Friday, May 30, 2008

Parting Thoughts - Sayonara!

This is it - my last few hours in Tokyo/Japan - potentially for a very long time. Luckily, I got to end the trip with one last trip to the Taco truck (phew). Some parting thoughts of things I hope I semi remember:

  • Yesterday it rained, but the best part about Tokyo is you can walk potentially miles underground. When they built their new subway system, they did a fantastic job of linking subway stops - there's basically another city underground.
  • Taxi - While taxis are wicked expensive (starting at $7 for 2km), the taxi drivers are super honest. On my way out today, my taxi driver got a little lost - no big deal for me, he didn't do it on purpose. I go to pay when we get out and he says to me 500 yen. How fantastic! I mean I was more than willing to pay the full fare, but the honesty is refreshing.
  • Lawsons - This convenience store (along with maybe AM PM) have really pulled through in some key moments. I can only hope convenience stores in the US can become something like Lawsons one day.
  • "Squishy" ground - I'm not sure how/why this happens, but some of the sidewalks in Tokyo are squishy and it makes me really happy.
  • Ginza at 8am - This area is so packed all the time (especially on Sat & Sun) that it's amazing to see it when there's no one around. Shop owners are outside washing their sidewalks (yes, they wash their sidewalks actually scrub every morning) and despite the fact this makes the sidewalks slippery - it just contributes to the "clean" feeling of Japan.
  • The packaging - Things are bagged and packed here so well. Every store, every purchase is bagged (and sometimes wrapped) with intense care.
  • Food wrappers - there is one and only one way to open food wrappers here (chocolate, chips, etc). Everything has a nice tear here arrow and seriously that is the only place you can tear the packaging. Took a bit of getting used to, but it's grown on me now.
  • Admirals Lounge at Narita - The beer machine, the free internet, free alcohol, free food.. and the general sense of overwhelming relief when I sit down here.
Now, onto the US!

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