Sunday, 13 December 2009

Around the world in 80 blogs: TOKYO

Lovely everydaystranger has challenged her readers to write about the cities we all live in on the same day, thus provoking a sort of virtual mega travel bonanza. Today is the D day and, being a loyal reader to her blog for about three years now, here I am, reporting from the land of the rising sun which got lost in translation.

I have been living in Tokyo for just over five months. Hubby (Mr M), Bibu (my 18 month son) and myself moved here last June courtesy of Mr M's job, on a two-year international assignment. Home is Brussels, Belgium, where Mr M is from. I am from far-far away in the ass of the world, also known as Buenos Aires, Argentina, but have been living in Belgium for the last seven years.

Anyway, in these five months I've come to love this completely mesmerising city. When I first arrived I was expecting it all to look very futuristic and crazy and noisy with lots of neon and people posing for photos doing the "v" of victory. Well, Tokyo is that but so much more. Sure, you have the super crowded areas and Shinjuku station at 6pm will never be a favourite place. But it is also the cleanest city in the world, where you can buy your groceries 24hs/7 at the "conbini" (convenience stores), get hot coffee or tea from vending machines in the street and get a taxi with a white-globed chauffeur just for you.

Tokyo can also be a suprisingly quiet city. Strolling around Daikanyama or Shirokanedai on a lazy Saturday afternoon, you wonder where all the people is gone (to Shinjuku, probably) It's also a very easy city to cycle around. OK, easy in terms of traffic, but not so easy in the sense that Tokyo is a very hilly place. Great workout for the legs, though!

The language is an issue, of course. My first trips to the supermarket where a sort of lottery where I would shop by deduction and by imaginative label drawing interpretation. I can only say 'good morning/ afternoon" and "thank you" so instead I do a lot of idiot smiling, but well, in January I'll start following lessons, so at least I can expand a bit my repertoire.

In short, Tokyo has definitely surpassed my expectations. In these few months I've become used to living here. Quality of life is very good and the weather is really nice. Only major drawback are indeed the earthquakes, which are very much a part of everyday life. So far we've experienced a couple of minor ones, the ones you feel like you live over a busy train station. They lasted for about 20 seconds, but they left quite an impression on me. People dont' seem to be much bothered by them, but for me, they are definitely NOT on my list of "Tokyo's Favourite Things".

Anyway, must go now, got a trillion things to do this week, as on Friday we're heading to Brussels for three weeks, for the Xmas holidays. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing our friends and the Belgian family. Hope you enjoyed this little tour around Tokyo.


  1. Tokyo is one of those places on my 'I want to visit' list. One day (maybe) I'll get to visit. Until then, I'll just read blogs about it!

  2. Fantastic post. I love the idea of groceries 24/7. You never know when you need to blindly point at some photos of things that may or may not be correct at 3am, right?

    I was only in Tokyo for 2 days. Clearly more time is needed there!

    Loved the post - will link you shortly!

  3. I love the idea of shopping by imaginative label drawing interpretation :-)

  4. Have always wanted to live in Japan and maybe learn Japanese (linguistics nerd). Give the amount of languages you probably already know, I'm sure it'll be a walk in the park:)

  5. Love the adventure you're having.

  6. This is not the ass of the world, nor the orbis marble as well. But I'd like to visit Tokio sometime in the future.

  7. Tokyo is so on my list of places to visit!

    Merry Christmas from Mangapai, Northland, New Zealand :)