So after a slightly longer than expected wait at customs (but it should be noted that everyone I dealt with was absolutely lovely) and so missing the last train, I just managed to get the monorail most of the way to my hotel and then a taxi the rest.
That kerfuffle aside and six hours of sleep later I ventured forth into the unknown streets of Tokyo. Turns out they are actually reasonable easy to navigate even without googlemaps to hand (although a quick glance on the hotel WiFi before leaving did help things). As my hotel is only a twenty minute walk from the rather impressive nerd central of Akihabara, or Electric City as the locals prefer to call it, I thought I would spend most of the day indulging my inner fanboy.
That was of course after breakfast, which being in Japan ment I could enjoy teriyaki salmon and rice while not feeling weird about having that for breakfast.
Continuing on my adventures, now full of delicious fish, I was quickly rewarded by the sight of an 8 floor manga and collectables superstore. Soon after exploring that one I found another, and another and guess what? Yup, another. Some where electronic stores and some catered to cosplay. All were fantastic to see. In the end I bought myself some motivation to continue learning Japanese in the form of the complete set of Steins Gate mangas, because a) I need to and want to learn and b) it is my favorite anime of all time ever and will fight you over this.
As an interesting aside, I also don’t think I’ve seen this many drawn women wearing so little in such a small space before, Internet excluded, and many of which are very large and in public spaces for advertising. While I realise it’s no different from how we use actual women back home, real women don’t normally pose in quite the same ways due to physics. There was also a slightly exciting moment when I suddenly realised I was surrounded by soft core pornography after failing to notice the doormat that said ‘warning r-rated materials’.
That aside, for day one I feel it’s all gone rather well. Here are a few ‘culture shock’ moments worth watching out for though;
Green Man means walk, but don’t mind the cars creeping towards you still. Basically traffic lights here work in a similar fashion to America (or at the very least people in New York drive the same way). This means when the light turns green you need to cross with confidence, or you will just hold everything up. The drivers know what is going on so will avoid you, but some do get a little on the close side.
Money is to be placed in a tray and passed over when buying things. Not entirely sure why this is the case, but a plastic tray is placed in front of you to put your money in when making a purchase, before your change is returned in the same way. I’m assuming it’s to reduce bodily contact and thus germs.
Everyone speaks Japanese. Well duh, but it does still take a little bit of adjusting to when you realise you can only understand half of the signs. You occasionally overhear someone speaking English and it really stands out from the crowd. Like if you are talking maybe a mile away I will hear you.
More adventures to follow soon! Almost certainly entitled Tokyo Adventures day 2.