Texans in Japan – Day 2

April 5th, 2010

4-4-10
It seems that sleeping for 9 hours has helped us all mostly recover from jet lag.

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Tokyo is rainy & foggy this morning. We called back home (5am here – 2pm in Texas) to wish the family Happy Easter.

I have to say that I was happy that our hotel has a “normal” toilet. It does have a wash/bidet option. The wash was surprisingly pleasant. The toilet seat is heated as well. LOL! Our son is grossed out by it. I did some yoga last night & this morning which seemed to help get the kinks out of my 40yo body.

We are headed down to breakfast. I couldn’t believe that they charge $40/person for breakfast here at the Tokyo Hilton. Thankfully, my husband’s Diamond status lets us eat for free. Woohoo! Today’s breakfast was miso soup, stewed prunes, banana, and cappuccino for me. The guys had miso soup and a normal english breakfast (i.e. bacon & eggs).

Geek nirvana

Geek nirvana

Our day started with a train ride to Akihabara, the electronics district of Tokyo. The rain was just starting. The first area we went through was filled with tiny (no bigger than an average family bathroom) full of electronics. These shops were jammed into alleyways down busy streets. My guys were thrilled to investigate each booth, where you could find components to build anything electronic your heart desires (i.e. computers, radios, robots, etc.)

After going through these shops, we found Club Sega. This is a 7 level video arcade. The bottom floor was nothing but crane machines with prizes from food to electronics. The upper levels were tradition video arcade games. When we saw the full-sized Tetris game, we knew that we had to take a moment to play a few rounds. The game’s joy sticks were as big as a basketball. That was too weird. LOL!

Rain doesn't keep the shoppers away

Rain doesn't keep the shoppers away

We then wondered down the street to a 9-story electronics story called Yodobashi Camera. This store was full of: computers, cameras, toys, movies/cds, games & game systems, etc. I always thought the multi-level B&H store in New York was amazing. This store made B&H look like a Radio Shack. I know that the guys could spend our entire vacation just in this store.

For lunch, we found a tiny sushi bar around the corner. Tony says that the sushi in Japan is amazing and just melts in your mouth. I wouldn’t know as I like my food cooked. I had the clam miso soup.

After lunch, we walked around the district for several more hours before heading back to our hotel for a nap before dinner. Dinner was just around the corner at a little ramen shop. The three of us ate a huge ramen dinner for under $20. Not bad by Tokyo standards.

Observations on Day 2:

* The Japanese culture is extremely polite. Salespeople bow a lot.

* Japan is extremely clean. You hardly ever see trash anywhere. You also don’t see trash cans. We were hard pressed to find a place to throw away a soda bottle.

* Fashion is very important here. We walked through a department store by Shinjuku station. I happened to see a cotton blouse that would be about $25 at Macy’s ON SALE here for $167! How on earth do people afford to buy clothing here?!

* People don’t own cars here. Folks get around with bicycles, scooters, or take the train. The Japanese also do a great amount of walking.

* I’ve seen very few overweight people here. While wondering through stores, I have seen candy and sugary soda for sale. There are vending machines practically on every corner. However, I haven’t seen much in the way of junk food (i.e. chips, cookies, greasy snack foods, etc.) like you do in the U.S. I believe that most Japanese eat healthily and do a lot of walking. Americans would do well to follow their example.

* Advertising campaigns are overly exaggerated. This applies to written as well as visual media. You see a lot of wide smiles and silly actions in their marketing.

* The train system is extremely clean and always on time. The seats are heated too.

* This society is sexually oppressed compared to the U.S. I haven’t seen women wear suggestive clothing like they do in the states. I have seen short skirts, but almost all women wear dark tights and high boots to go with them.

On the flip side, their anime females all seem to have large breasts and are in positions that accentuate the female form (sometimes to the point of REALLY pushing modesty). This can even be seen in anime directed towards children. Photography with live models doesn’t do this. You don’t see a poster of a Japanese model in a suggestive position. You would see it if it were drawn. Interesting, huh?

* Many people wear paper masks over their mouth/nose. I can’t decide if it is because they are feeling ill, or because they don’t want to be exposed to something.

* Most people seem to know a little english. I found this to be true when we were walking in a crowded electronics alleyway. I walked by saying “Crazy”, and a man started to laugh. Apparently, he understood me and agreed. I wish my Japanese were as good. My 40yo brain is learning spanish right now. I can’t seem to fit another language in there.

2 Responses to “Texans in Japan – Day 2”

  1. Your brother Says:

    keep the stories coming – I am living vicariously through you.

  2. Shan Says:

    You aren’t getting bored from them then? Great!
    I’ll definately post more 🙂

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