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Tokyo vs. New York

Tokyo Travel Blog

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I've read a few things (and even been asked once or twice since arriving) that compare Tokyo to New York.  I suppose if you're unfamiliar or a visitor to either you'd come to this conclusion.  Sure, they're both ginormous metropolitan cities with a myriad things to recommend them.  They're non-stop bustling cities, and any observations that are made of cities in general would be true of both.  But for me, the similarities end there.

Tokyo, and all of Japan for that matter, is like a meticulously fine-tuned machine.  Well-oiled, choreographed, firing on all cylinders.  Tokyo is far cleaner and quieter, and is vastly more polite than New York.  It's also much more spread out across a sprawling metropolis, but seeing as Manhattan is confined to a tiny island, this isn't exactly hard to do; most great cities of the world are larger physically (geographically?) than New York.

Having said that, living in New York has made it easier to navigate Tokyo.  Undoubtedly.  Perhaps it's just the general understanding of how cities work, how to efficiently navigate trains, subways, city streets.  Step quickly and with a purpose, don't idle in thoroughfares or in busy intersections or smack in the middle of a sidewalk.  You're in the way, move it.  Step aside or become someone's lunch.  It's common sense.  And to me, someone who abhors tourists and scowls at them as I storm past them on subway platforms and crowded sidewalks, I respect the right of way of the local and make myself as invisible as possible.  It's only polite.  And from a rude New Yorker to a polite Tokyo resident, it's the best return of hospitality I can offer.
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photo by: maka77