Welcome to Japan: A Peek Inside My Stay In Tokyo

As promised, here is an update from my first 72 hours since leaving New York on Friday morning. I will add some pictures in this post to highlight some key things I am writing about but visit this page for my entire photo album from my stay here in Tokyo.

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A ‘Welcome to Japan’ sign is one of the first things you see at the airport after getting off the plane


Saturday morning, we were guided through a short tour throughout our community in Tokyo and were shown local supermarkets for our everyday needs, some places to eat/shop and how convenient it is to take the Tokyo Metro to move about the city.

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This is a view of what a typical living room looks like in our building.
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There was a nice welcome Starbucks package containing coffee, popcorn and pretzels when we first arrived into our rooms.

Prior to even considering a role that would move me half way around the world, one of the first things I did was do a little research on the availability of halal restaurants here. I found that there were specific restaurants that only served halal food but I was not prepared to see halal items on menus at your regular, local restaurants and supermarkets here. This welcomed surprise will certainly make it easier to have a more balance diet here.

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I have been more than surprised at how conveniently halal items have been available whether at the supermarket or at a restaurant.

Since we have been taking the metro during off-peak hours, it has been relatively easy to figure out our way around the various lines and where to transfer/exit. Based off of a mere two days of experience riding the metro, I think it has been a relatively easy process to figure out way around the various lines and there are probably two main things that our subway system can learn from the process here:

1) They have very clear signs indicating which train cars are ideal for you depending on your destination or transfer point and

2) There are glass walls/doors on the newer platforms that restrict passengers from accidentally falling onto the tracks while they wait for the trains to arrive. Once the train has ‘docked’ into the station, only then will the doors open allowing you to enter the train with no access to fall onto the train tracks. I can only imagine the number of lives that could be saved and injuries that could be reduced if the MTA and the Port Authority were to implement this back home.

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A nice, calm view looking out from my apartment.


As a preview/teaser for my next post, we were greeted with this welcome present on our first day of work. Something to get accustomed to in Tokyo, I suppose.



Trip to DC

Edit: The picture are now available at http://pictures.angrybrownguy.com.

So we got into the hotel Friday night after a not so bad drive filled with a small portion of rain where the visibility was probably negative at a point. We got here around midnight last night and didn’t do much except lounge around the room. This morning I did not see us getting up at 9 am but somehow we did and were out an hour or so later. We got to Washington DC about 11 and surprising could not find a single Dunkin Donuts here in Maryland or in DC. Go figure, we must have searched for anywhere from half an hour to an hour along our route. On the other hand, we did find a Bank of America ATM machine that lets us withdraw money in multiples of $10. I have never seen that anywhere!

We missed a majority of the Cherry Blossom Festival by the time we got there but the caught the ending starting with a Garfield float followed by some Sesame Street characters… about how that is related to Japanese culture and Cherry Blossoms… don’t ask me. That was followed with several hours of Japanese Street Festival. That went much better than I had orginally thought. There were lots of people dressed up in traditional Japanese attire and there were certainly plenty were dressed just ridiculously. There were plenty of good things to see from the various flowers and plants from Japan to several sculptures that people were carving of animals to people hosting mini demonstrations of martial arts or showing off their creativity.

Continue reading “Trip to DC”