Lester's Travels

Last word on Tokyo

As I mentioned before, last week I spent the week in Tokyo. What I love about Japan is they way they have embraced technology in absolutely everything. When we arrived at Narita airport we were faced with the task of getting to central Tokyo. A cab was out the question as it’s a good distance away. Probably twice as far as London to Gatwick, so the only option was a train.

Our first task was to buy a ticket which was actually very easy, the hardest bit about it was figuring out what train we needed. We wanted to go to Roppongi but if you look at the picture below you’ll see the challenge.


Our first though was we were looking at a wiring diagram for a new motherboard or other electronic component. It’s a bit of a beast. As luck always has it, we were located in the top right corner and need to get the bottom left but there was no direct line. I don’t know about you but I for one am not adventurous enough after a 13 hour flight to drag my bags around different tube lines trying to get to my destination. So we hit on the plan of getting the train to Tokyo and getting a taxi.

Not having a clue about the local currency we both took out 5000 yen and had the distinct impression that our mortgages would be bouncing and our bank managers would shortly be ringing our mobiles. After paying for our train ticket which cost 2000 yen we started to think what an expensive place Tokyo was.

The train was our first experience of gratuitous use of technology, when it arrived all the seats on the train were facing the wrong way, ie facing towards the back to the train. No problem, before our very eyes the seats slowly spun around to face forwards. Very nice. At one point we tried to board the train and had the guard who reminded me of a young David Carradine running up the train screaming at us. We left in fits of laughter.

Once we arrived at out destination we went hunting for a taxi. Taxi’s in Tokyo are very easy as 9 in 10 cars on the road are taxi’s. My first though was “oh my god I want one of those GRPS systems”. It had the most amazing screen and the detail on it was fantastic. The only thing it was missing was pedestrians walking around on the screen.</a>

Another thing about the taxi’s is the doors open and close themselves. As a passenger you needed dirty you hands on touching the doors, they just open for you and close for you when you reach your destination.

No one in Tokyo expects a tip which was just as well. After dragging my bag 6000 miles though London, though airports and across Tokyo, you have to feel sorry for the poor guy that carries the bag the last 30 feet to your room right? Well when the guy brought my bag up to the room I was going to give him 100 yen tip, I though what they hell you deserve it.

I found out later that 100 yen is roughly equivalent to £0.41 pence.

Just two more random thoughts
1) the final use of gratuitous technology was the heated toilet seat.

2) I had the most expensive steak in the world. Apparently these cows are reared by monks in the country side. Every day they are given a pint of beer followed by a 1 hour massage by the monks. It makes them really tender. Dunno about that but it made them really delicious.

One Response to “Last word on Tokyo”

  1. Del Boy says:

    Oh lord ,give me a cab that opens and closes it own doors so that the friday night drunks don,t have to spend 20 mins feeling for the door handle only to open the ash tray and dump all the rubbish on the floor .Then when they have made it out on to the pavement they have to slam it as if to prove their super human strength.

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