On top of the world in Tokyo
Trip Start Jul 20, 2007
46Trip End Ongoing
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Our first thought: if the backup fuel pump breaks, how many seconds before the plane becomes a floating brick? This was followed instantly by our second thought: If we miss the connecting flight in Vancouver, that means we'll miss out on Japan, Australia and end up, much to Melissa's disappointment, not seeing the promised kangaroo tied up in Colin's mum's backyard.
Fortunately, as you are reading this, the plane did not crash
After spending two days enjoying everything that Tokyo has to offer, all we can say is that we are very much enchanted by Japanese people and by this beautiful city. Our hotel room, on the 45th floor, has a stunning view of the city below. The Park Hyatt, located in the heart of the Shinjuku district, is where we are staying. This was the hotel that much of the movie 'Lost in Translation' was filmed in and it is really a beautiful place.
From the in depth view from our tour guide Mina, to walking lost amongst the neon city lights of Shinjuku, to traveling in a spiral up the multiple levels of the Sony store, to fighting the sweltering heat as we walked through the countless malls of the Ginza district. There is literally so much to do here that we intend to return for a much longer period and also during a cooler portion of the year.
There are a lot of differences between Western and Japanese cultures
10. There are 12 million people in Tokyo, which represents 10% of population of Japan and all in 1% of the land. Tokyo is a very crowded city.
9. Many bicycles, unlike Toronto, are left unlocked. People trust that no one will steal their bikes, as to do so would be dishonorable.
8. Tokyo is filled with streets that are on multiple levels, sometimes there are as many as three levels used. The purpose of this is to keep the traffic running smoothly and efficiently on arterial roads by doing away with traffic lights.
7. According to Mina, our deadpan tour guide: "Doctors say that the Gingko trees are good for your memory, so we must eat them before we forget."
6. Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world. This is due to their very healthy diet and their superlative health care system
5. On average a Japanese person will perform 50 bows a day. The Japanese do not shake hands as a bow is traditional and for them, means the same thing.
4. There are no forward facing seats on the local metro trains. This is to provide more room during rush hour for people to stand. For safety, a wall is erect between the train and the passengers. When the train has stopped, gates open up allowing the people to enter and exit the train. Mostly no one talks on their cell phones on the trains, instead they text message each other (out of politeness).
3. Due to limited space, Shops are built upwards (ie: Multiple levels) rather than across. The signs for each shop are listed vertically on each level of the building.
2. Japan is seismicly active. This was demonstrated at 4:15 this morning when we were shaken awake by a moderate 5.4 temblor (no damage or injury resulting, thankfully)
Next up we will arrive down under in Australia, to visit Colin's mum & brother!