Monday, March 1, 2010

Everyday Tokyo - Japan Through My Eyes part 2

Tokyo was once called Edo, a small fishing village, way back when Kyoto was capital. Once a castle was built in Edo, the small prefecture experienced growth that eventually had to be renamed as Tokyo in 1628. This city had a history of constant rebuilding: during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 where 143,000 perished from an 8.3 richter scale earhquake, and then again during the World War II bombings.
In Japan, 99% of the population observe principles of Buddhism or Shinto Religion. The remaining 1% are Christians, who are mostly expats - a mixture of Koreans, Chinese and Filipinos. Islam and Sikhism are also present in a smattering of the population.

Each day, some 10 million people congest the Tokyo trains.

Most mobiles and Blackberrys do not work with the Japanese system and those that use local phones find it expensive – both local and international calls are charged the same. iPhones are a safe and functional bet in Tokyo, but texting with your ordinary Nokia phones will be frustrating.

If you don’t have much time, you can try those “Gray Line” tours that will take you around to the requisite spots.

Here are some of the important areas to visit in Tokyo:
  • Roppongi. Shopping centers and embassies populate this area. Nightlife abuzz with frenetic area in this district. Tokyo Tower, a subject of several movies and several sentimentalist novels, can be found here – Japan’s version of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Tokyo tower is a 332.5 meter (1,091 ft) telecommunications and observation tower located in Shiba Park. Roponggi Hills is also home to high end restaurants, the tastiest, but priciest meals to be had in the city.
  • Shibuya. Large neons sine brightly in Tokyo’s version of Leicester Square. Young urban souls find their vibe here. Huge screens playing ads and music videos grace this district. For those who love their DVDs and CDs, a huge Tower Records is here. This is Japanese consumerism on fine display.
  • Yokohama. The Chinatown that dates back1859 is located here.

Where fixing a tie can be a solitary sacred ritual.

A taxi queue.

Head to your nearest Starbucks coffee. Teahouses are as rare here as they are in Manila or in the US. This is most noticeable as you look across the city’s horizon you can easily spot many coffee shop signs, including a popular and fashionable café called Starbucks.

The cuddliest locals.

Remember that Jacky Chan action-drama movie - "The Shinjuku Incident"?

Shinjuku Station serves as the main connecting hub for rail traffic between central Tokyo and its western suburbs on inter-city rail, commuter rail and metro lines. Considered to be the busiest train station in the world in terms of number of passengers, the station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007. It is registered with Guinness World Records.

This is the Eye in the Sky!


Trotter said...

Hi Eye! March has arrived and maybe this awful winter will be gone...

Wondeful shots of Tokyo. So clean, as always... Loved to see it again; almost ten years since last time there...

Meanwhile, Blogtrotter 2 is still in Haiti, now at Malfini Beach. Hope you enjoy and have a great week!!

eye in the sky said...

Great public sanitation practices are a hallmark of a civilized society.

Anonymous said...

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Trotter said...

Hi Eye! You're perfectly right!!

Blogtrotter 2 has moved to the Reggae Land. Enjoy and have a great week ahead!!

June (An Asian Traveler) said...

Tokyo is one of the places I really wanted to visit. Oh, and I like that solitary sacred ritual. :)

eye in the sky said...

@ chinese character: yup, i hop around! :-> wish you could write in english though.

@ June (An Asian Traveler): Tokyo is an enigma. I like the ritual too. LOL