07 October 2007

Please to Welcome You Japan!

Greetings from Japan.

Mom, David and I left the west coast on Thursday the 4th and it's now Sunday evening, October 7th. I'd say we've been here three days, but because of the time difference, we lost Friday altogether.

What's the time difference anyway?
You can figure it out by adding four hours to west coast time and then changing the time of day. So right now it's almost 5:00 AM on the west coast. Add four hours (9:00 AM) and change the time of day (AM to PM). Tokyo time is 9:00 - PM.

Is it insanely expensive?
You've probably heard that Japan is really, really expensive. Well, as with most places, you can save a lot of money by doing what the locals do. If you want an American breakfast, you'll pay more. I had a bagel this morning that cost $17 US (it came with a small serving of potatoes and a salad). By contrast, dinner tonight was a huge bowl of ramen and that cost about $5.50 US.

Hotel-wise, we've lucked out and are able to stay at a US Military Hotel. We stayed one night at a regular hotel and that was about 11500 Yen (around $110 US).

The rooms were small, but when you're only there to sleep it's not a big deal. The room came with a free Samurai costume! Okay, fine. Mom says it's actually called a Yukata (pictured left).

Shopping in Harajuku today was a bit of a shock. Japanese people dress extremely well and they pay a premium for it. I saw a cute coat: 41000 Yen (about $400). Whoa! I couldn't believe it: and we weren't even at the expensive part of the Harajuku strip! It was a really cute coat though, totally unique. The toy store (Kiddyland) was a little less painful. I got about a dozen things for around $100 US.

What's the weather like?
Tokyo is roughly on the same latitude as LA. The weather has been in the upper 70's and sunny. It's more humid here than on the west coast, but nowhere near as bad as Thailand or Houston.

Do people speak English?
Not as many Japanese speak English as I was led to believe. So far, it hasn't been a problem. Most of the signs are in English, and you can point to a picture of what you want on the menu. The subway system is pretty intuitive, and people have been universally nice and willing to help.

I intend to post new blog entries every couple of days. Please also visit the photo posts which I'll be updating as often as possible:

Really Weird Japanese Stuff
Really Cool Japanese Stuff
and Japanese Vending Machines


Unknown said...

if I couldn't figure out how to flush the toilet, I'd go mad.

Looking forward to more posts!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you are there!!! So jealous but good that you are testing the waters ;)

Anonymous said...

glad to hear you're somewhat clear of the fires...keep us posted. Loved the tour thanks