Off to Tokyo on the Shinkansen, the Bullet Train.
These trains are fantastic, the seats are really comfortable , the ride is really smooth. Despite how fast they move there is no way to have a sense of the speed until you try to read a station sign – it’s hard enough to even see that there a station there! A few stations later and we are in Tokyo…
Gone are the really friendly people of Osaka. The people aren’t unfriendly, but there is a strong difference to before. We are now in a commercial area and it shows. Seas of grey and black suits, people sleeping constantly whenever they sit down from obviously working too much. The trains at midnight here are full of people coming home from work. The stations are immense and complicated, the multiple train companies mean you have to work out which company station to go into as well as which track to take! I saw locals struggling looking at the map so I didn’t feel too bad about taking 10 minutes every time to work out where I had to go 🙂
At least we started with some fantastic food before too much time on the trains.
Masako translated some of the huge number of signs that line the inside of the trains; one about ho to leave work by 8 to see your family, one about holidays with Jetstar to Australia, lots and lots about cigarettes.
The smoking here is a hard to take, it isn’t just after dinner, every restaurant is full of men and women smoking while eating! We decided to try and eat outdoors whenever we can, again there is not many cars so it will be much nicer that way.
I was curious to see Tokyo Bay, so while Masako went to visit her mother in Yokohama I took the monorail down to Daibo to look around. This area has some amazing buildings, along with a Statue of Liberty – even with a Brooklyn Bridge copy going into town! The day was really windy and cold so there wasn’t anyone to speak of on the beach, nice sand, but small – particularly for 8 million Tokyo-ites ; we are spoilt in Sydney.
I am beginning to see some of the ‘unusual’ Japanese habits we have ideas about in Australia here, immense screens showing loads of different game shows on building sides, looking like kids shows but with adults in them. The hotel has bowling alleys, an aquarium, even a roller-coaster inside it!
Masako hasn’t lived in Tokyo for 10 years, and this area pretty much shows lots of the reasons she said she left in the first place. She is finding the huge numbers of grey,unhappy looking people as slightly depressing as I am.
Tomorrow we are off to Shibuya, this is a young area rather than commercial, I am expecting it to be very different!