Lost in translation

I’m in Japan! I’m actually in Tokyo! Me! I can barely believe it!

For a man who’s got previously got lost a few hundred metres from the home he’s lived in for over a decade, with a bad sense of direction, speaking no other languages than English, pretty much unprepared for the backpacking life and having written no schedule, I’ve done well to get this far!!

First impressions

It’s…different. Very different.

I can’t even guess most of what the signs mean. Even when they provide pictures often they are often so bizarre you can’t guess what they mean.

They’re not many tourists here! I pretty much stand out as a rare European in a vast sea of Asians. Swinging my camera round my neck, taking photos of everything Japanese, I feel like I’m in a negative of a popular London tourist spot!

“You ok, boss?” Two minutes later I’m sorted out which metro to take to my destination. The people here are great. As I’m easy to spot, and I only have to put on my where-the-f**k-am-I-going look on my face (which is quite often) when people go out of their way to come up and help me. A nice old bloke gave me a Japanese we’re-getting-more-westernised talk when I arrived bewildered at the Ueno train station before sending me heading in the right direction. A couple with a map who just happened to come from my hotel told me where it was. A hand fortune teller led me to the restaurant I was looking for (although closed.) Very friendly, even if communication can be difficult.

The Japanese are mad for their cherry blossom. The trees only bloom for a few weeks a year, and that happens to be right now. Very pretty. The park I went to attract crowds of thousands.

The subway is actually fairly easy to navigate, providing you have a map and your wits about you.

Getting food is a bit daunting. When there are Japanese everywhere, menus and signs in unintelligible writing and little English spoken in some places, it’s a little hard to work out what’s good and what the heck you do. My search for a restaurant ended last night as places seemed to shut early or seemed too confusing. Ended up at a Yoshinoya, which is like McDonalds for Japanese food. Same quality, too! Must do better tonight.

The time difference is weird. I’m not used to being ahead, having travelled mostly west or just a couple of hours east. Now we’re 8 hours ahead, so I can speak to someone, go to bed, get up and speak to them again and it’s still their same day! The flight took 11 hours, so Saturday just came and went. Weather is quite warm and sunny. Bit cool in the evenings, though.

Right, I better go. Havent got time to blog loads as I’m only here for a while. The hotel is ok, but here one more night. I need to meet more people so I can experience a bit more of the culture. Got lots to plan, so I’ll try and update when I can. I can email a post, but it does seem to repeat them once or a 100 times, so you’ll just have to live with that until I sort it.

So let’s hope today I can see more of what this great city has to offer!


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