Tokyo is not crowded. My slight claustrophobia has different reasons: Tokyo seems to never end. Every square meter feels to serve a common purpose or feels to belong to someone. Nothing seems to feel … I guess the word is: unobserved.
There are no sidewalks in minor streets, parking lots seem to be exactly the size of the cars parked. The vans on the road seem to be designed to be stackable. Before I buy a bento box I look for a place to sit down and eat. Public space with some privacy is rare. No eating and drinking in shrines or temples. The well hidden graveyards tell the same tale.
One night I open a window and look at this.
In Shinjuku I was given a leaflet. It praised a 30 square meter apartment in a new luxury high-rise for about three million euros. I counted the zeros several times. A leaflet? … on the street? … come on. I wonder who else walks here?
Real estate in Tokyo must be mostly hereditary, rather than a market thing. It appears houses in Tokyo don’t normally come with a garden. Instead I see potted plants along most streets, well watered and cared for.
No niche seems too small, no stairs too narrow.
The high value of space seems to result in a kind of evolutionary shrinkage of everything. I find smaller versions of things I thought to have a globally agreed on size.
Out of curiosity I ask Wikipedia: Tokyo has about the same population as Canada.