Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Japan Diary -- 1st impressions

View from my hotel at dawn my first morning in Tokyo
I arrived in Tokyo a day late due to a stupid snafu with flights. It turned out fine, so the only casualty was one day less in Japan. It was raining when my plane landed and by the time I got to the train station it was also dark. Completely bewildered I schlepped my luggage around the station looking unsuccessfully for a way out, then once out searched for my hotel in the rainy, dark, busy rush hour of Tokyo.Those first couple of hours were the only hard time I had in Japan. Now that I'm getting the hang of things I want to record my first impressions before they fade away:
Insert key and turn on lights
  • SO MANY PEOPLE. How can they all live so harmoniously, sharing their precious space?
  • Tokyo Station is a terrifying maze. Will  I ever be able to find my way around as well as the Japanese?
  • Found my hotel thanks to a number of kind Japanese along the way. WHEW! What a welcome site! 
  • Hotel room is comfortable, cozy and compact. Has all the essentials -- bed, bath, natural light, phone, Internet, and so on, but scaled down about 15% in size from American hotels. Why do we Americans need so much space?
  • Uh-oh. Got to my room and can’t turn on the lights. Turns out a wooden stick attached to the key must be inserted into a socket to activate the electricity for the room. A place to store the key so it won’t be lost AND assurance that guests will not leave lights on when they go out. How ingenious!!
  • Internet connectivity is excellent.
  • A good night's sleep but, of course, jet lag. I wake up at 4:30 just as dawn breaks over Tokyo. See photo above.
  •  Fewer trash containers around town, not because Japan is so dirty, but because it is so clean. My guidebook says people sometimes take their trash home, so as not to dirty up the city.
  • No paper towels in public restrooms. Japanese women carry a small towel to dry their hands.
  • People dress formally. Japanese men scurrying around in business suits (very few women looking dressed for the business world); students all over the place in attractive uniforms.
  • No dirt. No graffiti. No homeless. No panhandlers. No unnecessary noise. No grumpy Japanese. None!
  • In  restaurants, the waiters yell out something whenever someone enters (thankfully not for me). I’m not sure what that is all about.
  • Japanese love everything French. Including French bakeries!
  • A very organized country. I won’t have trouble getting around, despite the language.
I captured this scene my first morning in Tokyo. The Japanese adore cherry blossoms.

See more photos



Post a Comment

<< Home