The last blog posting was brief since I was still tired from the jet lag.  But, I’m catching up on my rest.  Here’s some observations about Japan, in particular Tokyo.

First, I do love living in the US.  I’ve been here since my junior year in high school (I spent 13 of my first 16 years in Japan).   But, it’s interesting to travel internationally — in comparing countries / cities, each has its own plusses and minuses.

Random observations about Japan:

– The public transportation system is remarkable.   Both the trains and buses have schedules and times listed — and they show up on time over 90% of the time.

– The roads are so narrow in Tokyo — I don’t how the bus drivers navigate the roads … but they do so — with grace and humility.   It’s rare to hear loud honking, drivers yelling and people making obscene gestures.

– The service is world-class … at hotels, restaurants, stores, public venues, etc   People seem more considerate and friendly.   I realize each culture is different, but it’s clearly noticeable and appreciated when visiting Tokyo.

– Wow, are there a lot of people living in Tokyo!  If you think Manahattan is crowded, try walking through Shinjuku or Shibuya during the morning or evening rush hour.

– The way the locals cram into the trains in rush hour is unbelievable.  They squeeze in there … and they have employees that help squeeze citizens in the train cars.  It’s a bizarre scene but one that takes place daily.

– Tokyo can be expensive, especially at restaurants, but if you like comfort food, like ramen noodles, it’s very affordable.   To me, eating ramen noodles is like eating pizza in NYC (it’s the signature, local and go-to food).

– The sushi in Tokyo is out-of-this-world.   No surprise, but the freshness of the fish is outstanding.

– Conducting a business meeting in Tokyo with high-level executives is quite different than doing so in the U.S.   It’s a good idea to learn the proper etiquette before holding a meeting.  It was a great learning experience for me.

– I visited our family cemetery in Yoshikawa, which is over 600 years old.  It’s definitely remarkable to be able to trace about the lineage over 600 years old.   I gain so much strength each and every time I visit.

– In closing, it was great to visit our relatives and Tokyo – as well as the homes we used to frequent when we were kids.  We may be getting older, but the memories are still so fresh and vivid.