Here’s some of the stuff I’ve found interesting about Japan. This is my first time back in almost 3 years. Link to the photo gallery.


  • On the bus from the airport (Narita), big posters of Tommy Lee Jones everywhere with the name BOSS under it. Turns out to be canned (crappy) Japanese Suntory coffee from vending machines, not Hugo Boss, and he’s done a whole serious of ads where he’s an alien agent. I watched them on YouTube and didn’t find them very funny, but I’m the minority, apparently.
  • My SUICA card not only works three years later, it works to get onto train, subway, monorail, etc. That’s cool.
  • 7-Eleven has finally put cash machines all over Japan. It’s easy to get cash anywhere. Used to be a Citibank-only thing.
  • Stayed at Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Very nice.
  • Took Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. Great view of Mt. Fuji. Fastest Shinkansen is called Nozomi (there are three speeds), and according to the GPS in my 8310 was travelling at >168 MPH.
  • Checked into hotel in Osaka, found out my name became “Dedo Kabaru” over the phone. Like that.
  • Flew back from Osaka on ANA, in a 777-300, with 523 other people. That’s the most densely populated flight in my life. I do not recommend this over the Shinkansen.
  • In Japan, they use 2D LED displays with animations of flag-waving construction people instead of the real thing.
  • Tokyo radio tower was blue on Wednesday. Not sure why.
  • Taxi company in Tokyo name Shichifuku… Gotta love it. (Say it aloud, sounds like “should she…”)
  • BIC Camera has better prices than Akihabara (Electric Town)
  • Roppongi is still there (Massage-y, special Massage-y, hey friend, you want titty bar?). I called it the Mos Isley of Tokyo (“wretched hive of scum and villainy”), and the only one to get it was the Japanese guy. I found out that the Jamaicans, Ghanans and mostly Nigerians manage to stay in Japan on student visas by taking single courses. I wondered why they all seemed to stay there so long, at least compared to the regular visas.
  • Sushi-motif USB memory sticks are popular. And strange.
  • Saw a guy with stamps (ink) in a notebook. Didn’t know enough Japanese to figure out what it was.
  • Visited Imperial Palace in Tokyo, or outside of it. Can’t get in except by appointment and on one day per year, mainly because it’s inhabited by the emperor who nobody knows the name of. Has a great moat and swans.
  • Grass is cut very short in parks (like shorter than greens on golf courses).
  • On the monorail (Haneda), make sure you get on the right train, there’s three (Local, Express, Super-Express). I got on the Super-Express by accident, instead of spending about 3 minutes on the train, spent an hour.

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

One reply on “Japan”

Certainly, the Japanese have their act together when it comes to the mechanics of living in big cities. I’ve been there over a dozen times, usually for a week at a time and always enjoy Tokyo immensely. One of my favorites is the little machines that bag your wet umbrella so that you don’t drip water on the floor of the store or hotel lobby.

Many US actors that would never do a commercial here will sellout over there. Particularly cigarette ads.

The best way to experience the Shinkansen is to be standing on a platform when one goes by at speed. You really get a better sense of how fast they are moving than you do on-board. Fares aren’t cheap, but if you are over there on “temporary visitor” status you can get a railpass at a reasonable price. This is even good for all the Shinkansen (except for the Nozomi super-express).

Comments are closed.