A world of difference

The Japanese capital Tokyo offers a chance to immerse yourself in a culture that's as captivating as it is alien, writes Julian Fleming.

11th March, 2012
A world of difference
The blooming of Japan's cherry blossom trees is a time of national celebration.

The crowd masses quickly beside you. Before you know it, there are hundreds around you, packed like a terrace throng.

One hundred yards or so away, another group is forming just as quickly. You will be heading straight for them, and them for you. You are impatient. It must be time. Then, the signal is given and the two crowds advance across no man's land. Bracing yourself, you collide.

But there is no physical confrontation,...

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