Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 17 of 33 › view all entries
I have to say I was looking forward to visiting Japan since I first set out on my trip. On arrival there, I wasn't disappointed. The first words that spring to mind are clean, efficient, structured, safe, polite....different.
Different it certainly is. There is a language barrier but English speakers are never too far away. In fact a lot more people speak English than you initially think but they are reluctant to use it. In general I found them to be a shy people, but very friendly and helpful once approached or asked for help. Structure is the name of the game - arriving at a hotel without a reservations gets hotel staff flustered. Pedestrians always wait for a green light before crossing the street. While traffic is busy, I didn;t observe much agression by any means.
The country is simply spotless. Sometimes travelling in the subway system, I almost felt I was passing through someone's living room! The streets are clean, cars are clean, back alleys are clean - you get the point.
Public transportation is excellent and indeed its evident that this is not a new phenomenon. All modes of transport - airports, trains, busses, high speed rail (Shinkansen) are all linked seamlessly. The Tokyo subway system map resembles a bowl of spaghetti when you see it first but it gets you everywhere you need to go with little hassle.
For me the Shinkansen system (Bullet Trains) was the most impressive thing about Japan. Having a top speed of 300Km/hr, these trains zoom up and down the country allowing people to move about, quickly, safely and efficiently. All major cities are connected by the Shinkansen and efficiency is the key word. Trains arrive and depart on time, all the time. When on the train, you are comfortable and scarcely realize you are moving.