This autumn I spent a few days in Tokyo. Well, actually I did a little tour of Japan, from Kyoto, Osaka, Toyama and at the end I’ve arrived in Tokyo, with Shinkansen. It’s a fast train running about 300 km/h. There are a lot of these trains in Europe; in Germany, France, Italy and so on, but this is the oldest one. Its first run was in a far 1959. After 2 hours I’ve arrived in Tokyo, Ueno station. The first thought that passed on my mind was: “why are they against United Europe?” (UE No). In 10 minutes I’ve reached my hotel, Mystays. Well, the room wasn’t the biggest I’ve ever seen, but I admit it was a nice room. It was late afternoon. I’ve unpacked my luggage and I’ve walked out into the street. Few passes from my hotel was Tokyo’s zoo, my first destination. There I’ve seen a panda for the first time in my life.
I was about to light the cigarette when I saw the sign: smoking is forbidden. In Japan this is the rule; one must not smoke in the street. The fain is about 20 euros and the guardians that control the application of the rule are very frequent. I’ve taken my risk at least 10 times during my stay. Later I will understand that there are smoking spaces in the same streets and I was very surprised when I’ve discovered that the smoking were allowed in the major part of bars and restaurants. Weird country. But, it’s not the only strange thing I’ve noticed there. The WC are a result of the high technology. The bowl of a toilet is warmed up, there are spray that coming out and where one can control angulation and the water pressure. I did some experiments to understand some of the functions: all instructions were in Japanese. To be honest, I had some extra water.
For 4 days I was going around, looking for points of interest, using trains and undergrounds and a few times I have caught the bus. Functionality of the local transport is perfect and the trains are precise as the Swiss watches. However, in the rush hours there are an incredible crowd and it is not always easy enter in the coach. In the streets, the scene is the same. Especial attraction are the diagonal crossing road that I didn’t see in any other country. I’ve visited different districts of the city.
The most modern is Ginza, that is an open exposition of the architecture. The buildings are occupied by the famous brands as Louis Vuitton, Armani, Dior, but you can also find Gap and H&M. My attention was drawn to a showcase where was exposed the new model of Nissan, fully electrical and very luxurious; I didn’t ask for the price. On the roof of the oldest western style store I’ve found a beautiful park from where I had a fantastic view of the city. Far away, the celebrated Japanese mountain Fuji was visible, but too far to see the snow on the top of it.
I don’t remember in which district is exposed the statue of robot Gundam. It’s impressive, height about 20 meters, represents the legendary hero from the Japanese cartoons. Notable mass was turning around to examine all the details of the structure. At 5 p.m. there are a short show: some pieces of robot’s armor moved and lights of reactive motors on his back switched on and off to give a dynamic effects. Nothing special but it seemed that the visitors had great fun. Asakusa district is the most ancient area of Tokyo. Everything seems to be from old days, including stores, wooden houses, people dressed in a traditional way and numerous cemeteries. In each cemetery is present a little temple owned by privates. The peace and relax regains this area.
One of the main attraction for the tourists is the food. The Japanese kitchen is well known in Europe, but, eat some food here, at the source, is something unique. I’ve tasted ramen, soba, sushi, okonomiyaki and other delights that I don’t remember the names. Very good and tasty for reasonable prices, especially if you eat in their fast-food, characteristic locals where the chef is in the front of you and prepare your food. So, looking at him you can “steal” the recipe. The water and tea are always free but I’ve preferred Japanese beer, in particularly Kirin, that I like so much. I’ve tried their national drink sake, but it doesn’t enter in my preferred drink.