Best sushi ever. Tsukiji, Tokyo
17-18.04: Plan, Do, Err, Get lost, Check and Act (Deming cycle – Tokyo style)
I had thought that going to Tokyo would feel like going ‘home’. I mean, I was certain at that point that I would move to Japan and Tokyo would then be the most logical place to live. It worked out a bit differently though. As you know from my previous blog, my time was restricted to 1.5 days. Tokyo is huge so this sightseeing expedition had to be planned meticulously and run as a military operation. So I sat myself down in my Command Control Center, the local gyoza restaurant (yummy) around the corner of the hostel and worked out the strategy.
I hit the road as soon as possible. Well, not the road but the metro. Things got complicated in a heart beat. Tokyo appeared to have two rail operators offering 10 odd packages, some blended products, and tickets were deer, as everything in Japan. So I saw, thought and bought… the wrong ticket. My first mistake was surmountable; I had taken a train with my metro-only pass so had to pay a top-up. No big deal. The second mistake was more awkward; I had managed to get into an area where I should not have been able to get. The railway officer insisted on ‘fraud’ and wanted to charge a hefty fine. I was utterly indignant, and it may be possible that had come across because the officer got increasingly aggravated. A Japanese lady helped to lull the situation and got me out without a fine after a long debate. My mood had dropped to rock bottom but I reckoned it couldn’t get worse. yeah right.. the next hurdle was imminent 🙁
This time the hurdle had a name, ‘Shinjuku Station’. It was Big & Busy and I had been warned in advance. I thought I was used to vibrant cities being a resident of Dubai but, wow, how many people can fit on 1 square meter! In Tokyo not a handful but three hands full. It felt as if all 38 million inhabitants had assembled in Shinjuku. Crowds don’t bother me normally but this was intense. Things got worse when I got lost. Yes, I, Ms. Linda van Dijk, had lost my way INSIDE a metro station! It took 2 hours to find my way out of this ‘village’ 100 meters below the ground. Damn absence of English signage and -speakers. My forehead was covered in clammy sweat when I finally saw daylight. The funny thing is that I must have passed a hundred exit signs in Japanese. If you ever visit Shinjuku -or other place in Japan- look for this: 出口.
Fortunately, my good planning paid off afterwards and I saw many highlights within no time and no major trouble.
Shibuya crossing (the picture that everyone knows)
Tokyo Sky Tree
Imperial Palace East Garden