Monday, November 9, 2009

Yokoso Japan! - Day 1 (Imperial Palace)

"Besides, if we wanted to see Japanese people we could have gone to the zoo!" - Homer Simpson

Well, it's not exactly the best way to begin a post, but believe you me, Japan is the furthest thing away you can imagine from being a zoo. As I discovered on my recent trip this year, everything in Japan is well thought out, structured to the point of being a wee bit anal and super organized. 

The people there are considerate (there are exceptions which I will elaborate on a little later) but overall Japan has to be one of the most 'polite' places I have ever been to!

My journey in Japan begin at the Narita Airport where we took a feeder bus to Tokyo, more particularly the Shinjuku district where me and Wai Ling would be staying. This gave rise to my first encounter with the 'politeness' of Japan where after boarding our bus, our ushers bow to us before we took our leave.

We managed to find our way to our hotel speaking the minimum of Japanese. A 5 minute cab ride from the bus terminal (which was the Shijuku station) costs us almost 1000 Yen(RM38). Phew, public transport in Japan is apparently one of the most expensive in the world!

As our hotel room was not ready until 3p.m., we decided to take a look see around the town. We managed to get to the Imperial Park and wanted to head on to the Imperial Palace only to find out that tours there were by appointments only and that an advance booking had to be made. Undeterred we enjoyed the lovely park. With great weather, we joined in the Japanese in lying  around on the soft grass..

In the evening, many Japanese just ride their bikes to the park, leave it by the side of the walkway and take a nap on the grass. The city is so safe that they rarely lock their bikes as well!

We met with my Wai Ling's ex-bosses for dinner (who are based in Japan) who took us for a lovely meal.We ended the night with an 'accidental' walk thru Tokyo's infamous red light district (Kabuki-Cho) which bordered our hotel area. Incredibly, even the prostitution industry in Japan is well organized with any type of girls available for 'order'at any time of the day. Just inform them of your 'preference'. Each brothel was staffed by men in black suits which look like the Yakuza guys you seen in movies like 'Black Rain'. An African man solicited me in English asking me to go in to one of the shops for a 'party' despite Wai Ling being wrapped tightly around my arm. Hmmm...not too observant or just hungry for business.  No pics of this place for obvious reasons....So sorry.

Feeling the area was a bit dodgy, Wai Ling and I hurried back to our hotel to prepare for our next day. At the hotel, we managed to take our shower in the smallest bathroom I had ever seen. On the bright side, the toilet had a seat, the warmth of which you could control. Like I said, the Japanese think of and prepare for everything!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure my ex-bosses won't be amused with Homer's quote.. ;)