Back in Tokyo

It was a nice four hour ride on a Shinkansen train (felt more like a flight) from Hiroshima to Tokyo. While at the Tokyo station I found a ticket office and bought a Narita Express ticket to the airport for tomorrow. Speaking of tickets, in Japan in order to get to a train or a subway line you need to present a ticket to a machine or a station officer. But for some reason you must surrender your ticket when you go through the exit gate at the end of your trip. So hold on to your ticket till you need to pass through the exit gate! It is the same on the long distance (highway) bus. You show your ticket when you get in and surrender it to a driver when you get out. What about business travelers and their expense reports?

I had a good printout of the Google Maps route from Tokyo train station to my Grand Prince Hotel. It was a pleasant one hour walk through some of the familiar places including the Imperial Garden with scores of runners. At the reception desk after some confusion they told me that I actually booked a different Grand Prince Hotel which is located in the southern part of Tokyo. So I took a taxi.

This hotel is located near Shinagawa train station. The area is pretty urban with a lot of high-rise buildings and lots of places to shop and eat. It is full of people. I took a train to Tokyo as practice for tomorrow.

And now a couple of generic observations. Japanese people are good in making lines. At bus and streetcar stops and at train platforms the painted footprints mark the beginning of the line to each car. They even line-up (a 30 yard line) for a short escalator when there is no line to walk up the stairs for less than a minute just next to it. And they like uniforms. Tokyo - Local Train Parking attendants look like police officers. Every construction site has at least two uniformed people in front of the site entrance which do nothing but once in a while stop the human traffic on a sidewalk when occasionally the car pools in or out. Even taxi cab drivers are dressed like an airliner captains. Poor office workers are dressed in their dark suits in such scorching heat.

Lastly it is with the feeling of sadness I have to acknowledge that the food selection and service seem to be better here in Japan than back home in the US. Two live soccer game broadcasts are going on TV (Japanese league) right now. So I better watch...