Doing Business (and grocery shopping) in Matsumoto
"Visit to the Castle"
In January 2007 I went to Japan on business. The majority of my meetings took place in Matsumoto, a city about two hours from Tokyo by train. Matsumoto has a really interesting castle dating back to 1593. Though it was rather cold at the time, I enjoyed taking a tour of the castle and learning about how it was defended.
The only trouble is the stairs in the castle were made very steep on purpose to make it difficult for invaders to climb them. Today they work just as well in slowing down tourists attempting to go up and down, particularly so with the slippers which are required to be worn instead of your shoes.
"Grocery shopping in Matsumoto"
One of the most interesting things which I enjoy while traveling is exploring grocery stores in other countries. This is one place where you can see how other people really live, and how different (or similar) their lives are. In Japan, people usually shop for just one or two days of food at a time because the homes are generally smaller and there is less storage space. The downside is more trips to the store are required, but the upside is food is always fresh.
At any rate, the grocery stores in Japan are among the most interesting in the world I have been to, and I especially was amused by the small shopping carts.