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Maps: be prepared!Arrival

July 20- 21, 2001

Making a list, Checking it twice...

I was looking forward to my first trip to Japan: although it was mostly a business trip, I hoped to get a chance to explore Tokyo and meet its people.  While still on the plane, I started to make up a list of the places I'd like to explore.  I wondered if I'd get the chance to see them all!

First Impressions

I was met at the airport by my friend (and also my business client) Miya, who took me to my hotel.  It was nearly an hour drive from Narita to the hotel, so I chatted a bit with Miya and also had my first look at Tokyo.

Panorama of TokyoThe city sprawled: skyscrapers were everywhere, and seemed to be placed almost haphazardly around the city.  Unlike cities such as New York or Washington, D.C., the city didn't seem to be laid out in any planned fashion: streets seemed to meander all over the place.  It was quite clear that I wasn't going to be walking around without a map!

In the daylight, Tokyo was also a rather dirty place: I saw lots of filthy buildings (mostly from car exhaust) and very little vegetation.  There were many construction projects about (and more than a few were slowing down traffic).  Nighttime would prove to be a different story, however...

Worst of all, it was HOT: upper 90's (upper 30's C) and humid: it would remain that way for my entire visit.  A walk around the block had me sweating like a pig: yuck!

At the Hotel

Miya seemed to agree about using maps: his car is equipped with a GPS map system that displayed streets and locations, spoke to us when it was time to change direction or take an exit, had programmed directions so that you could find your way to and from any point in Japan, and showed the location of traffic jams and how to avoid them.  It used a combination of GPS, a specialized FM station (for the traffic alerts), and the odometer to pinpoint our position anywhere in the city.  Nifty!

Hotel KaiyoBefore arriving at the hotel, Miya gave me a little tour of his office, which was a short walk down the street.  (Despite the closeness, I would still manage to get lost at least once!) 

We arrived at the Hotel Kaiyo that evening: I'd discussed my list with Miya and he was going to see what he could do to help out.  I also got some recommendations for local dining (fortunately, since the food at the hotel was very expensive!).

Unfortunately I was too tired that evening to take advantage of any of them: after a 20 hour flight and the drive from the airport, I was beat.  Tomorrow I would have time to explore...


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1995-2002 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Tuesday, March 09, 2004