Tokyo Archives

August 15, 2004

Tokyo Or Bust

Well I arrived in Japan after 13+ hours on a plane. My experience at JFK Airport was as painless as I had hoped, what with Internet check-in in advance; it was virtually line-free!

A few quick first impressions before my jet-lagged body crashes:

Arriving in August, it strikes me that it's 59 years almost to the date that Japan surrendered to the U.S. to end the Pacific War. The Japanese remain perfectly friendly toward their one-time American conquerers, however.

Good ol' American cultural imperialism was certainly in evidence on the train ride from Narita Airport: along the way into the city, amidst the rice paddies I saw The Sports Authority, am/pm, Toys "R" Us, and of course the ubiquitous Starbucks.

Watching baseball and the Olympics on Japanese television is fun, even if I have no idea what is going on in the commentary. Sport really is a universal language, though. Last time I was here in 1998, I saw the Nagano Winter Games--both in person and on TV--so I guess that makes me a veteran of such spectating.

Hoisted By His Own Petard

Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" today is very funny, though the humor is not of Trudeau's creation this time. Check it out here.

August 16, 2004

Tokyo By Night

Wandering through the streets of Tokyo, I felt like I was in a cross between Times Square and the set of Blade Runner. One notable change since I was last here six years ago: apparently you can no longer buy beer from vending machines on the street. Perhaps it's the high school teacher in me, but I always found such easy availability of alcohol to be asking for trouble.

August 17, 2004


Spent the day poking aroud Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Kamakura, a seaside village not far from Tokyo that was an ancient capital of Japan. I did a LOT of walking today and treated myself to dinner at an Outback Steakhouse in Shibuya before collapsing in a tub back at my hotel.

August 18, 2004

My Hotel Room

Some nice features in my hotel room here in Tokyo:

There is a speaker in the bathroom that carries the audio feed from the television. So I can listen to CNN while enjoying a bath or brushing my teeth.

As is the case in many hotel bathrooms, there is a wall-to-wall mirror above the vanity sink, across from the bathtub. What I noticed here is that after a shower, when the mirror is all fogged up, there is a rectangle just above the sink that is somehow fog-free, just where you would want to look for shaving and such. Very cool.

Broadband Internet access in every room. Hence my being able to post this.

August 21, 2004


I am struck by how good public transportation is in other countries. I have been using a a rail pass in Japan this week, which enables me to travel anywhere in the country via shinksansen, the bullet trains, as well as around Tokyo. As I observed while touring in France and the U.K. in June, in countries that care about public transport, trains are punctual, efficient, clean, and convenient. And unlike my stay in Paris, my hotels in both Tokyo and Kyoto have been mere steps away from the train station, which has minimized the need to lug my luggage through the city--a factor that contributed to my missing my Eurostar train back to Paris (though it was easy enough to take the next departure, it turned out).

August 22, 2004

Land of the Rising Sun

I've been given a deluxe insider's view of Tokyo the past day and a half, courtesy of 1992 Choate grad Yasuo Hinoki and his fiancee Aki. Had my first samplng of shabu shabu at lunch today (it's what I would call beef fondue!).

About Tokyo

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to As Far As You Know in the Tokyo category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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