Travelling is a change that can be more than a rest; new places, new people and different perspective is a fresh breeze on one’s creative soul.
I’ve been traveling in Asia; Taichung and Taipei and now I’m in Tokyo with my sons. Japan has exhibited incredible poise and strength in the aftermath of earthquake, tsunami and a subsequent nuclear crisis. It jolted the average Japanese citizens’ faith in the business men and politicians that run their country but there seems to be real changes in motion to solve the problems of an ageing population, high public debt and deflation that were plaguing Japan long before the disaster. It is fascinating to observe and to reflect on the changes that are unfolding in Tokyo, the centre of this crucible of change. It is is an incredible, vibrant city of contrasts. Creative and repressed at the same time, it is a hyper-kinetic chaos that seems to merge with the traditional Japanese aesthetic and philosophical approaches drawn from a rich cultural heritage into a whole; a whole that is magnitudes greater than the sum of it’s collective parts.
Geoffrey West, a physicist at the Santa Fe Institute who has looked into the maths of cities and the creator of the meme that “cities are powerful networks” postulates that there is an urban constant that holds good the world over: “that every doubling in the size of a city brings a 15-20% increase in wages, patent output, the employment of “supercreative” people, the efficiency of transport systems and many other good things associated with cities. There is a similar increase in crime and pollution, but the benefits of higher wages and greater opportunities evidently outweigh those disadvantages.” Tokyo is the poster city (paradoxically with out the increase in crime and pollution). While it is impossible to predict the what and when of the next “new thing”, Tokyo is going there so watch this great city, it is the future in the making.