Categories
Japan

Tokyo, The Eastern Capital

Arriving at Narita airport in Japan at the end of the next day due to the timezone, I was impressed by the organization, cleanliness, education and attention of the Japanese people. As soon as I arrived there was a sign with my name on it, I was surprised after all I wasn’t expecting anyone. The lady told me that one of my bags had been lost. I actually brought very little stuff with me, other than luggage for a friend who had moved to Japan.

Talking to someone else, I was informed that they located the suitcase in San Francisco and it would be sent to Narita the next day, the staff apologized to me many times but it the U.S. staff’s fault. For me it was very convenient, the airport staff was going to send it straight to my friend’s home, it was her luggage and she could even save money!

Here in Japan it is convenient for travelers to send luggage using the “takiobin” (a type of courier, such as DHL), to the home or to the airport. That way you are free to ride the subway and train more comfortably. I have sent my suitcase to another friend’s home where I would be staying, I have used the company called Kuro Neko (Black Cat), paying about $34. As I needed to talk to my friends, I borrowed the phone from the young and friendly attendant, in gratittude I gave him a can of “guarana” (a Brazilian beverage), he was very surprised and happy.

From the airport I took a train to the subway station, and from the subway I walked to the hostel, it took me more than one hour and half to arrive, it was very hot that night. The rate was USD 20.67 (Yen 2400) including the reservation fee. This time I preferred to make a previous reservation, contrary to my habit of arriving on the spot and looking for available room. The hostel was very clean, and very quiet. I arrived after the check-in time and has found only a sticky note to the entrance door. Next to the message there was the pin code of the door, after the access to the main door, I have found at the reception the bed linen and next to it another door code for my bedroom. Although it was not a warm welcome I felt completely safe and the service was reliable.

I chose the Tokyo Backpackers, an independent hostel, instead of the International Youth Hostels Association (or Hostelling International), because I don’t like this association, it has to have a membership card and it’s more expensive. I tried to find something cheap and easy to access by subway and near the tourist attractions.

That was just for the first night, I didn’t want to make a long train ride to my friends’ home they would be hosting me near Tokyo, one hour and half away, it would take about three hours to get there from Narita Airport. Besides it I had just arrived from a 32 hours trip, apart from the time zone and the fact that I couldn’t sleep on planes. Yes, travelers also have a very tough life!

This is the hostel:

Tokyo Backpackers

2-2-2, Nihon-Zutsumi, Taito-ku Tokyo, 111-0021, Japan

Phone: +81 3 3871-2789.

E-mail: packers@eg-wave.com

Tokyo, meaning “Eastern Capital”, is the capital and largest city of Japan, it has a province status, with a population of 12.6 million people, located on the island of Honshu.

Tokyo’s ascension can be attributed to two men: Tokugawa Ieyasu and Emperor Meiji. In 1603, after unifying the warrior states of Japan, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu founded his base in Edo (present-day Tokyo). As a consequence, the city developed rapidly and over time became one of the largest cities in the world, reaching a population of one million in the eighteenth century. It became the capital of Japan even when the emperor lived in Kyoto, the Imperial Capital. After 263 years, the shogunate was overthrown in order to restore imperial rule. In 1869, the Emperor Meiji moved to Edo, which had been renamed “Tokyo” a year earlier. Tokyo was already the political, economic, and cultural center of the nation, with the emperor’s residence it became the Imperial Capital, as well as the Castle of Edo which became the Imperial Palace.

Categories
Japan

Japan – A Brief Introduction

Capital: TOKYO

Political System: Constitutional Monarchy

Economy: 2nd largest economic power in GDP

Population: 126,5 million, 10th most populous country in the world

Religions: Shinto, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and others

Facts and curiosities:

Japan (this is the entire name of the country), “Nippon” or “Nihon” in Japanese, means “Land of the Rising Sun”, has more than three thousand islands, is one of the richest and most developed countries on the planet, land of technology and people super educated, but bad in English, was the target of two atomic bombs. The largest islands are Honshu (the largest and main), Hokkaido (to the north), Kyushu (to the south) and Shikoku (also to the south), and is divided into 8 regions and 47 prefectures (also called provinces). Situated east of Russia, Korea and China between the East China Sea and the Okhotsk Sea in the Pacific Ocean. Before developing two other writing systems (Hiragana and Katagana), he adopted Chinese ideograms, and currently merges the three writing systems, when he does not use Latinized writing, the “Romandi”.

The Portuguese arrived here in the 16th century, but did not establish a colony. With the restoration of the Meiji Era in the 19th century, imperial Japan underwent profound changes in politics and launched the country into the industrial era, with the end of the Shogunate of the Tokugawa clan in 1867, becoming a major power in Asia and beginning Japanese expansionism throughout Asia. Japan is what it is today, due to this history, the destruction of Japan in World War II only slowed the modernization process.

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