Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tokyo Drift

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The 12 hour timezone shift from Halifax to Tokyo does a hard job on your body clock. From 2-4 PM each day, I want to lie down more than anything else. 12 hours later, in the middle of the night, I lie there awake. My body is forced to stand up/lie down to match the current timezone, but the brain has it's own clock...and it is pissed off.

Japan is a first-world country, but every society has it's people that fall thru the cracks. The city is the cleanest I have been in...yet no garbage cans anywhere...you are responsible for your own trash. Everyone waits patiently at crosswalks....unless someone like me crosses against the light...then a few others do as well. A very socially conforming society.

The picture above is taken by the Shibuya Station, a very rich shopping district. Just how did this guy end up here and why does he still have so much stuff. There are about 8 of these in the little section I was in. Japanese people are very polite and person to person theft is very rare. In such a conformist, group-oriented society, it would be too embarassing to be caught stealing from someone. So buddy has all his junk, and everyone, even the other down-on-your-luck people...leave him and his stuff alone.

The sushi here is top-notch

The food in Tokyo is amazing and you can get really good food at street stalls and sidewalk restaurants, just like in any big city. I am in a small town now and the quality has dropped with the price going up for a very basic meal

Anne Hostel, NE of Tokyo Station

The hostel was pretty cool. Will stay there when I fly out in 2 weeks. I was in a 12 bed dorm that was 10' by 18'...basically bunk beds and a 2 foot walkway.The mix was global..2 Japanese girls, 2 American girls, guy from Spain, a few Aussies, a German, a Brit and me. The mix changed everyday and some of us ended hanging out together. There was a free, light breakfast in the common room and you got to meet the rest of the hostel 'croo then or for drinks in the evening.

Tokyo Subway and Above Ground System

The train/subway system is mind-boggling. It serves 33,000,000 people...yes that is the population of Canada! Very little English, but enough to let you know when you have messed up. Been lost a few times already. Really lost today, but not in Tokyo. If you are lucky, you can find one of these with English names to work with. The subway lines are owned by different companies, so you either by a bulk pass, or tickets at each switchover. That being said, the station masters and people you ask for help are very friendly tho their the English is limited. It is a learning process. I am now 100 kms or so outside Tokyo and the train trip held lots of little surprises.

Bicycle Parking Lot

The bike traffic in this city is astounding, bike parking lots everywhere, bikes on all the sidewalks (altho reading today about the amount of bike/pedestrian accidents) You have to be alert when walking, because the bikes weave in and out of foot traffic at quite a good clip. since theft is rare, the bikes lock to themselves but not to any post or fence. Of course, 90% of the bikes are the same commuter model...like a said...a very conformist society.

Love big cities...for awhile...then your head gets too full and you have to leave. In a small town now, decompressing, getting in some hiking.


  1. That sushi is making me drool.

    Let me know if you plan to go as far north as Hokkaido - my sister and her family live there, and I think you two would have some great conversations. She's often quite busy, but even if she can't meet up I'm sure she'd have some good recommendations of what to see/do there.

    Looking forward to catching up in the next couple of months...(?)

  2. Bruce, you are an amazing traveller. You are so interested in all aspects of everything you see and do. I enjoy your blogs. Stay safe!