I first visited Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district in the day time and noticed the seedy side. Countless massage parlours and huge billboards of women in suggestive poses lined narrow lanes where men lingered outside waiting to lure customers.
I headed back to Takashimaya Times Square where giant screens displayed a Japanese rock band belting out a pop tune that sounded like any Western music if you ignored the language.
On my way back from Mt Fuji, I arrived in Shinjuku for a second time, but after dark to catch the famous neon lights. The noisy, busy streets were filled with people in the Tokyo district I’d read about in a number of Murakami novels. I sized up the crosswalks I was familiar with from watching Japanese movies, dazzled by the crowds and the flashing lights.