Some Westerners have a highly romanticized view of Japan, picturing it as a woodblock print -- exquisite, mysterious, and ancient.
What a shock, then, to come to Tokyo. In a country known around the world for its appreciation of the aesthetic, Tokyo is disappointingly unimpressive. Some foreigners, unable to reconcile unrealistic expectations with the cold facts of reality, summarily dismiss Tokyo as a monstrosity of the 21st century and go off in search of the "real" Japan. What they don't realize is that beneath Tokyo's concrete shell is a cultural life left very much intact. In fact, Tokyo is the best place in the world to experience Japanese performing arts, such as Kabuki, as well as participate in such diverse activities as the tea ceremony and flower arranging. It's also the nation's foremost repository of Japanese arts and crafts and boasts a wide range of both first-class and unique museums.