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As I sit in the Narita Airport, waiting for my flight to Hong Kong, I thought I’d jot down a few final thoughts on my visit here.

Japan is a beautiful country, with a people as diverse as any big city back home.  Okay, maybe I didn’t see any other 6’4″ white guys walking around, but you get my point.  It’s a country with a rich history, going back over a thousand years.  Where in America, we largely tear down and build over old places, the old places here are preserved and built around instead of over.  I liked how you might find a hundreds year old shrine just walking down a street in town.

One of the big things I noticed when out of the cities was just how green all the open spaces are.  And how much there ISN’T many other colors of foliage.  Seriously, all the leaves are green.

While I was here, I used Airbnb to make my lodging arrangements.  I stayed with a very nice family in the Tsudanuma ward, about 45 minutes by train from the center of Tokyo city.  Patric and Takae and their two boys were very good hosts, and I wish them all well in the future.  I thank them for sharing their home and hospitality with me.

A few tips for visitors:

I used my phone’s WiFi connection exclusively for communication while I was here.  I set up Skype for phone calls and used Google Voice for SMS messaging.  I picked up a portable, battery-powered MiFi device from e-Mobile, I ordered it before I left home and had it waiting for me at the Narita Airport Terminal 1 post office.  It worked for me just about everywhere I needed it to.  I would recommend, if you do this same thing, either get the extra battery option, or bring a rechargable device charger with you.  The battery would crap out on me about 2/3 through my day out in the cities.  Alternatively, only turn it on when you actually NEED internet access.

If you’re claustrophobic, be prepared to give that up.  Everyplace is crowded, and many places are small.

Cars drive on the left, people on sidewalks and stairs walk on the left.  If you’re trying to walk on the right side of the sidewalk, you’ll likely get dirty looks.

Crime doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem as the US State Department would have you believe.  A reasonable sense of surroundings and caution is generally sufficient, but no need to obsess.  Bicycles are all over the place, but I only rarely saw one actually locked up.

Japan isn’t as strange a place as the internet would have us believe.  And many of the “oh, it’s just Japan” things that we do see, are weird to the locals as well.

If, as I was, you are concerned about “but I don’t like Japanese food”, worry not.  They have all types of food, everywhere.  You don’t have to look hard for a meal that is common to an American diet.  On that thread, sushi isn’t as ubiquitous as I thought it would be.  I actually didn’t see very many sushi places around.

Must finish up.  Plane is boarding!  Will post soon from Hong Kong!

2 Comments

  1. Probably you have overlooked tiny crab-like locks on the back tire just underneath the saddle. Still not much thief protection as one can carry away the bike. But then again, a policeman will most likely stop you to verify ownership through the bicycle frame ID.

  2. Enjoying your blog…sounds like you’re having a great trip. Waiting for future installments…:)


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