Japan I. - To Japan, to Yokohama, to the Hotel …
Once I got an opportunity in my work to travel to a dream land, to Japan. Dream land because it has been already eleven years since I started practicing aikido and thus learning about its culture. And it fascinates me.
Time I had to explore it was short, only ten days, including my way there and some things related to work. It is not so long time but you can manage to do many things.
I flew with my colleague with Aeroflot. The first plane departed from Ruzyne in Prague, or the Vaclav Havel airport to the Seremetevo airport in Moscow. The flight took us about two and half hours, another two hours we spent in Moscow waiting for a more strenuous 9,5 hour flight to the Narita airport in Tokyo. At the airport it took us a while to find some information about transport but soon we found ourselves in Narita express, a train taking travelers from the airport to Tokyo. It costs about 3200 yen; 100 yen is about one dollar, so the ticket cost us 32 dollars. At the airport we bought the SUICA card. You have to pay 2000 yen first, 500 from which is a security deposit and rest is credit you can use fro travel. When you run out of credit you can buy new at vending machines on every train station. When you wouldn’t need the card any more you can just return it and get back your 500 yen deposit.
On the way from Narito airport I was very sleepy and looking from the train windows. It was a seven-hour time difference for me and the journey was long. The destination where was my accommodation was the city of Yokohama well-known in the Czech Republic for it is mentioned in a song about a Japanese girl and a sailor. When we get off the train in the Yokohama train station, there was another relocation. This time we had to reach Kannai. Initially we had to change the train only once but eventually it was twice. First time we got the wrong direction. This was our first trouble related to travelling in Japan, however, not the last. We will tell you about it another time.
When we finally reached our station, Kennai, thanks to a Japanese girl who knew English (it is unusual for Japanese to know English) we started to looking for some hotel. Eventually it was the APA Hotel Yokohama Kannai and, again, thanks to help of one Japanese man who we asked about the directions. Despite Japanese don’t know English and don’t know solution to your problem you asked them to help with they try to help you as much as they can. It is very nice of them, they are really polite. In some cases their trying may delay one rather than help. Before I left Prague, one friend told me that some man who didn’t know English tried to help him for 40 minutes, without any help after all.
When we reached the hotel reception, we wanted to accommodate and pay for our accommodation. It was necessary if we wanted the key, i.e. a card with chip. There was, however, a problem since we thought we would pay in dollars and it wasn’t possible to pay in dollars. We wanted to pay in cash and had to pull out yens. We had some, but not enough. When we asked where we can change our money, the answer, in bad English, was that nowhere for it was Saturday. But on Monday the bank would be opened. So we paid for two days at least and we said that on Monday we would pay for the rest. On the next day the problem was solved, for I left for Tokyo and found an exchange with help of my Japanese friends.
Until I left for Japan I was warned about very small rooms. My hotel room confirmed this. It was so small that there was just a bed and a table, not cupboard or closet. Thus I had my clothes on a chair or a hanger. A bathroom was also small. The bath was about one meter twenty long, but it was deep. There was a measuring glass telling you how much water you need run into if your weight is 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 kg etc.
So this is how I began my short stay in Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan.
Text/photo: Kristýna Bartůňkova
Long time ago, we published an article about one of Japan’s largest cities, Osaka. At the end of it, we mentioned its castle that is only slightly smaller than Prague Castle.
We stay on the other side of our planet this week. We will see another monumental Japanese castle.
For the third time, we go visit Japan and one of its largest castles. In Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture, the castle which is called Crow Castle is located. Unusually though, it doesn’t stand on a hill, isn’t surrounded with rivers, instead it is on a flat land. It was built in the middle of the 16th century, the era when Osaka catle was built. Hideoshi Toyotomi also played an important role in its history.
The capital of Japan seems endless. And it is sort of true- it is not just one city but it is seamless megalopolis in the Kanto region. Around 40 million people live there. Still, it is very easy to feel there like in a small town.
Nagoya is the third largest city in Japan. Many forget to visit it, unfortunately. There are many interesting places and should you have enough time, spend there a day and night at least. You won't regret.
It was Japanese capital for centuries. Today, it is far from the size of Tokyo yet it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Should we recommend you but one place where to go, Kyoto it would be.
Former Japanese capital of Kyoto has about two thousand shrines. Mostly these are Buddhist, about quarter of them is shinto. Sometimes these are vast compounds, in other cases only small shrines hidden in the streets. Let's see some of them.
Most of the visitors to Kyoto remain in downtown and they often forget there are many beautiful places around the city. Daigo-ji, a shrine compound, is such a place. The half-an-hour ride by subway is sure worth it.
There are so many attractions in Japan that it is difficult to go somewhere without having particular destination in mind. To stay at an old Japanese house was difficult to resist. Japanese countryside is way different from city. Eventually, it is more charming.
When I traveled to Japan, as my work required me to do, I didn’t have enough time to see landmarks. However, I had one day to explore the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
When I got to Japan during my work travel, I haven’t too much time to explore it. I lived in Yokohama but I couldn’t miss near capital, Tokyo.
My work has brought me to Yokohama this year, 2013. It is a large harbor city located on Tokyo Bay. In my free time I managed to explore parts of Yokohama on the sea. But from the rest of the city I have seen only nice Yokohama Park.
My work brought me to Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture, about 30 kilometers from Tokyo on the west coast of Tokyo Bay. The place of my work duties was located in Red Brick Wirehouse (Yokohama Akarenga Sōko), a beautiful historical building on a shore right next to the harbor.
Tokyo metro, intercity trains, Shinkansens. Warren of stops and tunnels, hundreds of stations and thousands of Japanese who were swarming among the turnstiles, platforms and trains. When tourists imagine this, they are not ready for singing.
When travelling around Japan, tourist became easily witness of many strange or comical situations. Among the most classic, that everyone known could be - getting lost, of course, waiting for the train on the platform that is cancelled, or disillusionment over public toilets.
Tokio. City where are living side by side school children in the old-fashioned uniforms, fashion ladies, who spend the morning by shopping in stores, in the parks and all sorts of corners of the city slacking youth skaters with coloured hair, girls with false eyelashes and twenty centimetres high heels, the dogs wears in mini kimons and of course ubiquitous businessmen.
Some of us think that the Japanese somehow mask their feelings, they lock them somewhere deep inside. That they just keeps bowing and smiling, they behave artificially. They are "programmed" to well and worked hard for your business, family, and for Japan. And that might not even have any feelings. On it there is only one answer.
Japanese history is not very discussed topic. De facto people don’t talk about it much. If you try to speak about history, most people think of the events of World War II. The rest remember samurais, bold warrior with katana, samurai sword, and geishas, who are still in the subconscious of people subsumed as prostitutes unfortunately.
What do you imagine when you hear words - Japanese food? I know of someone who would have imagined raw fish and rice. Many people mistakenly believe that the Japanese were nothing more than these two foods don’t eat. And the idea of spending weeks on raw fish and rice is then often forces to bring on a trip to Japan packaged with salami.
What is the main difference between Japan and the Czech Republic? Surprisingly, this is one of the most common questions that I can hear. As if there wasn’t any answer. As I like to say, in Japan, everything is different. Even the air there is different than the one which we are accustomed. And it's not just a different air, what Japanese nature offers us.
How the Friday and Saturday night life looks like in Tokyo? Completely different than in the daytime. It could be said that this is a completely different city.The streets are lit up, signs and billboards come to life through colourful neon glow lamps. Girls dress skirts about ten to fifteen numbers shorter than normally, use the strong layer of makeup, glue the false eyelashes and going to clubs.
Perhaps every tourist, who in Japan goes into the souvenir shop, must try a lot to don’t buy all goods that shop offers. Tourists are attracted by coloured fans, ceramics, kimonos, traditional Japanese woodcuts reproduction, thousands of objects with cute formulas, and of course the ubiquitous Hello Kitty.
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