By 9am, an hour after the doors had opened, we'd already seen the sheer breadth of the designs and complete cars this fascinating Tokyo motor show of 2015 was going to offer.
The Japanese like doing things to the letter, so as the second hand attained the vertical at 8.30am precisely, Mazda's president stepped out to reveal the magnificent new RX-Vision two-seat coupé, complete with its new-generation Skyactiv-R rotary engine. The crowd of onlookers was vast; those who were cameramen with video to shoot were actually jostling one another to get to elevated positions.
The RX-Vision is a fabulous-looking machine, entirely in character with previous RXs and a dead cert for production, although the company has avoided putting a date on its launch (they say it's to avoid pressuring engineers who have to finish making a fundamentally dirty engine clean). Our guess would be Tokyo 2017, and we'd further wager not a few of those engineers already have it inked in their diaries.
The point is, this RX was perhaps the best representative of one class of car we saw quite a bit of at Tokyo: the model, while being thorough modern, carried forward many desirable traits and traditions from the past. Toyota's cute front engine-rear drive S-FR baby roadster was another - not only recalling Toyotas past, but cars of the Honda S800 and MG Midget ilk as well.
Then, just 15 minutes later, Nissan showed a product from the other end of the spectrum, a model with precious little heritage that was exciting for what it will do in the future. The handsome IDS concept, a decent guide to the next Nissan Leaf but quite different to look at, was so damned modern in shape and thought that even when shorn of things that will never make production (such as the pillarless doors and the more radical aerodynamic addenda), it gave a breathtaking view of the future.
So did Nissan's affordable and well-advanced Intelligent Driving system, which offers you a choice between full autonomy and a subtlety assisted manual mode. It will be introduced in three stages in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Similarly futuristic was Mitsubishi's fully electric concept B-SUV, a car the firm has already said it plans to put on sale by 2020. It was compact, pretty and bold in a pleasing way - one of many of this show's creations that gave you strong hope for the future.
This was pretty much an Japanese show. Tokyo's shows usually are. The Westerners were there, but they were invariably launching cars we already knew well: the Clio RS for Renault, the Range Rover SVX for JLR and the M4 GTS for BMW. But the relative quietness of our familiar manufacturers meant this show was refreshingly short on slightly altered versions of cars we were already anticipating and can visualise, usually with black interiors and eye-watering prices.
That was another thing about this Tokyo. It featured a generous helping of radical, low-cost proposals from the likes of Suzuki and Daihatsu - both experts at cheap cars - some of which may have looked a bit odd to Western eyes, but which were resolved and fully functioning (the Japanese just don't seem to like three-dimensional speculation) and had equivalents running about on the roads outside our vast show hall.
There were two Subarus - a new Impreza concept and an updated Viziv crossover concept that looked distinctly smart - and I even liked most of the lines on the new Lexus, apart from a grille that, like several of the recent breed, seemed to be trying to set a record for ugliness.