Monday, June 28, 2010

Cycling is popular in Tokyo. Both pedestrians and cyclists share the broad sidewalks. However, I felt that the cyclists go quite fast, and any collision with them will result in a nasty accident.

There are bicycle parks all over Tokyo. Those who park indiscriminataely risk having their bikes impounded, and a fine will have to be paid to have your bike released.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Elvis in Kobe, Japan?

I was pleasantly surprised to see Elvis in Kobe. Did he perform here? Why does Kobe honour him?

The port city of Kobe, Japan.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Travels in Japan: How good is Japanese English?

Ask for panties if you're a man!

This is called an American Dog!

Japanese English can be a bit funny as illustrated by the examples above. English in China wins the top prize for weirder English however.

On the whole, most Japanese I came across could understand English although they cannot speak it fluently. It seems their understanding of written English is much better than their spoken English. I had no problem making myself understood. I find the Japanese more competent than the Thais and Chinese.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Riding the bullet train in Japan.

An experience not to be missed in Japan is riding the Shinkansen or the bullet train.

The train goes like a bullet really.

The Japan Rail Pass is worth it only if you make a return trip to Osaka from Tokyo.

Sleek and super fast.

TLR: his second time on the bullet train.

Ticket inspector

Aircraft-like interior.

And, finally, I was pleasantly surprised to see attendants wheeling food trolleys - just like in an aircraft except that you have to open your wallet!

Hopefully, if I go to S Korea in autumn I'll be able to tell you whose bullet train experience is better because they have something similar.

Japan Rail Pass

My Japan Rail Pass for 7 days. It shows the start and end date.

Before I left for Japan I bought the Japan Rail Pass in Singapore for SGD $456 which entitled me to 7 days of unlimited travel on both ordinary and the Shinkansen (bullet train).

The bullet train is fantastic. The interior is spacious,and looks like an aircraft. In fact, it sounds like one too. And those of you who have a bladder problem will be pleased to learn that the toilets are super clean! Haha. In more than 40 years of operation it has never met with any accident.

And it's  fast as it can reach speed of up to 300 kph. From Tokyo to Kyota, a distance of 471 km takes it only about 2hrs 15 min

It's worth buying the Japan Pass. With it I travelled as far south as Hiroshima, and other cities like Kobe, Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

People-watching in Tokyo, Japan

I found it interesting to watch ordinary Japanese people going about their daily lives in Tokyo. They are very polite people, and have a very high level of civic-consciousness. Tokyo, and elswhere, is very clean and well-organised. Everything works, and public toilets are remarkably clean


Friday, June 4, 2010

Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

A must-see in Tokyo is the famous Tsujiki fish market but I had to get up at 4AM to make it to the fish auction. This is a normal fish market and not just for show for the benefit of tourists. After the visit most visitors will have an early breakfast of seafood at the many restaurants in the area but the prices are cut-throat really.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tokyo is a food paradise

Sorry to say this but while you suffer from the heat and humidity in Singapore/Malaysia and elsewhere, the weather in Tokyo is perfect for travelling with day time temperature of about 19 celcius! Even though I undertake marathon treks in this urban jungle, I never feel tired.

Tokyo is a food paradise for those who live to eat. There are cute little eateries in abundance. The only downside is that I have to pay double for the sort of Japanese food I get in Singapore.