My Ramble

Visiting Tokyo, a travelogue

 

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It happened so soon, so fast and so suddenly that even snuggler was amazed. Boss called me in to his office and asked if I had a valid passport, I said yes, next thing he tells me I am going to Japan. I am like Smile. What the …. are you serious? I wanted to ask him if this was a bad joke, if this was some weird antic at getting even with me, if this was really his dark side playing on me, if this was just a painful joke under his very sober guise. What the … Next up the administration guy walked in with a thick wad of papers, asking me to fill them up and turn in immediately. Then the visas, then tickets, everything was moving at the speed of light. Three weeks later, this scribe, with a ruck sack on his shoulders, wearing an old Levis, an Old Navy hoodie and a pair of Nikes, boarded the Thai Airways jet for Tokyo!!! 

I will skip whatever happened en-route, but on arrival I found Tokyo to be the most amazing city I have even been to. Next two weeks, the loner explored the city like a tiger on the prowl. After work hours, the Levis, Nikes and ruck sack were my partners. Man oh man, what a place it is. I am not very well traveled but I have been to UK, USA, China, Turkey, UAE and Saudia. But ladies and gents, Tokyo (Read Japan) is amazing.

You know I could write a small book about it someday, but to make things simple let me tell you that the WOW factor was simply too big. I will tell you just the highlights or the things that made this scribbler go gaga.

  • Japanese are the most amazing and humblest of people I have ever known. I found them to be very respectful towards each other as well us aliens. Not a single day did I find anyone raising his/her voice, quarreling or talking without bowing or a smile. They will stand in long queues without showing any hint of impatience. I was at this Café trying to make the seller understand that I wanted Japanese food without ham, this took me more than five minutes during which the line behind me grew but no one showed any restlessness, not even a stare. WOW factor 10.
  • The place is uber-clean inside out. Japanese are very clean people and this trait is displayed everywhere, in the offices, house, streets, parks, hotels, hospitals. Their personal hygiene is also a par above the various races that I have seen or met. The schools do not have janitors!!! All cleaning is done by the students and the staff.
  • There’s very little or no concept of a tip in Japan. A simple Arigato will do the job Smile And at places people might even take offense on being tipped.
  • There’s too much technology in everything. The last time I got impressed was in the US, those guys had a technology freak like me going crazy, but in Japan I went super crazy. The buses have WiFi, the underground trains have WIFi, the ticketing system is perfect, the stations are announced besides a visual on LCD screen, the machines accept currency notes and give back coins, the currency exchange machines work in a similar way, Taxi doors open automatically, WOW factor 10! And the most wonderful thing is the washlet (bidet), which washes your derrière after the dirty business. What’s even amazing is that there are separate settings for ladies and gents owing to the location of the orifice in both cases, the damn thing even has a seat warmer and a deodorizer function Smile
  • Japanese are masters in crafts and arts. The parks are, museums, and public places are tastefully decorated. Japanese memorabilia is simply amazing.
  • Japanese are very punctual, I saw train timings like 9:11 am , or 10:23 pm etc, and believe me the train would arrive on the dot. How do they do it?  I am still amazed. The average delay per train is 18 seconds!!!
  • Honesty and truthfulness is a trait which the Japanese honor and practice. In fact I believe their lives are based on this principle. The high quality of goods produced is a testament to their untiring efforts and beliefs. Japanese people always strive for perfection.  With a literacy rate of 100 % what else can one expect.
  • Despite getting 1500 earthquakes the country has learned to design earthquake resistant buildings.
  • Life expectancy is increasing every year, its common to see old people and in fact very old people.
  • The country consists of about 6800 islands!
  • You can find almost everything being sold through vending machines, food, condoms, drinks, etc etc.
  • Tokyo is the safest city in the world. The crime rate is virtually zero!
  • Japan IMHO is a near perfect society.
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