mangosteen: (allwork)
[personal profile] mangosteen
I'm in Tokyo for the next week or so. Having flown in yesterday evening, the jetlag beast has triumphed in ways that I've not experienced in years, so here's a couple of random observations from way too early in the morning:

Streams: In Tokyo Central Station, people moved in streams. Being a bit taller than the average bear around here, I could get a really good view of it. Outside a stream, motion would seem completely unpredictable and frustrating. Inside a stream, you could move at full speed through the station. This then became a game of looking at overhead signs, looking at the people beneath them, and seeing if the stream you were in was going to take you there.

Coins: Japan is a very cash-based society; credit cards exist, but you can't assume anyone smaller than a big store chain is going to take them. Combine that with the smallest bank note being ¥1000 (~$9), and it's easy to accumulate coinage at a rather astounding rate. This brings Change Management to a whole new level.

90% Clever: If you're traveling from the US or Canada, the good news is that you don't need plug adapters, and most modern switching power supplies will handle the change in voltage/cycles. The bad news is that no outlets have a third hole for the grounding pin, which means that your typical three-prong laptop power adapter may not fit. I can neither confirm nor deny that this may have happened to the author.

Packaging: I've finally had my first moment of "not buying some food object because I was vaguely freaked out by the amount of packaging they were going to swaddle it in." I get it. It makes sense. Space is at a premium, so consumable gifts are a thing, so a lot of things that I would not normally consider gifts, are. And yet.... HOLY CRAP IT'S JUST A CREAM PUFF!

Food: Random fried meat cutlet with curry and rice is a comfort food of mine, but it was not until yesterday when I discovered that adding on diced pineapple, scallions, chopped peanuts, and a couple of dashes of hot sauce was a Thing of Beauty. That restaurant gave me the opportunity to make my comfort food comfier!

So that was the first couple of hours wandering around Tokyo Station. More later. I should attempt to get back to sleep.

Date: 2014-11-09 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I remember the huge amount of coins I amassed in Tokyo. Enjoy your time there. It's a truly surreal place, and one I miss!

Date: 2014-11-09 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Streams: In Tokyo Central Station, people moved in streams. Being a bit taller than the average bear around here, I could get a really good view of it. Outside a stream, motion would seem completely unpredictable and frustrating.

Also true in most of the big stations in the States I've been in, although there are usually a percentage of clueless tourists messing up the flow. :-)

Date: 2014-11-09 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How cool to read details about a place I've never seen. Thank you for posting about this!

(also, how cool that you are in Tokyo in the first place)

Date: 2014-11-09 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I find that I am a bit less appalled by the over-packaging when I remember that Japan has a high recycling rate, and what they don't recycle they mostly incinerate so there is energy recovery from the packaging and no landfill. If it's paper packaging that's a good outcome.

Date: 2014-11-10 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man. You are going to love Tokyo. LOVE. Take NYC, remove 90% of the (non-white-collar) crime and then make it SEVEN TIMES LARGER. It's insane in all of the best possible ways.

Only a week? Sigh. Roppongi. Akihabara. Harajuku. And if at all possible, Koenji.

If at any point you find yourself wondering "what should I do?" immediately pull out the Tokyo Damage Guide.

Date: 2014-11-10 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and Shibuya. You have not experienced that Japanese Pop Culture Particle Accellerator Effect until you've spent an afternoon wandering slackjawed through the 109.

If it's still around, Pink Dragon (1 Chome-23-23 Shibuya) is the world's only multilevel rockabilly shopping mall.

Date: 2014-11-10 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you have a chunk of several hours free and you are in any way a Miyazaki fan, go to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka City. It's a magical experience. You have to buy tickets at weird little machines only at Lawson convenience stores (it's so bizarre) but it's worth it. (I got the store clerk to help me buy tickets because there wasn't much English at the machine.)

Date: 2014-11-10 06:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have heard interesting things about the bathrooms in Japan. Please tell us if this is true!

Date: 2014-11-10 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You did luck out on the exchange rate being triple digits. (It was as low as 69 yen/dollar at one point.) Definitely have some okonomiyaki for us.

Date: 2014-11-11 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't notice streams when I was there, but I was there as a tourist on a "family" schedule. I loved the transpo and how everything inside the subway is labelled so you know exactly where you are getting off and where each exit is and where the stairs/escalator/elevators are.

It was weird carrying around huge amounts of cash in general (coins or otherwise).

Date: 2014-11-20 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I used to routinely lug around hundreds, or on some days, thousands of dollars' worth of yen notes. In some ways, I liked the concreteness of spending money in Japan. As for the coins, everyone always comments on that. :)
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