36 Hours in Tokyo

This is a city where you see many cute and sweet girls in brown hair. This is a city where you are discouraged to talk on your mobile in the train or on the bus. This is the city when big shopping malls close at 9pm. This is the city where one of the world’s most expensive streets resides. This is the city when you find Seoul + Taipei + Shanghai. This is also the city where you find many carrying transparent white umbrellas. This is Tokyo.

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).

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