This is the story about my first, but hopefully not last, trip to Japan in March….
After travelling for 24 hours from Norway, we finally reached the capital of Japan, Tokyo. With its roughly 13 million people it’s the biggest city in Japan and hence it is buzzling with life. Or so we thought… We were a bit surprised not to be seeing more people when we arrived and it was not before we were entering the metro system we got the authentic feeling of it being really crowded.
From the minute I sat my first bloated foot (the last leg was for 11 hours, need I say more?) on Japanes soil, I was in love. Everyone were so friendly and helpful, and even though very few speaks English, the airport staff were really good at visual communication and got us through immigration and customs in record speed. Outside the terminal, the transportation options were really professionally lined up. Our express bus had a departure time at 11:40 and guess what, it left at precisely 11:40:00, a punctuality which is no more than an utopia back in Norway.
Being the world record holder in punctionality is one of the major reasons for my instant infatuation with Japan. In 2017 it was considered a scandal when a train departured 20 seconds too early, and even though no customers complained, the management of the rail company had to issue an official statement apologizing for the incident. Somehow I don’t see this ever happening in Norway where a train (long distance) is considered on time if it arrives its final destination within 5 min, 59 secs of its scheduled arrival time and where bus-for-train has become a common phrase in our everyday life.
When we arrived in downtown Tokyo, the weather was cold and rainy, so we hurried directly to our hotel. Or, at least we tried to… The many tall buildings both impaired visual orientation as well as confused the GPS giving us a bit of a struggle finding the correct way. But, with a little help from some very friendly Japanese, who gesticulated the direction the best they could, we were able to find out hotel. Our final good samaritan did not even leave our side until we were safely inside the hotel building. Amazing! In other words, a wonderful start on our stay in Tokyo:)