Travel with Miquel

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Looking for Doraemon

Yes, you can look for Doraemon and, not only that, you can find him easily in Tokyo. Almost everywhere. He can be found in milk cartons, cookie boxes, sandwiches, soda cans, stamps, cereal boxes, candy bags, chewing gums and even in condoms.

Strange? Not really. First we must realize the city we are discussing about and understand the uniqueness of this place. Tokyo is the most crowded metropolitan area in the world. Almost 38 million people live here. There is even one crossing, at Shibuya, where more than one million people cross the street every day. And, still, I must admit everything and everywhere looks pretty well organized. Japanese citizens are quite disciplined and like to follow the rules.

A fascinating city with two different subway companies and, where you need to buy two tickets in case you need to commute. The most innovative smoking regulations in the world: you are allowed to smoke in many bars, restaurants and closed areas and, believe me, you are not allowed to smoke in most of the major streets and avenues, where very kind police officers will ask you to put out your cigarette before getting you a ticket.

A country with an average of almost two weekly earthquakes (I experienced two of them in Tokyo), where you have to run away from a typhoon using the High Speed Train (I did it too).

Special districts, like Shinjuku, well known for its restaurants, bars and nightclubs and home to the Yakuza in Tokyo. Where you can also find more than one million (yes, one million) automatic vending machines, selling cigarettes, ice-creams, sandwiches and, believe it or not, packs with used panties and underwear.

A city where you can still find a lot of bars, clubs or even shops where gaijins (foreigners) are simply not allowed (check at Roppongi district). Where most ryokkans do not allow tattooed people to get into the bathing area.

An incredible country where more than fifty people per year still die because of eating fugu, a very poisonous fish that needs to be “cleaned” by very skilled chefs.

Where the taxi drivers use globes, do not accept tips and the doors open and close automatically.

A very polite and educated society, they bow and say arigato all the time. I have even seen a team of cleaning workers, bowing to the train entering the station. It was the train they were supposed to clean, their job, and they respect and are grateful to their job until that point.  Or huge groups of teenagers, queuing in silence, ready to buy the last videogame in Akihabara.

I could be writing about peculiarities and strangeness (from our perspective, never to forget that!) during hours. And even if I would do so, you would all be surprised and even astonished about Tokyo and Japan.

So, back to Doraemon, do you still think it is weird to find him everywhere? In my opinion and considering this is Tokyo, I would start being surprised only after meeting one colorful unicorn calling my name, for example, not before.

Doraemon

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This entry was posted on 05/05/2013 by in Asia, Japan, Travel and tagged , , , , .

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