August 31, 2009 Leave a comment
My first 36 hours in Tokyo has been more than just eye-opening. Right from the airport, I was detained for more than 15 minutes. I had everything searched – from head to toe. I was body-searched – and they emptied every single item in my bags - they even stuck their hands into my shoes. All because I gave them a "wrong" answer at the counter. I was asked if this is my 1st trip in Tokyo. I answered "yes". They then asked me how long is my trip. I told them "less than one day". And then they asked me if I am here for business and where is my meeting point. I answered "I don’t know the address yet." With that – off to the room I went!
The taxi fare is amazing! I am never the "bus or train" commuter. I am always the Taxi-Boy. However, I have to stick to the bus as it will cost me about SGD400 from the airport to the city! The 2-hour bus ride itself cost me SGD45! (Same fare from Singapore to Malacca!).
The Japanese are a different breed of people. They take huge pride in their job – bus drivers, waiters, bellboys, shop staffs. You can feel "their systematic way of working".
My good Singaporean friend, Martin (who speaks very good Japanese now) played guide and my life-saviour throughout these 36 hours. Without him, I would have felt so lost in translation in this massive, complex city. My 2G iphone isn’t working and I can’t contact anyone. I have never felt so crippled before! Lucky I have my blackberry (it is running on 3G) – I used it to message / sms the folks in Hong Kong.
It was meant to be a quickie business trip. Believe it or not, typhoon loves to travel with me. It was a 36 hours of heavy rain and strong wind. I love the cool 22-degree weather. The stay was so comfortable. I accomplished 90% of what I was tasked to do. I had my favourite Coco-Curry Rice! And best of all, I spent good quality time with Martin around Shibuya (渋谷区) and Ginza (銀座).