blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First impressions of Tokyo

The Japanese flag
I thought that this morning's daybreak (seen from 35000'), with the red sun rising in the east beyond a low layer of deep red-orange stratus, was very appropriate for our approach to Japan. When we landed, our border checks were handled with aplomb by the immigration officers so that we got through to the luggage hall within a few minutes and at the other side of the gates we were met by Chris' colleague Hayato, a welcome we hadn't expected. He gave us some maps and brochures, helped us rent a phone for me and buy return tickets for the "Airport Limousine" bus. Our hotel is adjacent to its terminal, the "TCAT" at Suitengumai metro station.

Leaving the airport
Beaches on the coast to the north of the city. Endless skyscrapers, one canal after another. The ticket collector at each bus stop bowed politely to the bus driver. A clean, efficient look to the city. What deferential people! All citizens we've spoken to so far speak English. Many people wear face marks for fear of catching the flu. A "Happy Honda" factory, rice paddies between the built up areas, a series of toll gates, and Tokyo Bay surrounded with cranes. Mother and child in kimonos sharing the lift with us. A French cafe in the airport Bus Terminal where there was a well used smoking section. No Diet Coke with caffeine for Chris, only bottles of Coke Zero. In our hotel bathroom (far too small for Chris) is a heated toilet seat and a device that automatically "rinses your posterior with warm water" when you sit on it and press the button with the fountain symbol.

This afternoon we walked along the banks of the Sumida River which was nicer than the dark street with all its crossings below the spaghetti-like flyover next to where we're staying. Everything is neat and tidy, even the cardboard box houses constructed by the homeless people who live under a bridge near here.

No comments: