Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Travel Blog 250: Quick Trip to Tokyo

Atlanta to Tokyo

After a short trip to Atlanta and an hour-and-a-half mechanical delay, I took the 14-hour-plus flight to Tokyo. I watched “The Martian” (I really enjoyed it), and then listened to books and napped when I could. After an hour-and-a-half taxi ride (heavy traffic) I was at my hotel--about a 6 on The Exhaustion Meter.

View from My Room

Work, Work, Work
I spent the next day working in my hotel room with a nap every now and then. This was followed with two intensive days facilitating a training workshop for the Japan division of a good client.

Students at Work

The windows from their 45th floor offered a commanding view of Tokyo and the surrounding area. The morning of the first day was crystal-clear by Tokyo standards, and famous Mt. Fuji was a great background to the cityscape.

Early Morning Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji at Sunset

Tokyo Toilet
Many years ago on my first trip to Tokyo, my biggest enjoyment was the awesome bathroom in my hotel room. Although the bathtub appeared to be designed for skinny Hobbits, the super deep tub was perfecting for soaking. It was also the first time I’d seen a high-tech toilet--I was fascinated by the numerous functions. Here is a photo of my toilet and a closeup of the controls.

Tokyo Toilet

Toilet Control Center

Toilets are a big deal in Japan. In fact, they are a source of national pride. The National Toilet Museum opened a few months ago, and their tourism department plans to hype visits to foreigners. I am not kidding. Check it out for yourself:

It will be interesting to see how China responds.

To save my client a few yen, I took the bus from my hotel back to the airport. Here is a shot of a sleeping momma and child.

Momma and Child

A Few Reflections
  • Clean and Tidy: Everything is in as good a shape as an army recruit’s locker in boot camp.
  • Smog: Yes there is some, but the air is crystal-clear compared to Chinese cities--especially impressive for a city of 38 million people (includes Yokohama).
  • Efficiency: Everything works...and on time! The 7:35 train leaves at 7:35.
  • Masks: Masks are very common. About one in five people wear them outside (and some inside--a mild paranoia?).
  • Healthy Appearances: Not many people smoke and very few are obese.
  • Politeness: Pedestrians don’t butt in, drivers don’t honk, and the service people are not only polite, they are committed to your satisfaction. What a concept!

On to Korea.