Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tokyo

I'm back after a two-day workshop in Tokyo. Haven't had much time to gather my thoughts - I need to prepare for another meeting in Tokyo next week - but a few observations:

  • Tokyo station is not the easiest place to find your way in at the best of times. It doesn't get any easier when half the station is a construction site.

  • The area between Tokyo station and the palace is so full of luxury shops it's almost a parody of itself. Someone should open a south Osaka-style kushikatsu restaurant there - the cheap, greasy joint would be an instant novelty hit, and there'd be at least one place you could find a decent lunch set for less than a thousand yen.

  • "Hoppy" is a hops mixer for shochu. It's a Kanto speciality - I've never seen it in Osaka - and really good. That drink is one thing I'd be happy to see spread to Kansai.

  • The hotel I stayed in was clean, comfortable and inexpensive. The service was good, breakfast was simple but tasty and plentiful. I would recommend it to anyone - except they started spamming my mailbox with offers and special discounts before I'd even checked out. No free advertising for them here, and I'm certainly not going to stay with them again. Very effective way to utterly ruin your customer experience there.

  • If you're returning from Tokyo on a Friday - especially if it's a three-day weekend - it's a good idea to buy your seat ticket early. Every business traveler in the country is returning home, along with people leaving for the weekend. Most evening train seats were already booked at 8:30; had I waited until evening I'd had standing room only.

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