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BBC Symphony in Tokyo - getting the lie of the land ...

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Phil Hall Phil Hall | 16:01 UK Time, Thursday, 13 May 2010

japan2.jpgThere is nowhere quite like Tokyo. Chaotically juxtaposed buildings vie with a well-dressed, well-ordered people. As we battle through sluggish traffic from Narita Airport I notice that despite the preponderance of cherry trees, we are just too late for the wonderful white blossom; after what seems like an age, we eventually reach our hotel. Within half an hour of checking-in, people have already gone out jogging, buried their heads in local maps or made dinner reservations. Some prefer to take it easy, practise or chill in their rooms with room service and a good book. Others jump into taxis for sightseeing. I like to get out and about on foot to get the lie of the land.

Later, a small group of us head for the Tokyo underground and grapple with the ticket machines. After congratulating ourselves for only getting lost once, we tumble out into Roppongi, the downtown restaurant district of Tokyo. We find a typical, cosy Japanese restaurant with just a few locals in suits eating there. Seven of us take off our shoes and clamber round a low table. The waiter barely speaks English but knows enough to ask where we're from. 'Ah, England! ..David Beckham!' he announces proudly.He proceeds to pamper us with delicacies such as pickled bamboo, scallops, dried squid guts and barbecued chicken cartilage with a sauce containing yellow dandelions. He also offers us sake on the house - we heartily accept - soon, we'll be getting down to the serious business...

  • Phil Hall is sub-principal viola of the BBC Symphony Orchestra: look out for his blogs here, throughout the orchestra's tour of the Far East.

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good to keep in touch with how the orchestra's faring through your blog, Phil. Please keep at it when you have the time. And congratulations to all for a season to cap all seasons. Don't suppose the Japanese are lucky enough to be getting your Martinu? We were all so privileged.

 

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