I love this country. today I got to experience for the first time what a Japanese person has to go through to get to work in the morning by Tokyo metro.
At the station, it’s insanely busy, but the people are cued up very neatly to get into the carriage. Although, that last part seems to be a bit optimistic. When the train arrives, you would think that not even Hello Kitty would fit in, but then you are so, so wrong.
Perhaps only 2 people get off, but through each door about 20 people get back in. The first ones that get in push the people a bit further in, the last ones get in backwards and squish everything nicely. Then the doors close, if that goes alright, otherwise a man wearing white gloves rushed up to push you a bit further in.
Only then the whole circus gets to leave.
It took me two metro’s to get in (they arrive pretty quickly after another), but I just couldn’t stop laughing and had to film it all. Fun for when I’m back.
Eventually I got on, against the black-white-grey masses (you will only see these colours). I found it interesting that even though it was so crazy busy, you hardly heard anyone. Nobody seems to talk (I think oxygen is scarce here) and most people are frankly still asleep.
That’s another thing that stood out for me: in the metro you’ve got two rows of seats opposite of each other (in the length of the carriage) and almost everyone bobs their heads down while sleeping. Nobody seems to care what anyone thinks of them, and that’s a good thing I guess. You want to wear a mouth cover? Be my guest! You want to chew food loudly? The louder, the better! Are you a 50-years old male but still feel like a child? Then you can have your pink phone and read comic books in public!
Nothing is strange here.
Yes, apart from me of course, but then again I keep on walking on the wrong side of the stairs (they drive and walk on the left side, I’ve noticed ‘just’ after two days, oh boy, I’m quick) and I’ve had my train ticket eaten by the ticket machine twice already, after which the whole machine needs to be pulled apart (tickets go in length-wise, not sideways and they can’t really handle sweaty palms it seems)
WORD OF THE DAY: arrigato gozaimas – thank you very much.
Highlights in Tsukiji: The Fishmarket
Ah well, I got off at Tsukiji station, where I visited the fishmarket early in the morning.
It was already very crowded when I arrived: cars, pedestrians, men with carts, male fish mongers (I only saw about 5 women), electrical cart driving around big containers of fish and all-in-all 1 Dutch chick taking photos while trying to not be killed by something:
Being Decadent in Ginza
After the market (you will never get that smell from your clothes, mom you would have LOVED it here, ahem) I walked to Ginza, the rich-people-neighbourhood of Tokyo.
Wo ist Gucci? Stuff like that.
After a couple of department stores with clothes that where way too expensive for me, I ran out screaming. The only thing I liked were the top floors of the buildings. At one, there was a small exhibition on beautiful kimonos and at another there was an entire pet shop with a golf course on the roof next to it!
A visit to the emperor
After Ginza, I took the metro to the neighbourhood Marunouchi. There was a so-called ‘cow parade’ happening: through the entire neighbourhood you could find life-sized cows, each painted differently by artists:
I had a nice lunch in the palace gardens, where I had fun little ‘talk’ with a Japanese grandpa who came to say hi. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Lost in Translation’, think about the hospital scene and you’ll know exactly how this conversation went, haha.
After this I visited the palace, well, I saw it in the distance, you can’t really get too close. Then I had a bit of a rest on a bench, because the weather is 30 degrees C and the sun came through, as did the mosquitoes. It was such sticky weather! Think about how it feels when you try to put your clothes on after taking a hot and steamy shower, it’s almost impossible.
Incredible view over Tokyo
In the park, I met Tom from London (who told me he’d almost spend his entire day budget on bottled water, as apparently he didn’t know the water is perfectly fine here, ah well). Together we went to the Marunouchi-building, went to the top floor and had an incredible view over the city, wow!
Let’s de-noodle for a bit
Now I was truly exhausted and so I went to the hostel to rest for a bit.
On my way there, I got some food from the supermarket, a microwave meal, but then with noodles, egg and bacon, looked great. The girl behind the till asked me something in Japanese, which I though was something like do you want a bag? So I replied with hai, arrigato (I arrigato my way around!) and then she heated the meal for me. Well have you ever.
That was a nice surprise. So I could go back and eat right away, which was nice, because I realized when I returned to the hostel that I’d been walking 18,57 km today. That’s 22567 steps! Nice. I decided to go to bed early.
noodles today? or perhaps noodles?
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This blog originally appeared on www.nienkeinaustralie.blogspot.com – 8 September 2006