October 5, 2008

In love with Japan

Some cities are just easier to fall in love with than some others. With Tokyo and more so what I saw of Japan, it was easy. It wasn't like love at first sight. But it was pretty close. At the outset, Japan looks very similar to rural India, maybe because the Narita airport is located far away from the main city. Once you close in, the buildings grow taller, the advertisements sleeker and the area busier. They have many many train operators and at first glance, it seems like a daunting task to find one's way in a place with unfamiliar directions and language. But the moment you ask someone for help, you know that you are in good hands. The Japanese are perhaps the most helpful people in the world. They go completely out of their way to help you, answer your question or direct you. Most of them understand rudimentary english and can with ease point you in the right direction. Some others go out on a limb for you, like a girl who walks more than 15 minutes in a direction unrelated to her just so she can point you to the right place or the station manager who runs down 2 flights of stairs to tell you that the train that he said would go had departed and the next train was in 10 minutes. I was blown away. Tokyo is as busy as any other business epicenter in the world but its not 1% as rude. People in New York, Paris and Bombay have a definite chip in their shoulders as opposed to the ones in Tokyo. Take the restaurants for example. The most popular method of ordering, for a foreigner is to point out the food in a colourful pictorial menu. But sometimes there are no pictures and then it becomes a game of charades between you and the waitress. And once you explain that you are vegetarian, 99% of the time, they make you something special... something not on the menu and at the end charge you a measly amount for all their effort. And all this with the widest of smiles, the lowest of bends and the sweetest of 'Arigato gozaimaaas' singsong greetings.

Even with the Metro ceasing operations as 11pm, the city never sleeps. People cram into the last metro after having had a long dinner with drinks with friends/colleagues. Then there is the light effect at night ofcourse. All those tall buildings emblazoned with lights, creating a Times-Square effect on all of downtown Tokyo, no matter what the area. The food and lodging are all reasonable. But the people are the best and have left a lasting impression on me and helpful as I am, I have vowed to try even harder from now on.

There's sooooo much I can write about Tokyo. And I will. Under subsequent posts... under different titles. But as of now, there's just one thing to say. Compaii to Japan!! (Cheers!)

3 comments:

Sachin said...

I agree with you about the people. They are the most hard-working people on the planet, I guess, be it work, helping others or anything else.

Damanjit said...

Japan looks like an interesting place now......

Jaya said...

Sachin -> Very true.. They're hardworking, selfless, helpful and wonderful.

Damanjit -> It's beautiful, cultured and perfect to visit. So, why not :)

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