Tokyo Journals

Come to Japan, even if you don't speak Japanese

A December 2008 trip to Tokyo by albernathy0

Vending machines Photo, Tokyo, Japan More Photos
Quote: My girlfriend wanted to share Japan with me, since she had studied abroad here for a year, loved the country, and had learned the language. I, myself, though partially Japanese, knew relatively little about the culture, and did not speak the language. I’m glad she shared this with me.
Vending machines Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Unnerving is when you can’t even ask for a napkin, say please (kudasai), excuse me (sumimasen), thank you (domo), or order for yourself. That was the word to describe how I felt the night I arrived in Tokyo, as I relied on my girl to order for me my first bowl of Japanese ramen. I had forgotten that sensation one gets when one is placed in a country whose language and culture is foreign. Last time I was in Chile I could speak Spanish and I never felt that particular fear of causing some unknown offense. In Japan, as I learned, it is very rude to blow your nose in public. Hygiene and public health are so important to the Japanese that sick people wear facial coverings to prevent the spread of their ger...Read More
Mt. Fuji Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
My feet brought me to the window, my eyes to eleganceI love putting together puzzles, most people do, too. I am not talking about the regular jigsaw piece puzzles, but they will serve when the time is right. I am never particularly aware that I am perpetually in the midst of a puzzle, though I recognize that it is a thing that I do, and actually that most all humans do. We are pattern makers.Life is not like the puzzle you can buy at Target, though it could be made similar if one were to not look at the box before starting the puzzle, and two, if one were to have a puzzle that included pieces that did not fit at all, belonged to ano...Read More

Onsen

Story/Tip

Relaxing after onsen Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Onsen is a Japanese style of bathing that is as much about relaxation as purification, both mental and physical.***I saw a long brimmed hat on the rack so I grabbed one and put myself into the waters.We wear those when it snows or rains, my friend told me. So I sat back and looked up at the sky. Nothing but blackness. What a sight it must be when it snows.Have you been in there yet? My friend asked me. His long outstretched finger pointing at a small glass enclosure.It was full of steam, it had the delight of like stepping into a shower. Do you know what this is for? My friend asked me. Above was a sign that said Eucalyptus Globulus. ...Read More

Omu-Risu!

Story/Tip

Alex approved food Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Yeah I thought I knew Japanese foods. Boy I was wrong. I’ve eaten in Japanese restaurants all my life, but I’ve never encountered the foods that I did over there. I thought it was mostly the usual stuff you find: ramen, sushi, yakisoba, eel. .. But there’s so much more.There’s this thing called "omu-risu," it’s a portmanteau of the words omelet and rice. It’s ketchup rice wrapped in an omelet egg covering, and on top you can put various sauces like meat, curry, a white sauce, whatever. I had the opportunity to try it the on the first night but I wasn’t feeling the ketchup rice, it was a little too much for me to handle on the first night, so i waited a few days till one morning when ...Read More

Everyday Japan

Story/Tip

Octopus in the your supermarket! Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Supermarkets? You want to know about supermarkets? Well, alright.So, in Japan, shopping carts aren't like the shopping carts here in America. They are actually just hand baskets on wheels. You grab a hand basket and you load it into a cart, or actually, a stand with wheels. So you can't put very much in your cart.You'll find weird Hello Kitty shaped packaged meats, that actually seem more like cat food, really. In the frozen section you'll see beautiful packages of purple octopi. In the produce section there will be large apples bigger than your fist that sell two for a dollar. You can buy the ones that have been hit with hail...Read More

Trains in Tokyo

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

The Ramen Machine! Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
The trains can be a pretty overwhelming experience for those that don’t speak Japanese. Heck, it can be pretty tough for those that do. The stations are clean, modern. The trains are quiet and on time.You can’t get anywhere in Tokyo without using the trains.Tickets are sold by the distance you travel. Which is unfortunate, since when I was in Chile I could travel the entirety of Santiago’s metro for about thirty cents. In Japan the shortest distance, from one station to another, cost two or three dollars. Transportation really adds up in Japan.But, I really liked the trains, which was fortunate, since they are essential for moving around Tokyo. They are, as n...Read More