you walk into their space wears out and becomes annoying. But now my attention is focused on it. In fact, if someone working in a store or restaurant breezes past me without apologizing profusely or at least acknowledging my holy presence with an irashaimase, I feel wronged. God forbid someone bumps into you.