I have been racking my brains, trying to work out how to include Takeshita Street into a tip - I could describe the bustling street of vendors, but all I can remember are the psychedelic clothes and tie-dye.
I could write about the sheer number of bodies moving around, but that could be anywhere in Tokyo.
In the end, I simply need to admit that the name appeals to my peurile, juvenile Scottish sense of humour.
First dont get caught in rush hour on a Tokyo train.....avoid this as much as you can..:)...
But if you do get on....well here are a few tips to get a sit......
Stand near seated junior high or high school students, whose uniforms are a clear signal they will be only on for a short distance and likely to vacate their seats soon...
Look at people who are sleeping, specially those who sit upright with their eyes lightly close are more likely to get off early...
Also women who touch up their makeup are preapring to get off.....
TOKYO METRO GUIDE
If you encounter the new sleek trains (E231 series) on the JR Yamanote Line, you'll be informed by both Japanese and English announcements. On top of each door, these LCD displays show you the entire loop and how long it takes to reach the destination.
The LCD screen will also display the local weather, news and best of all, baseball box scores!
This is not my favorite thing about Tokyo, in fact it is my least favorite thing. When I work in Tokyo, I often find myself having to go to a building in some remote part of town. Often, since the company had to pay, I would take a taxi. Taxi's are great, but sometimes they don't even know where they are going.
Case in point, if you ever get the urge to stay at the Best Western in Ikebukuro, don't give the taxi driver the address for the hotel. He won't be able to find it either. Instead, get plenty of landmarks from the hotel before you get there. This is true of many places.
The reason for this is this, Roads are easy to find, although they may be twenty miles long. The buildings aren't numbered in order, instead, they are numbered in the order they are built. So building 2112 can be twenty miles away from 2113 on the same street.
The landmark suggestion works well, as long as they are unique. If someone tells you to keep going until you see a McDonalds, or a Mos Burger, you may be in trouble, as they are probably on every block. Best bet, get detailed instructions with a lot of landmarks, and when in doubt, ask a local. If you can find a police officer that speaks english... well you are just plain lucky, but if you do, they will often be the best person to ask for directions.
Fondest memory: The other way to find a building is to find the local mail agent. This is harder than it looks too. I was made the mail agent for my building. Basically, I got to distribute the mail after it arrived separated, but in bulk from the mail man. It is a worthless and evil job, but is has the one perk of knowing where everything around you is. If you can find the person with the mail, you can get anywhere in that area.
Tokyo, as every big city in Japan, enjoyes a very well developed public transportation system. Why then have we this colorful carnaval of taxies around stations? Good question!!! My guess is that the Japanes society see in punctuality an important matter. Sometimes you get into the taxi to get on time. One just rides for few blocks. When time and weather permited it, people prefers to walk. But do not get upset for the price!!!!
Fondest memory: 650 yen for just few blocks could be a high price but that day your punctuality (your sense of responsability) wins at least 3000 ratings, from at least three different IP adress. Click. Click.
The sense of discipline is also important. see how those taxies just queue waiting for customers. This world is not for the agressive drivers but for the patientes. Patience will turn into agrresivity once they get their customer. Like in every country and big city, taxi drivers are SOBber when they drive.
Doing science is rewarding...After many years of intense work I've learnt how to travel in time. My interest in plastic arts, and Andrea's suggestion decided my first destination. I wanted to see the Sistina Chapel before Mr. Buonarotti started his marvelous "decoration". Figure 1 shows the naked ceiling where few hours later Michelangelo would start to work. The picture was taken by one of his associate in April 1508. Few moments later I went back to Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Exit because I had a train to catch.
Fondest memory: The Sistine's affair made me lost a bullet train but no problems, there is a train departing every 15 minutes with a precision that could help to set one's watch.
The Japanese language throws up some unfortunate translations at times.
A good example of this is the Tokyo equilvalent of London's Carnaby Street - Takeshita street.
It is virtually impossible to see a sign to such a place without trying surpress a silly schoolboy-like smile.
Tokyo is a very convenient place to travel by taking their efficient train systems. Many tourists will use the famed Yamanote Line, as it encircles the city environs. Purchasing tickets are simple as the ticket dispensers allow money changes. However, there is a new Suica Card that is a cashless swipe card introduced in Tokyo (similar to Hong Kong's Octopus card system).
Fondest memory: Japanese are very detailed in everything they do. I noted that at every train station, there is a departure chime telling passengers that the train is about to leave the platform. But, the interesting fact is that every chime is different for each individual direction! Yes, even north/south and east/west bounded trains have different tunes. If you are fortunate to board these trains, please note once you get on/off the train. The melodies are quite nice and soothing.
Favorite thing: Bicycles and scooters are everywhere in Japan! You will often see parking lots and mulit-level parking garages filled with just bicycles. Bicycles are also everywhere on the streets and sidewalks of Tokyo. So try to walk in a straight line and to the left of the sidewalk as much as possible and keep an ear out for bicycle bells coming from behind. The Japanese are used to sharing the walkways with bikes so if you ever have a close call, just forget about it and go about your business. Also keep your eyes open when crossing the street. Scooters seem to follow a different set of laws than cars.
Everywhere you want to go in any place in Japan, just go to the nearest Tourist Information Center they can really help you, they speak English and they have a map and tourist guide brouchure available for you.
Asked for a full details about your trips so that you will not get lost just like I did, but that all about your adventure anyway and it is fun though.
My favorite Tourist Informtion Center is in Yokohama Station the staffs are very friendly and eager to helped you and with smile all the time.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo Tokyo
4 Reviews and 346 Opinions This is a Grand Hyatt and while conventionally 'dependable' for a certain level of service, this...
Imperial Hotel Tokyo Tokyo
10 Reviews and 267 Opinions Can't honestly recommend this hotel to penny-pinchers as it can be very costly indeed, but quality...