It's raining today, first rain I've seen here, so there are 15 million & 1 umbrellas out there. But as in everything, the Japanese have it sorted. Firstly, the most common umbrella is see through, essential for negotiating crowded pavements/sidewalks. Secondly, every larger establishment; malls, departments stores, high end shops all have an umbrella stand at the front door containing perfectly shaped plastic bags to put your wet umbrella into & huge rubbish bins for when you come out. Extremely wasteful of course, plastic is not yet the arch enemy it is at home.
I trekked my way to Rappongi yesterday evening to shoot that iconic view of Tokyo city with the Tower all lit up. Unfortunately there was an exhibition on and people were prevented from getting to the windows to photograph. In broken 'Engrish' I was asked if I still wanted a ticket... ah, no thanks.
So I changed my plans on the hoof and went to the National Art Centre instead. I don't know what it is about Tokyo but I get lost several times a day. Me & active Google maps do not play nice together. And its not like using a map in English, if the map has some English names, when you zoom in it all changes to Japanese characters. Today I've realised that I'm better off memorizing the map before I leave and I find I get where I want to with much less stress.
I also had a close call yesterday. I've been told before that the Japanese are very honest; you can leave your bag on a chair or table to reserve it and no one will touch it (other tourists are not so honourable of course). Pulling my phone out of my pocket I dislodged & dropped my pasmo card (like a snapper card) which are used to travel by train & in convenience stores. They are not personalised or locked and mine had $40+ loaded onto it. I realised about 10 minutes later and was beside myself. I tore back to where I had been and sure enough it was lying on the pavement undisturbed. Fortunately it was in a quiet side street, I could not believe my luck.
Women in Tokyo are impeccably dressed. Sometimes the style is weird but its always impeccable, sharp & fashionable. I feel like a country bumpkin, screaming tourist. It cannot be helped, on a photo jaunt there is absolutely no room for nice shoes or smart clothes.
Another quirk of life here is that people sleep on trains. Sometimes its just closing of eyes and resting but at other times it's full on snoozing. No one laughs, comments or thinks it at all unusual.
I forget we are in the northern hemisphere. In Hokkaido sun set was at 4.15pm and the light levels were dropping by 3.30. In Tokyo sunset is just before 5pm. It's now 2.15pm and I need to get ready to go out again.