Welcome to Tokyo

Welcome to Tokyo

Standing over there waiting for the Skyliner which is similar to the ICE in Germany I would say, the guy who welcomed us at the airport remarks that Tokyo is super clean. He further adds that we are on the right trail, but the train is being cleaned at this moment. “Being cleaned we say? now? “in a sarcastic manner. Then we notice that the chairs are flipping inside the train all by themselves and the windows are being automatically sprayed!

This is the way we were welcomed in Tokyo, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world.

For a city of this big size the number of cars in the streets is very low in comparison to the people that seem to be quite satisfied and reliant on their public transportation. People of all ages seem to be quite busy in their daily routines and work. They are running from one point to the other or staring at their smart phone screens in trains.

As this is still my first blog, I still cannot come up with a proper description of Tokyo. I stand here totally in owe to the culture, nature and manners that this nation has created in these years. I would like to share with you some of the very few nice things we learned in the last few days:

  • Japanese are so helpful even when they don’t speak English
  • “Arigato” is thank you! While bending your body forwards or bowing is the way to greet as saying hello or bye or showing respect
  • The toilets have a science of their own. It took us a couple of times to understand the different functions of the buttons next to the toilet seat. “Spray, music, bidet, SOS”. Toilets of all different types, forms and sizes. They even have seats for babies adjacent to the female seat. So read the brochure about them before you visit or use the trial and error method but bear the consequences
  • DON’T leave your chopsticks sticking up in rice or other food – this is done to offer rice to the spirit of a dead person
  • It is very hard to find vegetarian or vegan food here! And when you think you are close, you figure out that the oil they are using has oyster remains, the soup definitely has fish remains, and pork is quite a popular food
  • People stand in line perfectly in order even when going up an escalator or a train
  • Shops are open on Saturday and Sunday 😀
  • Green tea Man! Is everywhere… chips, chocolates, ice-cream

To hear about our days working in the agricultural fields of Tokyo University, our collaboration with the IPADS students and the different food that Japan offers stay tuned 😉

Leila Hashweh

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