Firstly, big thank you to Anti-Ringgit - for his 'Insight Guide to Tokyo' and a few brochures, and Sanguine - for websites and emails...
Day 1 - Oct 31, arrived Tokyo Narita airport at 7:30pm Monday night. Both of my phones not working in JP, luckily cellphone rental is not expensive - found ABC rental at airport having 50% promotion - 250 yen (RM9) per day, the costly part was the call charges - 200 yen per min for both local and international calls. Then, paid 3000 yen ( RM 110 ) to board airport limosine bus to tokyo Ikebukuro. It's 2 hours travel time. When the bus passed by Roppongi , I saw I-kei building :) Though it's 9pm at night, I still could see a lot of people working late in the offices, meeting rooms still packed with people, attending round table meetings. My airport bus stopped at Metropolitan Hotel. I paid 650 yen (RM 11 ) for 0.5 kilometer of cab ride to my motel ... mahalnya.... I did it bcoz it was dark at night, I didn't want to spend time dragging a luggage wandering on the street looking for the motel. Cab in Japan - no need to open or close the door - it opens automatically. I stayed in Ryokan Kimi in Ikebukuro- the cheapest I could find within Tokyo, 18,000 yen for 4 nights ( RM 610 ). Ryokan is traditional Japanese style motel - a super small room with tatami mat(www.kimi-ryokan.jp) - the place was clean, simple, strategic location, reasonable price. I like the tatami bamboo smell whenI entered the room - but I didn't find the staffs friendly at all. Oh, this place has curfew hours ....close and door lock from 1 am to 7 am ..aiii, Bahija couldn't visit Tsukiji Fish Market at 5 am - to see the tuna fish bidding and trading fun time.
Ryokan room, bought sushi and sappora beer from Family-Mart ( like 7-11 store ) . Hot green tea is free from ryokan
Day 2 - woke up early, thought of locating In-kei to dial in for meeting, In-kei is somewhere in Marunouchi, but I knew I cannot locate this office ....plus it was Deepavali holiday - people should be cuti back home...so I happily rushed to join Grey Line Tokyo Day Tour. First visited Tokyo Tower, then Meiji Shrine ( Nov 3 was Culture Day - lucky loh, managed to see their traditional way of praying and some other unique offerings), Akasaka Guest House, passed by National DIET Building ( their House of Parliment ), then enjoyed a pleasant walk through East Garden of the Imperial Palace. On the way, passed by I-Kei again - funny, I-Kei logo on the building is black and silver background. The logo on the front entrance is white on red background - what happen to the brand logo blue and white ? Then had yummy 2000 yen lunch at Ginza. Ginza is the most expensive business district. Japanese businessmen usually bring their customers to Ginza for high end expensive food, then adjourn to entertainment area Ginza. After lunch, I enjoyed a nice 30 mins boat ride to Asakasa on Sumida River, here - could see the blend of old and new Tokyo. Reached Asakusa Kannon Temple - famous temple in Tokyo, crowded with people and stalls. There are 2 major religions in JP, Shintoism and Buddhism. Shintoism doesn't has a praying object - it believe that everything has a spirit, eg Mount Fuji is a holy mountain. Buddhism like what we have here, chinese culture, temple. Most japanese are not strong in religion, they are usually bi-religions - celebrate whatever , then on Dec 25 - all japanese turn into Christians, as they celebrate Christmas in a big deal ( this was the joke told by my petite tour guide). After Asakusa, passed by Nakamise, Harajuku, Kappa Bashi, Akihabara. Bahija end the tour at Ueno - went to Ueno night market.
Day 3 - Boarded bus to Mt Fuji - 3 hours from Tokyo. We can only go to Station 5 of Mount Fuji - 2400 meters. The trekking trail starts from here. Nice panaromic view driving up there.
Next, drove to a nearby city - Hakone - this is a famous hot springs resort area. Again, passed by I-Kei - impressed leh, I-Kei has an office in this small resort area. Took Hakone Sky Gondola to enjoy the view of volcanic Hakone Mountain ..niceeeee. Then, we went to Owakudani Valley ( the valley of Hell) - here we saw steam escaping from the rugged mountains of Owakudani, sulphur smell as well. This is the place where we tried Onsen Tamago (an egg boiled in hot spring water). Next, took pirate boat cruise on Lake Ashi. Relaxing :) I took the Shinkansen (bullet train) return to Tokyo (30 mins). It's amazing watching the high speed bullet train passing by - zzzzooommmmm. yet, when I sat in the shinkansen, it was so comfortable and stable , felt like the speed of 100/km only leh ...padahal it was running at 400/km ...Arrived Tokyo, I went to Shibuya. Shibuya has a lot of shopping places. Sanguine suggested Shibuya 109 mall, I went in - hmm, felt so bad, felt so ulu, so kampung girl. Those japanese girls who shopped in this mall - their dressing and hairdo were so 'IN' , I obviuosly couldn't fit in :)
Day 4 - It's a holiday in JP - Culture Day - a lot of folks praying in Meiji Shrine. I saw quite a number of women wearing kimono. I like their kimono culture - make the woman in kimono very lemah-lembut, neat. Bahija didn't want to spend RM 500 on train ticket to Kyoto - thus decided to just lepak in Tokyo, so walked around Shinjuku and did some shopping. So, I went to Kinokuniya, Takashimaya, Isetan, Seibu, Tobu .... hmmm, things are way too expensive for me. Only saw one small 100 yen shop - bought some food to bring home. Everywhere was jam-packed with people - crowded. I didn't enjoy those heavy crowd - made me pening - loss appetite ( old liow ) ....so completed my tokyo trip by 5 pm and went back to Ryokan to rest, and packed for home sweet home. I was so eager to go home liow
Tokyo is too crowded, just another big cosmopolitan. Subway is full of all walks of people at any time ... during peak hours - sandwich trains - people running around, some quite rude. Genereally they bow heads a lot, some quite polite too...Japan population is 120 million, 10% 12 million in Tokyo. 6000 homeless folks ( this I dun understand, 6000 is a small number, yet the authority didn't take care of this social issue - we can see the homeless sleeping on the garden opposite Imperial Palace). Average commute time to work is 1 hour subway/train one way. Property is way too high, a couple usually get married at 28 - 30, then at age 35 - buy a property outside Tokyo. Office worker average income is USD 45 - 50K annually, 20% income tax. Fried rice KL standard is 500 yen there ....Toyota is always no 1, whereas no 2 or 3 cars are either Nissan or Honda. Favourite car is Toyota Corolla - USD 15k. But their challenge is parking space. To own a car, must have car park first. Suicide cases is increasing, 34k cases last year, 2 yrs ago was 30k - victims were young executives - they couldn't handle the situation after being fired or lost a job - 'face' issue - felt shamed....aiiii - given up valuable life just because kena buang kerja ( stressnya this society )... japanese also spend a lot of in wedding ( USD 20 - 30 K ) , they prefer ang pow USD 300 for one, USD 500 for 2 person. I definitely don't want to attend any japanese wedding - pok kai. Japanese diet is very healthy - breakfast sushi rolls, lunch sushi or noodles, dinner same , drink a lot of green tea. Life expectancy is longer now - men is 78 yrs old, women is 85 yrs old - there is a proposal to extend the retirement age. This society also facing a big issue - higher silver-hair population which needs more maintenance funds... Overall, it's a fruitful trip to see, to learn about a new country, frankly, I wouldn't want to stay in Tokyo. The positive side of this trip is that - Bahija enjoys her traffic jam back home now - at least traffic jam also - I can sit in the car listen to music, read newspaper without sandwich with others - better, cozier....Do you know what is the nickname of Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ????
Japan Richard Gere .....
Changgih toilet service from 'TOTO' - the manufacturer of this toilet seat. I say Innovative. During winter / autumn time, when you sit on the seat - it's warm ... felt so good warming your buttock. Then urine also malu suara loud, there is a music button, while urine, push that music button for music ( so that others cannot hear the urine sound), after complete the business, choose the cleaning method- water flush out to wash, then to air ....like massage kind of feeling -hehe. Aiyuh, I can tell you, my first trial, I spent > 5 mins inside the loo , hehe. I wish we can deploy this kind of toilet seats in MY - then our toilets won't be so dirty. Hmm, may be I should go talk to TOTO for distribution rights ...