Tuesday, April 1

Thoughts before leaving Tokyo

First things first: While I have plenty of Casdade 220 in the appropriate color at home, I tried to pack lightly. So I have (had) one ball that I was pretty sure was plenty. But at the last minute, I picked up a partial ball as well as back-up. Well, I have about 30 rounds to go to finish the sleeve, and I have had to break into the reserves, but I think all will be well. I am not thrilled with the look of the first sleeve, but it is cute enough. I do think I have just enough yarn to make sleeve 2 look like sleeve one, and enough yarn in Seattle to redesign the cuffs later if I want.

Other thoughts as I wait for Starbucks to open and the rest of my family to wake and finish packing....

I had been afraid of Tokyo. Especially getting lost (addresses are non-existent) and getting confused on the subway and trains. The transportation has been very easy compared to my expectations. Just a few odd things, where we missed taking the train that arrived at the platform because we were not savvy enough or fast enough to tell if that really was our train. And there seems to be some hidden non-peak fare. While it is really easy for English speakers to get information from the maps, signs etc, I can find nothing in English about a non-peak fare. And several times while traveling non-peak hours we got our tickets back when we thought they would be just right. Then in some small print somewhere I saw a reference to a non-peak fare, but not what it is. A transportation tax on tourists. It isn't much and the subway runs well, so be it.

Stations have a ton of exits, all far away from each other, along with lots of spots to transfer to other trains. It could be very confusing. But there are mostly really good signs for finding your way to the correct exit. Yesterday though, at a station with 10 exits, I saw on the handy map that I wanted exit 6. So I followed all the signs to exit 6, but ended up at a point where I could still see signs for exits 1-5 and 7-10 but 6 had completely disappeared. Another map of the station showed that there was an exit 6 but not on that floor (?) and the stairs to get there were the stairs right behind me marked exit 7. I took the stairs, but no 6. Fortunately 7 was not far from my destination.

Lots of bikes, mostly on the sidewalk. I think there is a protocol for where to ride and where to walk on the sidewalks, but no one seems to follow it. No helmets. I saw one child in a front basket with one, but no one else, not even the other children being carried. They aren't traveling fast on their old-fashioned uprights so it might not be as much an issue, but I still would want a helmet myself.

They drive on the other side. Since we are not driving that doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, but it means that everyone walks on the left as well. Except for a few places in subway stations where the arrows all point to walking on the right.

Restaurant prices are good compared to US but the portions are smaller as well. But that's a Good Thing! We never feel wasteful or stuffed. And it means that we can try more things. Zach wanted both a bowl of french onion soup and a strawberry pancake for breakfast. In America that would have been too much food. (well, maybe not for him) but here it was fine. My mother in law had a cobb salad for lunch and declared it the best she's ever had. Not only the right size, but more interesting seasoning and more ingredients.


Good thing blogger autosaves, because some window in kana popped up with a message that I now think was something like "new updates installed, shutting down now" at least that's what happened. Oh well, I am back from the coffee run with scones for the rest, we need to eat and take a subway to the main train station this morning. With all our bags. Won't that be fun.


cousin jane said...

OMG, how exciting! I've been thinking about you & wondering how the trip is going.

While in Japan, I too found it hard to know which subway exit to use, altho I quickly learned the kanji for north/south/east/west, which helped a lot.

I am knitting some tabi socks--japanese style toe socks to wear with geta, or flip flops. Just the big toe is separate, like mittens for your feet. Now my feet won't get cold when I wear flip flops in cool weather.

kmkat said...

When we were in Naha, Okinawa, in 1980 we rented a car. Driving on the left just takes a little getting used to. The only time it is hard is in parking lots or places where you are not actually on a street -- then it takes some thought.

We got a street map of Naha and thought that we were now ready for anything. Until we looked closely at the maze-like tangle of streets on the map and realized absolutely none of them had street names. Yikes.