Thursday, November 1, 2012

10 Impressions from the City of Tokyo

I always imagined Tokyo as crowded, noisy, fast paced and expensive – the urban city life that we look to run away from.  However, the 3 days that I spent in Tokyo changed that perception of mine.

Tokyo - The capital of Japan
Tokyo - The Capital of Japan

Although 3 days are never enough to outline the complete character of a city yet they can sometimes leave you with impressions that are more than enough to delight your travel bone and tease you for more. So then, here go my impressions for the city of Tokyo -

1. Zebra crossing

As a child, I was always taught the importance of zebra crossing. But having grown up on the reckless traffic scenes of Mumbai, I never quite understood what it meant till I made it to my first international destination - Japan defined it for me.


People never cross the roads before the signal turns green
even in the absence of any vehicle coming

I turned right and I turned left, no vehicle in sight. Generally I wouldn't care of the color of the signal and simply cross. But not when I was in Tokyo. Traffic Signals are given their due respect and adhered to, both by the vehicles as well as the people.

2. Love for Nature

Pedestrian pathways and roadways full of flowers, Tokyo - Japan
Pedestrian pathways lined with lovely flowers

Nature was ingrained in the very lanes and by lanes of Japan. The pedestrian pathways were lined with beautiful flowers that made me feel as if I was walking in some garden and not on the roads.

3. Dearth of space

I don’t know if my analysis holds any good ground but I did apply my own logic to figure out the reason behind Japan's 'Lack of Space'. It's because people here do not encroach upon the space of nature and remain satisfied with their share, even if that means creating a shortage of space for their own houses and homes.


Pedestrian pathways and roadways, Tokyo - Japan

Otherwise, tell me - how can one come across beautiful and spacious gardens and well laid out pedestrian pathways like these in a space crunched city like Tokyo?

4. Good English speaking skills

Contrary to their image of poor English speaking skills, Japanese (in general) can speak and understand English very well. Just that we need to be slow and give them their time to take our words in. And then, what do I say of their zeal to help? It is such that it can surpass any language barrier!

5. Fashion conscious youngsters


I found people here to be very fashion conscious especially the young generation.

6. High civic sense woven in the culture

Polite staff officers of Japan
This kind station officer came running to me outside
to return my camera which I had forgotten at his place

There is a great sense of civic duty and they are not thinking of ways to pounce on each another. Hence, people go out of their way to help, your things never get lost as they are quickly returned back to you and people generally don’t interfere in other's business.

7. Cellphones: Handy toy

People cannot live without their cellphones, if I can say so.


People stuck to their cell phones - Tokyo, Japan

I saw the Japanese constantly sticking out with their phones while my stay in Tokyo and was often left wondering, what exactly they were doing - chatting, reading anime, texting or playing a game?

8. Supermarkets: One of the best places to shop


A mineral bottle from a super market - Tokyo, Japan

A bigger sized mineral water bottle in a supermarket store is a lot cheaper than a mini water bottle that you get in a vending machine. We were very happy to discover this bit by ourselves, as it did save us quite a lot of bucks at the end of our trip!

9. Lack of pure vegetarian eating options

Pure vegetarian restaurants are hard to spot in the city. But there is a lot of variety in fruits that you get in the supermarket stores all over the city.

Fruits at a supermarket store in Tokyo
Delicious fruits at the supermarket store

Apart from Govinda’s in the ISKCON temple, someone told us of one pure vegetarian restaurant standing in the Ginza district but unfortunately, we could never make it there.

10. Silent subway trains

One amusing thing that I noticed during my subway train rides were that the trains were generally eerily silent at most of the times.


Trains silent most of the times - Japan

But there was less of oral communication and people preferred sticking to their mobile phones, reading a book or a newspaper. It looked a bit weird at first but gradually I found it charming.

Tokyo, being a cosmopolitan city, had it all – tall sky scrapers, big offices, blitzy malls - yet for me, the city was different. Tokyo was about many things that I never imagined it to be. The city had many faces to it and it gave me the liberty to choose my own window of vision. I chose mine and all I can say is that I have come back only longing for more!


Would you like to share this article with your friends?

93 comments:

  1. The information provided by you in this series will help me in February next when a Japanese family is expected to visit us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds fascinating Arti! Just like i imagine Tokyo to be. You were so lucky to have this trip - and you've made the most of it! Happy sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the role that the Japanese people place on nature. Their amazing gardens are a testament to that and one of the main reasons I'd like to visit the country. Some interesting observations Arti.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have discovered many wonderful things about Tokyo that were very enlightening. Thank you for sharing your observances with us to dispel some of the myths. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Unless you visit a place all those beliefs about the same are so unsure.
    Nice one.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really nice account. A travel freak myself, I often make similar accounts of the places I visit as well. And yes, this post has cleared up some misconceptions I had about Japan too.
    And, the last point about trains being eerily silent. Compared to the trains in Mumbai, any other railway network in the world would pale in comparison in terms of the rush and the bustle!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Vegetable tempura is the only veg japanese food I can think of... oh wait, miso soup too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Arti, I am sure it must have been a cultural shock for you to see so much orderliness:)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Subways in Washington, D.C., which much like that. A lot of quiet, little interaction.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Arti, you have mentioned (almost) everything that Japan has and Mumbai (or, to generalize - India) doesn't have.. Hospitality my be common to both countries though.. Loved the traffic discipline part and silent trains :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Arti Good morning. Great to read you post, Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. interesting post...

    most of them are we have to follow...

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nice list. I was surprised that many Japanese can speak and understand English. I think that we should improve our English much more. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. ¸.•°✿⊱╮
    °✿ Olá!

    Gostei do post e das fotos.

    Ótimo mês de novembro para você.
    Bom fim de semana!
    Beijinhos do Brasil.°✿
    ♫•*¨*•.¸¸✿✿¸¸.•*¨*•♫

    ReplyDelete
  15. Loved the points here. We do live believing the falsified images. I too believed Tokyo was congested, the people introverts. Your travelogue has shattered so many myths, Arti. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  16. yeah I remember when i went to india after a long time , I was drving the car and I stopped at a zebra crossing to let pedestrians go.. oh boy the amount of horns I listened :)


    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very nice list! You've made me smile in the first one- "I turned right and I turned left, no vehicle in sight..."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great narrative, Arti. I agree with you 100%.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would love to visit there...
    someday.

    ReplyDelete
  20. thanks for sharing Arti, I alwayas have admired Japanese for their respect to the law and nature around them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lovely photographic description about Tokyo...

    ReplyDelete
  22. Singapore's trains are eerily silent as well even at peak hour. The only words spoken are "excuse me". Head phones and E readers maintain the silence.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very interesting observations Arti. I've never visited, but from what I've seen and from what you've shared, even though it's such a giant city, it's so well maintained and organized. Nice to see beautiful flowers on the side of the street!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi! I feel happy that you like Tokyo.
    Tokyo is the best city for me.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I definitely want to visit - but as a vegetarian would it be too difficult?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Such an interesting summary of what you learned in your international travel! And at the end, that's the one trouble with travel all together -- there are so many wonderful new places to go but when you fall in love with a place, you want to go back!!

    Luckily you are young enough to do some of both!

    ReplyDelete
  27. It is always enlightening to see how other cultures live, and you Arti have a gift of sharing this with us, your readers.
    Enjoy your Sunday, answered your query about the seat on my blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. That is fascinating information! I love my fresh fruits and vegetables here..

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi, Arti! Thank you for this post that you dispelled some myths about Tokyo and Japan. Regarding small housing, your assumption about people’s attitude is so sweet. I think you’re right partly but practically due to high prices of land. I’m one of the passengers who is silent in a train: I’m either reading a book or dozing off, zzzzz...,. in my routine visit to see my mother in Kobe.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
  30. Many things to learn for us. Most of us feel it symbol of confidence to break traffic rules. I loved the short analysis and pictures are expressing the impressions beautifully. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I landed here from BPOTW. I love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  32. you are the most excellent travel guide. I'm surprised at the lack of pure vegetarian eating options (and disappointed that the Japanese spend a lot of time looking down into their palms too). Most impressive is the dearth of space. I hope to one day visit Japan, as you've merely whetted my appetite. happy week to you Arti.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Arti,

    You were so lucky to have this trip and I enjoyed reading all your observations of Tokyo.
    It is just as I could imagine, as the people seem very considerate and beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Happy week
    hugs
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  34. Silent subway train, not to mention their comfortable seats - WOW. I wish I live in this side of the world.

    Have a great week ahead, my dear friend Arti. :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. @stardust Thanks for the reason Yoko, so that is the other side of the coin. What amazes me is that even then, the Japanese manage to make way for some gardening space in their houses and the space crunch thing is never felt by an outsider.

    @ladyfi It can be a bit difficult when it comes to food, for the vegetarians, as most of the dishes there contain fish as the base ingredient and one needs to be careful while buying food items. A bit of homework on vegan restaurants is recommended before stepping into Japan, something I missed out to do in Tokyo.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Wonderful post Arti.... and your observations are perfect. Some of the facts I knew earlier, but there were some which made me sit up and notice it - including the space bit.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Aarti,

    Great Stuff. Needs 5o discuss important things with you. Can I get your email address. So that I can send you the details.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  38. No 'sumo wrestling' incidents...? Japan is all about technology and ppl just cant be without it!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Nice analysis , wish to read all our other post on Japan soon .

    ReplyDelete
  40. This post summed up your Tokyo Journey beautifully.
    To the point I really liked it.
    My Fav point was the Zebra crossing one it is amazing, maybe we could also have something like it in our country.
    It would be amazing if you could add a post on the subject of food what have you eaten there in Japan. Looks you are a vegetarian like me too :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. @Santosh Missed out on sumo wrestling :( But as Sallie says – '...there are so many things to do and see, that is one trouble with travelling...' Next time, perhaps :)

    @Abhishek Bharadwaj I was in two minds of doing a post on food, since there isn't much to show. We largely survived on dry fruits, biscuits and fruits in Tokyo. However, Nara was a different story since I had my Japanese friends there to take care of me. Now that you have echoed this thought, will definitely try to include one towards the end of the series. Thank you for your suggestion :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Tokyo remains one of my all-time favorite cities. Amazingly clean & pleasant.

    ReplyDelete
  43. After every trip we come back with so much observation.. Great to know about Japan.. I had similar observations in Europe like I realized the presence of zebra crossing or for that matter people kept to themselves, busy with their gizmos or books..and definitely vegetarian food was difficult to find..

    ReplyDelete
  44. Such a beautiful description of such a beautiful place.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Well your summary of Tokyo certainly makes it a city one would enjoy visiting. I love they have the gardens and flowers through-out. Some cities when I am in them I just want to escape as all I see is concrete and building. I am glad you had such a wonderful stay there. I am so happy for you that you have the opportunities to visit these places and write about them. Have a wonderful week. Hugs Carrie

    ReplyDelete
  46. You are great observer Arti, about the cell phone i think it's similiar too here, sometime it's make me upset because feel like they don't care with situation around and just busy type :(

    ReplyDelete
  47. wonderful post!!!!

    I did a case study on Tokyo's city & urban planning and was really impressed by their positive attitude to create green spaces...on ground and above ground..they even try to do urban farming on top of buildings :)

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
  48. @Robin Here is my mail-id, 22arti@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I'm glad I didn't miss this charming post on Tokyo, Arti. You have keen perceptions about a place and always have something positive to say. I enjoyed the photos.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Wow, Tokyo is so wonderful and a pleasant change from the chaos we are so used to in India.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hey Arti, I love your keen observations. I hope someday I can visit Japan (only once, stopover) and I am sure my two cousins can help me show around.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi Arti,
    Interesting insight on Japan- I've never been but would love to go sometime soon! I've been hearing quite a few people talk quite highly about Japan!

    ReplyDelete
  53. wonderful observations of japan... it is so wonderfull to see such orderliness in a culture outside india...i really pity what would their reaction be if they visited india...the least we can to is guide foreigners beforehand how to survive in india without a cultural shock : )

    ReplyDelete
  54. Arti, this is fantastic! I've been trying to book a flight to Tokyo for the past few days. Hopefully I'll bag a bargain for my Christmas trip to Japan next month. In the meantime its great to hear your impressions of Tokyo. Would definitely visit your site again for more info on Japan!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Maybe thats why Japan is Japan and Japanese cities are so different from ours

    ReplyDelete
  56. Wonderful impressions of the city. There is so much to see, eat, and shop. Japan is not the only Asian country who loves their cell phones.

    ReplyDelete
  57. after seeing the pics and reading the post, i so feel like being in Tokyo .. this place is amazing, isn't it ?

    in 7th pic, wish i was that chubby boy !`

    ReplyDelete
  58. One of the nice places that I definitely need to see.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I really envy travel bloggers...in other words i love all ur travel updates including this one.....hope i can go backpacking one day

    ReplyDelete
  60. perfect pics from first world! I love Japan!!!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Those were nice bits of information Arti.Really we have a lot,lot to learn from them.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Thank you for a trip through the streets of Tokyo. Drivers wouldn't miss zebras crossings as broad as that one. :)

    Those subways would be great for readers; must be nice and peaceful, right? But we moms would be nervous travelling on them with little ones. Are the kids on the subway quiet too, Arti?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Evocative post as usual Arti! Loved that 'giving space to nature' part particularly!

    ReplyDelete
  64. It’s really informative. If I ever happen to visit I will remember these points.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Very accurate observations! Although Still they don't really speak English. You must have gone only to touristy places.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Wonderful coverage of the city.

    ReplyDelete
  67. A very in detail review of Japan, agreed 3 days are not enough to know everything but they are long enough to make you understand the basic feel of the country. Loved the part about the Zebra crossing, I went to Amsterdam recently and even at 5 in the morning when the streets were absolutely empty, no one jumped the signal be it the pedestrian or the cyclist or the car driver.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Very nice article.. and pictures too :)

    ReplyDelete
  69. The Difference between India and other Developed countries is that the Latter follow the rules but in India rules are made to be broken so we always find ourselves in Chaos...The Captures are lovely and even changed my perspective of Japan to be noisy,fast paced country...

    ReplyDelete
  70. very nice post and the pictures are just too good. Thanks for the information!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Well written with some nice clicks!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Zebra Crossing. Here in Germany, we have separate crossing lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. Everyone obeys signal though there is no speed control here. Liked your post. Keep writing Aarti!

    Someone is Special

    ReplyDelete
  73. Very good article with beautiful pictures. I have seen Japan and visited Tokyo,kyoto,Osaka and Kobe.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Completely agree with you on zebra crossing and mumbai traffic ,people don't even bother to follow rules ;) Nice write up and good at least u found a iskon temple in tokyo .....

    ReplyDelete
  75. You make Tokya sound so enticing Arti! Except for the food part - can't subsist on only fruits :(

    ReplyDelete
  76. Arti, a fascinating account of Japan. In Mumbai, trains are always the hub of noise pollution, it must be nice to ride a silent train once in a while.

    ReplyDelete
  77. wow, now i am so excited...take me to tokyo :(

    ReplyDelete
  78. Nice captures Arti, I have heard from my importer that Japan is the most disciplined country in the world. The same person said we Indians suck at discipline :)

    ReplyDelete
  79. this sounds really interesting .. nice article .....thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  80. I havent visited yet, but whenever going there I will have take close look on all ten spots.
    Nice article.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Yes this is a very good and discipline country,,,,i found it with my loving freind Faiz Alam/....

    ReplyDelete
  82. Japan has always been one of my dream destination from childhood. I used always wonder about the technology, cars, cartoon etc. Your blog really showed me a different side of Japan... thanks for sharing...

    ReplyDelete
  83. Liked No 9 - always say when you don't find anything veg to eat - turn fruitatarian.

    ReplyDelete

Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

If you have asked a question, please give me at least 2 days to reply back. Thank you :)

Blogger Widgets