I had a job interview at an English conversation school in Ginza this afternoon. Paranoid about punctuality, I arrived over an hour early. Following the e-mailed instructions, I found the school straightaway amongst the tall buildings stacked like closely packed dominoes.
I had an hour to kill in a part of Tokyo that fascinates and appalls in equal measure. Ginza is a big, fat piggy bank for Japanese retailers. Visitors from all over flock here to spend their savings on the latest upmarket fashions. Yet much of the stuff is now made in China or South East Asia.
With neither the money or the interest to look at the latest fashions, I decided to have a cool, calming carton of grapefruit juice. And within minutes, I found one – in a conbini. But there was no park to sit down in; parks would take up too much valuable till register space. Like dustbins, parks are hard to find in Tokyo.
After weaving my way amongst the dominoes, I eventually found a low wall outside a building where I could rest my suited backside. I felt a fraud for wearing a suit; I would have looked a fraud without one. At least it looked ok in the mirror, not quite Daniel Craig but these things take time. Most other men were also dressed in suits, much smarter and snappier ones than mine.
Having said that, I was the only male sprinting while wearing one. My interview was minutes from starting and I was desperately trying to find a dustbin for my carton of grapefruit juice. From Bond to Bean in 5 minutes, the pressure to be punctual can get ridiculous.