Hi all! I've queued up some
various updates for you and hope you find this interesting.
First, I just missed the cherry blossom season, for which Japan is well
known. But there were a few hardy hangers-on still around
including this tree outside the hotel.
After a late-night conference call back to the states one night last
week I was hungry for something and the local McD's was across the
street so I went and got a chicken sandwich. It was quite
good. There was a delay cooking the sandwich so they put the card
on my tray, gave me the fries and drink and I went on my way.
Once I was done with the fries I figured they had forgotten about my
sandwich and was ready to just leave, but then two people came to my
table with a tray with my sandwich, bowed and held it out for me to
take. What could I say? I just bowed back.
Walking back after the chicken sandwich experience caught this shot of
the Tokyo Tower from near the office.
Here's an intersection on the walk from the hotel to the office, in the
Went for dinner one night with the auditors who were just wrapping up
their visit. Here they are, and here's the Roppongi Hills complex
where we had dinner at Xen
Neat place, it shares a space with the Bamboo Bar, and is decorated
with plastic tubes that are illuminated in green to look like
bamboo. Cool. I had a spicy noodle soup and the Indonesian Fried
Rice with Chicken Satay. Excellent. The 900 yen Asahi dry's
were good but way too pricy.
One of the major highways goes through Roppingi and here's a sign at
the entrance to it
Some night shots of downtown Tokyo.
Saturday I took the subway to a train system that goes outside of
downtown, out to Makuhari where another office is located. Some
shots from that train trip, which took me by Tokyo Disneyland.
A huge golf driving range
Typical apartment buildings.
Tokyo Disneyland. Supposedly it's laid out exactly like the one
It was a clear morning so you could see Mount Fuji. (Fuji-san)
Some of the area at Makuhari. This is on the east side of Tokyo
Downtown Tokyo is all the way across the bay in these pictures:
The train I rode in on, or one that looks like it.
Some oil tankers in the bay.
Later in the day you could not see Mount Fuji much as it became
overcast again. It's been that way much of the time I've been
Nice sunset. Note the mountains off in the distance.
Back downtown, here's a some street signs that points you to various
sections of town. Roppongi I've been to several times for meals.
And during one of my walks around the hotel, yes you ham radio people,
I found a tribander.
So now that I've been here a week, what do I think? Here's some
random thoughts. Note I haven't really left Tokyo so this is just
my observation of 'round here.
I think the Japanese are very nice and respectful, Tokyo is very neat
and clean and pretty easy to get around. I've been walking around
at midnight and haven't felt any worries. I haven't seen any
homeless anywhere. Tokyo is really big and there's extensive
transportation options so that if you can walk 2 km, you don't need a
car. There was an earthquake the other morning that others told
me about but that I slept through. The last trains on the subway
leave the city center at midnight so you have to plan for that.
You can get a bowl of nice breaded chicken and a bowl of rice for $3.50
which makes a nice dinner. Everyone stops for pedestrians and the
pedestrians don't jaywalk even when there are obviously no cars
coming. There are a lot of foreign embassies in this neighborhood
(maybe that's why it's so safe?) and the police keep portable fences
and cones at the intersections for the frequent and erratic times that
they close the streets, presumably for the diplomatic entourages.
So far I've gotten pretty far in the stores just saying hai, domo, arigato
. I'll try some more
words this week and let you know how that goes. There's a
bookstore in the office underground mall area that sells some
english-language books. What did I buy? Shogun. The
electricity is close enough to the US to work fine, but bring a
3-to-2-prong adapter with you. Oranges are not rare in
Japan. (That's for the Seinfeld fans). Most everyone
dresses really well except the few rebels. Black and grey are
IN. Gas was 195¥ for a litre at the station down the street,
that works out to $6.30 a gallon at today's 117Y/$1 exchange
rate. I haven't seen an insect here the whole time but
something's got to be pollinating the cherry blossoms, right?
Everything is so orderly, even though the street layout seems weird to
a foreigner, the sidewalks are all even, people park their bikes in
rows, everyone stays to the left. Seems like everyone and
everything has their place and knows it.
But if you're worried about getting a coke, smoke, or beer in the
middle of the night, these machines are everywhere.