As we prepare our transition back to "real life" after 7 months, we are unwinding in Tokyo and catching up with Akiko's dad. Tokyo is Akiko's second home and Mike's 6th time visiting, so this place is not a new experience for us. We thought we had Tokyo figured out, but how funny that everything is relative and subject to perspective, especially after experiencing all the places we've been on our Travel Sabbatical.
Here's a few things we've never uttered before on our trips to Tokyo...'til now:
- "Wow, it's so calm and orderly here."
- "Why are we waiting for the light to turn? I think we should just cross the street now."
- When approaching any shop, vendor: "Irasshaimase (Welcome!) is so much better than 'You buy sometheeeeeeng!'"
- Observing cars driving down narrow streets: "Pretty sure they could squeeze in one more lane and at least 2 buses, and 50 motorbikes into that street."
- On riding the bus from the airport: "Really? It goes directly and non-stop to Kichijoji? That's amazing."
- "I bet I could negotiate that train ticket down from ¥160 down to ¥40."
- "What do you mean it's a fixed price?!"
- "Hmmmmm. $10 beer versus 50 cent beer. Missing the sidewalk beer in Saigon."
- "The streets are so clean, organized, and the shops so pretty, I feel like I'm on a movie set."
- If Southeast Asia adopted Japan's trash separating system: "These boxes get thrown in that street; these plastic bags get thrown on another street; and styrofoam can only be thrown out the window on Mondays and Thursdays."
- "Dear tap water: I will never take you for granted again."
- "Are you sure they're open during their siesta time (usually noon until 1 or 2)?
- "I feel like a paranoid freak, holding onto my travel pouch like someone cares. I forget no one wants my shit. Everyone has a better iPhone, a Japanese passport, and way more money in their wallet than I do."
- "They could soooo accommodate more customers at this restaurant if they exchanged their nice furniture for short red plastic tables and stools."
- "Why not."
- "Can't believe those dogs are on a leash."
- "Seriously? You actually have plenty of change for my large bills? Weird..."
- "When the train conductor says its a one-minute wait, it's probably a true 60-second wait, instead of a one-minute-means-at-least-ten-minute-wait."
- "Toilet paper. Oh, how I love thee."
There's probably more, but here it is. Welcome back to civilization.