I interrupt this long radio silence to announce that I'm in Tokyo, Japan for a couple of weeks decompressing from life and visiting Far East traveler and fellow blogger Mikka. I've been here since Wednesday and apart from vicious jet lag and the disorientation that comes from being more or less illiterate things have been pretty awesome.
Top 5 Things I Love About Japan
1. This is the land of cute. Seriously, this place is adorable; from the cherubic like toys to the legions of happy schoolchildren in navy uniforms to the desserts.
2. It's scrupulously clean. For a city larger than New York that's shocking. Even the public restrooms at the train stations are shiny.
3. FOOD. We've had sushi with fish so alarmingly fresh looking we've been afraid to try it. I'm in love with real ramen, and there are some great Hawaiian restaurants here too. Tomorrow I'm getting up crazy early to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market to see some of the freshest fish in the world
4. The hi-tech toilets. Heated seat? Bidet? A little music maybe?
5. Karaoke in Shinjuku. Need I say more?
5 3 Things I Don't Love About Japan
1. The subway crush. You haven't been on a crowded subway until you've been on the Keio line headed towards Shinjuku station at rush hour. And they're not shy about pushing. The weirdest thing is that it's all silent. Nobody gets mad. No-one shouts. In fact cell phone use is prohibited and you are likely to get shushed for talking loudly.
2. $$$ or should I say ¥¥¥. While some things like conveyer belt sushi are very inexpensive, other things like going to bars ($5 table charge BEFORE you drink), taking taxis ($7 flag-down charge), and getting to the maritime museum from Kichijoji ($7 each way) are ridiculous.
3. The smoking. Smoking is still a big part of bar and restaurant culture here and there are very few places were smoking is banned.
Considering I couldn't think of 5 things I don't love I think I'm ahead. Yesterday I ventured out of the city to Hakone which is near Mount Fuji. It was very beautiful but cold and foggy, and despite the fact that I was right there I didn't actually see the mountain up close. So I, like your, have to console myself with this stock image:
Oh well. But there will be original pictures later and hopefully video of my further adventures. We are headed to Kyoto this weekend to get a taste of old Japan via overnight bus. In the meantime I have to figure out how to get to Tokyo Bay and learn about the history of the shipping industry in Japan.