Nicolás Obregón: ‘Tokyo is a million cities … and it’s full of secrets’

A city that can be ‘Blade Runner and old Japan all at once’ inspired Blue Light Yokohama novelist Nicolás Obregón – who is in thrall to Tokyo’s towers, street food and quiet corners

Tokyo has magnetism, and it feels endless. What hits you first is the scale. There’s the neon signs, the ancient temples, the skyscraper skylines, all of it mixed together. In the metro area there are more than 35 million people; that’s like taking two-thirds of England and putting it into one city – and then expecting the trains to run on time and the traffic to flow.

I grew up in Madrid and London and now live in LA, but Tokyo is my spiritual homeland. I grew up with Japanese cartoons, comics and video games and was strongly drawn to the country from as far back as I can remember; they were my earliest experiences of storytelling, so it’s perhaps no surprise I ended up writing my novel, Blue Light Yokohama, in Tokyo.

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