Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tokyo, My Most Favourite City

I had been to Tokyo (click to read previous posts on Tokyo), Japan three years ago in 2008 for a conference and Tokyo certainly top the list of my favourite city so far. If there's such a word as most favourite, Tokyo is my most favourite city in this world. I agree there are many more cities and countries to be explore but till then, Tokyo is my no.1. For a start, they are definitely practicing more go green than our country. Aside from the obvious facts that they recycle all their rubbish by having a recycle bin in every home, cycles, car pool and uses their public transport more and has tax incentives for buying hybrid and electrical cars, I went to Tokyo during the summer and it was really hot. Like 31 or 32 degrees everyday. I believe a lot of you dont know this but Japan (Tokyo) has a policy that all the airconditoners have to be maintain at 26 degrees and above, ideally at 28 degrees. Yes, so even though they have aircons in their hostels, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, office, home, hospital, uni, practically anywhere, they maintain it at a 26-28 degrees, just enough to provide a cooler environment that the scorching heat outdoors.

Some of us were practically sweating even though we were eating at air-conditioned restaurants, walking in air-conditioned malls etc. The reason behind this policy is because they found out that at higher temperatures, the aircons does not emit as much carbon dioxide as they do at lower temperatures, hence it'll be able to reduce global warming. Global warming and climate changes does not come from development alone. It comes from the lack of practice of environmental friendly measures at all time.

The Tokyo tower
Tokyo City
Tokyo is like a gigantic melting pot of past, present and future. They seems to have absolutely everything. There's nothing that you cant find in Japan. From neon lights boards to electronics to vending machines that has nuggets and fried chickens to fashion to super huge flagship stores to comics and animes to some of the cutest and quirkiest stuff on earth, I'm totally impressed. Not forgetting their advancement in technology from singing toilet to automated taxi doors, automated hand-wash-dryer tap, robots and all the latest gadgets that left my jaw dropping in awe. But at the same time, amidst all of these futuristic advancement and their fast pace life, Tokyo still maintain their traditional past rich in history and culture.

One of my culture shock would be having my share of experience showering in a public bath, a female one of course. Nonetheless, the notion of having to be only in my birthday suit with other girls that I don't know was quite an intimidating one. My first shower was with this HK girl and because we were both so shy we decided to take a corner of the bathroom each and face the wall to shower. It was very awkward initially but it surprised me at the same time how some other girls are not shy about it at all which makes things much less awkward I guess. Soon we were sitting down chatting while showering. Yes there are stools for us to sit and shower. Of course we still dont purposely stared at each other if you know what I mean. And telling yourself that it's all anatomy surely helps to adapt to the culture sooner.

Another noteworthy thing about Japan would be their public transportation system, the metro more specifically. Despite having one of the most complicated metro system in this world (so complicated that people say if you never got lost while taking their metro, you have never truly been to Japan), I really salute their efficiency and punctuality. If their train is scheduled to arrive at 5.05am, the train will be there sharp at 5.05am. And their trains are so clean and moves so much faster than our lrt.

The Tokyo Hospital
The traditional part of Tokyo, Asakusa
Doraemon candies.


This is the birthplace of some of the world famous cartoon characters like Doraemon, Hello Kitty and Pokemon, superheroes like Ultraman, animes and comics. These cartoons, animes and comics certainly brought back many childhood memories so it was like reliving the childhood seeing all these characters candies. I still remember having to read the Malay version of Doraemon and Detective Conan just because I cannot read Chinese. -.-"
Hello Kitty candies.
Boobs jelly. Seriously.
I love these transparent umbrellas a lot. That was then when transparent umbrellas were still not available in Malaysia.

Yukata, their summer kimono
Tokyo Disneyland. I was so sad when I heard initially that they are affected by the tsunami.
The famous Disney's castle
Ginza
The BEST ever green tea and red bean ice cream I have ever eaten.

The freshest ever salmon and tuna sashimi. 


Another reason why Tokyo is my no.1 is because of the food. Japanese cuisine and Mos Burger is one of my most favourite food so being in the land surrounded by authentic Mos Burger, ramen, udon, sushis, sashimis and green tea was practically like being in 7th heaven. The green tea ice cream with red bean is the best green tea ice cream I have ever eaten in my entire life. Cannot be beaten by any local ones here even the more expensive ones. The one there is just too authentic. And the sashimis from Tsukiji is the bestest of the bestest. If you are afraid of the fishy smell of sashimi, then you have to try the one at Tsukiji. They are the most unfishy sashimi ever.

Huge tuna like this are their daily catch.
I look kinda ugly here but whatever. The cameraman snapped at the wrong moment when I was half closing my eyes. But the stars here are those peaches! Omg, I have been craving for them ever since I got back from Japan. Why Malaysia got no peaches? I dont mean the can ones, these are fresh peaches. So juicy and sweet. I love peaches.
Harajuku.. I miss the strawberry cheesecake crepe and shopping there. :(
After fumbling unknowingly with the 100% Japanese speaking and Japanese language photo sticker machine, we miraculously managed to have our photo sticker done.


Above all, the reason that puts Tokyo no.1 on my list of favourite city is the people. I'm totally pawned by their discipline, helpfulness and honesty. On our last night in Tokyo, it was also the beginning of the Summer celebration in Japan. It was quite a big celebration in Japan hence in conjunction with that, they had like an hour of fireworks show to mark the beginning of the festival. On that night itself, I think more than 10000 of Japanese youth mainly all clad in yukata and jin bei gathered at Ichikawa to watch the fireworks. I love fireworks so I totally enjoyed the one hour show. The amazing part was actually after the show had ended. 

After the show had ended, everyone headed towards the train station and almost immediately, the Japanese just queued themselves in lines, in rows while waiting for the train to come. They dont even need the station warden to blow the whistle or to order them to queue. It was just automatic. Like that's what they do every single day. And imagine ten of thousands of youth at the train station and all of them just queued up! Those that dont fit into the queue just patiently waited at the stairs until the first batch of people went into the train and then they moved up to form the next new row. And when the train comes fully packed, they just wait for all the people to come out from the train before entering. No pushing. So discipline can.
Thanks Waka too for posting back my package to me from Tokyo.
On our 2nd last day in Tokyo, we were moving from Shibuya (where we stayed the whole time) to Narita so we were lugging our luggages and all in and out of the train. What happen was, I actually left behind one of my hand carry package in the train when I got off at our destination. And I only came to realized that after the train door had closed and sped off. I was so devastated at that time as I watched the train sped off with my package in them. That package had meant a lot to me because it was the package that contained ALL of my souvenirs from Japan. It was all the souvenirs that I had managed to buy during those limited shopping trips during our conference and also from Tokyo Disneyland. Souvenirs that I had bought for everyone back home. And it was gone all because I was careless and forgetful. I couldn't possibly rebuy all of them again in one day too even if I had wanted to. That kinda feeling was totally devastating that I cant help but broke down crying.

After reporting to the lost and found department at the train station, I was still grimmed because all of them can only speak Japanese with super minimal English and I can only speak super minimal Japanese which wasn't exactly helpful. They gave me a number to call, which was also in Japanese and asked me to check back with them from time to time if they had found my package. The number was an operator number fully in Japanese language too so there was no way I could communicate with them. Thankfully, most of the Japanese are very friendly and helpful people. From time to time I randomly approached random people who can understand some English to help me make those calls to check on the status of my package and all of them willingly helped.

You cannot imagined the joy, gratitude and happiness I felt the next morning when they called to the train station and they said they had found my package. It was the best news I had heard during my entire stay in Japan and the news came aptly before I left for the airport to fly back to Malaysia. Another of my friend also left his DSLR worth RM 3000+ in the train the day before and it was also found and returned to him. Such is the honesty of the Japanaese that got me really really impressed. I'll definitely want to go back to Tokyo and Japan again simply because there's still so much left to be explore and experience.

The news of the earthquake and tsunami had sadden me pretty much. It must be very devastating to be hit by one of the worst earthquake in history. Seeing the aftermath pictures, the death toll rising day by day and more news about lost homes and family is simply upsetting. I figured besides offering our prayers to Japan, they definitely need alot of aid in terms of medical supplies, food, clothes, home etc so the best way we can help them is also by taking action. I really wish I can actually abandon classes here and be part of the relief team instead. But since that's not quite possible, for now the only thing I can do is to offer donations. Well, if you will like to donate too but do not know how yet, one way is through here (click).

Besides, I think with so much news ongoing about the nuclear plant explosion, a lot of people are very concern of radiation and stuff and I had seen alot of tweets and RTs about acid rain and applying iodine and stuff. Well, I guess we all just want some reliable info so here's a site (click here) to get more reliable links and info regarding the quake,tsunami, how to help and nuclear plant.

I will end my post with a video of the singing toilet I saw in Japan. Really, the toilet sings automatically when you approaches it providing soothing music while your bowel works. Meantime, let's continue to #prayforjapan and offer aids to them as we can. I know Japan will be able to recover and rise strong again from this. :)



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24 fondue dips :

To all who are reading this.. I just read from the news that radioactive rain will be hitting the Philippines in a matter of hours so please avoid contact with all forms of rain for the next few days. stay indoors and remember to keep windows and openings closed. if caught in the rain seek shelter IMMEDIATELY

Wow, so many topics in this one post. I would love to write some long comments....but....I will to keep it short.

1) Global Warming is a huge SCAM. Once the fraud with the data came out, they conveniently changed the terminology to "Climate Change". There is no evidence that the globe is warming due to anything that man is doing (i.e., at times in the past there was tropical weather near the poles, before man started burning fossil fuels = end of story). Trust me, this whole scam was originated by the Investment Banks and Gov's as an attempt to find a new way to tax the people and to sell and trade carbon credits.

2) Green tech is fine and dandy, but it is not mathematically feasible (it's about the energy density of the fuels -- and fossil fuels are the best we have right now). Solar and wind tech will NOT provide nearly enough power that we need. Electric cars are fine too, but we need to burn coal or run nuke plants to generate the electricity.

3) Thorium Breeder reactors are the best and safest, but few countries are developing that tech, because they all want to make bombs with the enriched Uranium and Plutonium.

4) The PM's wife is ignorant, and I agree, said some embarrassing things (if what you said that she said in the vid is true).

5) The people and culture in Japan are great. Very nice and very well behaved people with little crime, etc. Although, I have heard that the Gov may be lying a bit about the nuke problems and radiation....due to the strong cultural drive to "save face".

6) I'm not sure what you think is false about applying iodine. I would be interested in knowing. Because taking KI tablets can help with limiting the uptake of radioactive I2 in the thyroid (although, is only effective for a short amount of time).

7) I wouldn't mind a singing toilet.....if it sang loud enough, it may make the process easier and less embarrassing I suppose :-).

I felt a lot of passion in this post from you, which was refreshing actually. :-)

--M

I agree that Datin Rosmah is so ignorant. Maybe she shd read some facts 1st before commenting.

And from reading what you write, I'm already amazed. I want to go to Tokyo too!

sigh, i was surprised to know those actually come out from her u know. :/ felt so embarrassed at times.

i've never been to Japan but it is actually one of my dream place for vacation! especially for their disneyland. :(

I loved Tokyo, Never been to Tokyo but i'm pretty sure it's among a great place in the world.. Hopefully japan will recover soon from the big disaster...

Angela : Thanks for sharing :)

M : Wow that was a really long comment. :)

Kuan Hong : Go one day. You wont regret.

Caroline : Go for your honeymoon hehe :)

Bluedianthus : Yes I believe they will be able to recover from this strong. :)

i wanna go japan!!! praying for japan now.

Jacklyn : Definitely must go one day! :)

After reading your post, I feel even more sad about never being to japan before!! And all the wonderful things, so easily destroyed by nature ): But the most wonderful thing about them is their spirit and attitude. Hope japan recovers well!

Theyellowhammers : Indeed nothing last forever, so vulnerable to destructions. THe Japs have very strong spirit and attitude so I believe they will. :)

Japanese are well discipline group,at least by now i didn't read any robbing of goods from supermarkets, shops etc., they are very calm at any place,no jump queue,rushing and fighting. I shall salute to all Japanese here. May god bless you!

Just back from tokyo days ago, can tell it was going to happen by the non-stop tremors days before the big one hit.

Sandra : :)

Nweomma : Yeah indeed, God bless :)

Quirky-Malaysia : How did they react to the tremors then? Must be quite scary.

Tokyo is my dreamland country,i will go there definitely someday,hope Japan recover soon:(

I enjoyed seeing your picture in Tokyo,picture goes to the one with transparent umbre, black cocktail dress, you look gorgeous=) + others just with simple Tees.

Hsien Yit : Thanks! And yes I want to go again too after they recover. :)

WOH1 TOKYO TOWER,MY LOVE!!!

So jealous of you can take picture with it.Does it damage by the recent earthquake?

Zit Siong : According to certain sources, the tip of the tower is bent! You can see it here :

http://www.3news.co.nz/Japan-earthquake-Tokyo-Tower-bent-photo/tabid/417/articleID/202035/Default.aspx

Yeah....ahhh....sorry for the long comment. Your post included so many topics, you got me all worked-up. :-)

--M

M : No worries about that. I do appreciate the long comment and the fact that means that you read through everything. :)

that video is a disgrace lor..

Alvink : Sigh. Thats the consequence of talking without thinking.

Ya, it is sad indeed hearing and seeing what has happened in Japan since last week. I think we shall convey our condolences to those victims rather than making unnecessary and unwise statement like Rosmah did. By the way, her hairstyle sucks!

Jam : Agree.. her hairstyle is an overdose of hairspray which is an environmetal pollutant by the way. But I dont think she realized that she's a source of environmental pollution as well.