Random Japan

I’m very tall in Japan. The only people taller than me are other gaijin. But nobody ever looks at me oddly. I feel like the tallest person in Tokyo, but I’m only 6’2″.

Taxis seem very expensive. It’s 660 Yen for the the first 2Km, but all our trips seemed around 2000 Yen. The drivers seemed fond of taking obscure back streets.

During the day it seemed hard to get a drink. I’d just want a beer. The best bets would be hotel bars.

Food is generally quite reasonably priced. You can get a very nice lunch for 1000 Yen.

It helps to think to 100 Yen = 1 dollar, even though it’s more like 115. It just makes it easier to visualize how much things cost.

The weather was very variable. It was hot and cold, sunny and rain, all within the last nine days. Today was really hot. Yesterday was freezing.

Cherry blossoms are cool. People take tarpaulins to the park and sit under them. The blossoms start falling almost as soon as they arrive, so you are in a little snowstorm of pink.

The Shinkansen was not very crowded. Nearly empty on the way to Kyoto, and less than half full on the way back.

We should have got a JR pass.

It would have been better if we stayed another two days in Kyoto, and used that as a base to visit other places.

Walking is a good way to get around, but really it’s a bit a waste of time and energy to walk anything over a half mile unless there is something on the way. Get a taxi. Your time is valuable here, and we got too tired too often.

The trip on the bus from Narita Airport to the Hotel is no fun. A taxi would be very expensive, but would at least leave immediately, and not have to go to other hotels first. The train might well be a lot quicker, but I’ve no idea how much fun it would be.

Museums were hot. Like very hot, like they had the heating turned up to 80. This is no fun when you come in from the nice cool outdoors wearing a coat.

The Shibuya area is a lot more fun than the palace/Ginza area. If you want a brief intense Tokyo experience, stay in Shibuya or Shinjuku.

Ginza is boring during the day, much more fun at night. The same can be said for many areas.

Take lots of photos! You will forget half of what happened if you don’t write it down or take photos. Take a photo of everything! We took 1,200 photos, about 1000 of which are not particularly good, but they still help document the day, so when you come to attempt to recall what you did, you have these useful points of reference.