As far as the sightseeing goes, I'm trying to think of the differences between Tokyo and any other big city. The demeanor of the people here is different, but the actual "busy-ness" of this town is what I'm thinking about. What does the typical American big city contain? Ads, Billboards, lots of activity. All kinds of places to spend money. People on the run, even people who forget to slow down. I'm only noticing these things here because they're here, covered in characters, with slogans written in hiragana, and even foreign words I must attempt to sound out in katakana. I think there's more little shops and tents and vendors than I've seen before, and again, the way the people run and work at them is very different. The bustle makes me feel like I should keep an eye on my back, especially at night, or not walk around with my wallet exposed. But my instinct here is that I don't need to worry about anything, that the crime rate is so low because people who steal your purse are so busy thanking you and apologizing for it that they don't actually get away. Also, everyone here is speaking Japanese. At home, it's such a novelty to hear something in that language; here, I am constantly surprised when I overhear conversations or have waiters greet me in Japanese. There are muscles in my ears that feel so good to finally be getting used regularly. I feel completely sensitive to language right now. And the intimidation of that constant aural surprise combined with the BIG-CITY-LOTS-GOING-ON atmosphere and being two of the very few white people here (at least according to our attention span) all make me feel like I will never again be nervous giving a speech in front of a class of 20 or so English majors who, when it comes down to it, look and talk just like me. Language can create intimidation. Language can create difference. It feels good to be noticing this, even if the side effect means that I find myself regularly in situations where I could be using a phrase or greeting that I know--sumimasen or gomen nasai or something along those polite lines--and instead only get these mumbled, half-human noises out and end up appearing as if I may not even know English.
I'm playing devil's advocate with myself: why is this place so great? what made me wanna come here so badly? I'm hoping to put it in words before the two weeks are over.
Also, the crows sound oddly like people here, cats say nyaa nyaa and dogs go wan wan; I've only been able to confirm the first one so far.