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Published: February 24th 2008
02/18/08 - 02/20/08
To start off our authentic, do it like the locals adventure, we were served Japanese style meals in the All Nippal Airlines flight we took. Luckily, the lady next to us showed us which sauces and spices to put in which of the food compartments. This was a prelude to what was in store for us in Japan.
In Tokyo, we stayed in an area called Shinjuku. My first impressions of Tokyo (Shinjuku in particular) was that of Manhattan in NYC. Some differences to note versus Manhattan: Tokyo only has one race of people; the people are generally much more respectful and polite than Americans.
On one of the mornings we went to an enormous fish auction where wholesalers auction off the fish that will feed the city. The grounds are probably 2 square miles and there are thousands of people rushing around trading fish. Lots of action!
Some quirky highlights of Tokyo:
*You aren't allowed to smoke wherever you please outside. There are designated areas for smoking.
*Nobody honks. There's as many cars as Manhattan and yet no honking.
*People whisper if they are going to talk on the subway or
trains (most people are silent). Talking on cell phones is prohibited in the trains so everyone text messages instead.
*You don't see any litter on the streets and yet there are no trash cans.
*The toilets have built in 'bidets' in them. I've always been a fan of traditional bidets until I came to Japan. Having the functionality of a bidet built in to a toilet is AMAZING! I'm definitely getting one when/if I ever build my own house!
*The public maps on the street do not have North facing in the up direction. North can face any direction depending on where you look at the map. This is very confusing if you're not used to it!
*Doing it like the locals is interesting when the locals are ordering western style foods and we, the westerners, are ordering japanese style foods!
*Many of the restaurants have plastic model representations of what the food looks like. These models are the best I've ever see and typically look better than the real thing.
*Vending machines are everywhere and sell all types of foods and drinks (including alcohol!).
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