But why?

In a disaster we are meant to get to the nearest office to our home. Today one of my colleagues had to participate in a work disaster simulation drill where he had to get to his nearest office.

So, today, with out question, he gets up, walks 7km to his nearest office, stands outside and rings our office to say he has arrived then jumps on public transport and comes into work.

I just can’t see that happening back home.

Buying concert tickets

My cousins coming to visit in May and being a huge Black Sabbath fan wants to go see them at Ozzfest. Curious as to whether Ozzie can make it to the end I thought I’d be in that. Decision made, buy tickets, pay online, tickets sent to me, no problem. Google translate is my friend, I’ll get through.

Not quite that simple. Tickets go on sale at 10am. I can buy the tickets from 3 different websites. All of them are overloaded. I try for an hour before I have to go out. I give it a go several times during the day. No success. I’m finally able to get on at 10pm. Obviously Ozzie has a huge fan base in Japan.

I select my tickets and enter the details. Firstly I get an error message saying “No katakana” which is the Japanese way of writing foreign words. Ok, so I translate my very foreign name into hiragana which is used only for Japanese words.

Bugger, now it doesn’t like my address. So I have to ask my fabulous friend to convert my address to the kanji version. Then it turns out the font used for the numbers is wrong. Plain old English fonts are no good. I need to use the special Japanese font.

It is now midnight, I’m slightly tipsy and very tired. Everything works. Yay. It tells me it will email me my account details once it is created. Yay. Then I accidentally close the browser window before I could check if there was anything else I need to do. Damnations!!!!!! No email so after 10 minutes I go to bed hoping I’d bought tickets.

Next morning I wake up, see I have an email, yay, and log in. Damn, I’d only created an account and bought no tickets.

An hour later I had my tickets, finally!!!!! Except I haven’t paid for them yet. I need to go to my local Lawson convenience store, use the Loppi machine to have my ticket issued and then pay for it at the counter. All in Kanji this time. Argghhhh!!!! All this with 24 hours.

You’d better appreciate this Sherie ;-)

More Aki ….

I’ve been meaning to post these photos from Akihabara. Taken a couple of weeks ago.

Lights

Lights

 

Light

Lights

and more lights (with cute girles).

and more lights (with cute girles).

My newest GF

My newest GF

I'm getting one of these for myself.

I’m getting one of these for myself.

So, what kind of DVDs are in here?

So, what kind of DVDs are in here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little differences

Thought I’d just throw up some interesting things:

- the lady cleaner comes into the mens toilets without knocking.

- It’s a nice sitting on heated toilet seats (although the first time is a bit disconcerting as you feel like you are sitting on pee).

- Japanese (especially woman) love to run everywhere in the office. Especially with little draggy feet steps.

- I found out what my bank book was for. It’s to stick in the ATM and get stamped.

- To set up the equivalent of a direct debit I have to fill out a form, chop* it, take it into a branch to get them to chop it to say that this my chop then post it off.

* a chop is a stamp the equivalent of a signature. And I’m thinking much easier to forge

The art of boarding.

There is a real art to boarding a crowded train in peak hour Tokyo. I’m yet to try this but it is a stroke of genius.

On the Metro everyone stands facing the windows and doors. Doesn’t matter which side you face as long as you are all aligned. When the train comes into the station, if it is crowded, people getting on don’t enter forwards. Instead they enter backwards, stick their arm up above the door and then use this to push themselves further into in the train. If the doors can’t close they don’t give up, instead they push harder with one hand while forcing the door closed with other. Brilliant.

Of course getting off an extremely crowded train is a different story (see previous post).

Reader warning: Do NOT, repeat, do NOT try this on the London Underground. At best you WILL be abused. At worst assaulted.

Feet dragging

All these years of working for a Japanese company in London I’ve always wondered why so many of of the expat staff seemed to drag there feet. After working for a week in Tokyo I think I have finally worked it out.

It’s that removing your shoes thing again. So, I go to a restaurant, I undo my shoelaces, I take my shoes off. I finish my dinner, I get my shoes, I find a place to perch and I put my shoes on, do the laces nice in tight. 5 minutes to complete.

Now, the quick thinking locals do it this way. Walk in, pull shows off, eat, get shoes, slip back on using shoehorn. All over in 30 seconds. No need to undo laces. No need to do laces up. Quick and proficient. But of course there are always side effects. Your laces become slowly become loser forcing you to drag your feet to keep the shoe on

Mystery solved!!!!!!!

Fear and loathing in Las Tokyo

The last few days the commute to work has been crowded. Probably more so than London but then the carriages are larger and less claustrophobic and I get to stand upright. My stop, 18, I get on fine. The next was starting to get tight and by stop 15 things begin to get cozy and then the majority of people get off at stop 11 (I get of at stop 9).

So, today. The trains stops at my station and it is crowded. I think, ok I can just squeeze on here. Then all of a sudden another row behind me has the same idea. They also just squeeze on. Ok, this is getting a little intimate. Only 9 more stops to go. Each station more and more people get on. I’ve never been so squashed in my life. When I thought not one more person could get on at least another 10-15 do. I could have lifted both legs off the ground and still stood up. Doors were trying to close but people were in the way.

That was the loathing. Then the fear started. Two stops before mine the majority of people decide to get off. Not in an orderly manner, not one by one but all at once. I’m holding on for dear life. People are pushing left right, I fear being trampled. I’m literally picked up and placed two metres outside the train. F#*k me!!!!! I’ve seen fires evacuated in a more orderly fashion.

Welcome to the world of the Tokyo subway. I put it down to everyone starting at 8:40am. If they had flexitime trains wouldn’t be so crowded.

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Sneaky pics. At least I stand another head taller.

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